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7 Ways to Secure Your Online File Transfer

By Hanna Welch | April 11, 2018 |

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Data safety is one of the biggest concerns in 2018 and the question is especially serious when transferring personal files online. Is there any option we can think of to make data transfer safe and secure? This article will help you learn the 7 ways to do just that.

1. Password protection

File transfer protected by password

Today, many programs use an old and simple, but still a very worthy option to secure any action you might want to execute. For example, LibreOffice adds password protection for opening a document, so in case you are not sure about the security of your files transferred over the Internet, this may be a great way to ensure peace of mind.

2. PGP/GPG

PGP file transfer security

PGP and GPG are two programs which use public key cryptography to send files in a secure way.

Setting up these programs can be a hard task for an inexperienced computer user. If you are not sure of your skills, it’s best to start with installing the Mozilla Thunderbird client and using the free Enigmail add-on, which has step-by-step instructions.

Simply put, PGP and GPG create a special message using asymmetric encryption, which can only be read by the user it’s created for.

3. OTR

Safe file transfer with OTR

OTR (Off the Record) messaging is a feature that can be used for many messengers.

Each message is encrypted before leaving your computer and decrypted back once received by the addressee. OTR also helps ensure that no one is intercepting your messages (‘man-in-the-middle’ attack).

Not only text messages can be secured with this feature, but it also works for all files that you transfer through your messenger.

4. One-Time Pad

One-time pad security method

This is a bit of an unusual way to secure your data and here’s why: after creating a list of random numbers by rolling a digital dice, your correspondent does the same. You both meet and give each other a copy of the pads.

In case you need  to send a personal file, you can then combine the random data in the pad with it. The recipient can then use their copy of your pad to take away the random data to reveal the file.

It may seem a bit hard to get everything done right, but it’s a unique case of perfect security.

5. LastPass

LastPass - file transfer security

LastPass is not unique, but is a safe place to store all your logins and passwords in. Why do we mention this program? It has an interesting feature – you can transfer your login data to any person and still stay secured.

How does it work? The data is hidden from the person that you give it to, but still works with the services it’s created for. For example, your correspondent can log in to your Gmail account not knowing any details of your login data.

6. SSH

SSH online security

SSH is a network protocol that uses an encrypted tunnel to log in to a computer remotely. Basically, it can be used to transfer files as it simply runs the commands on a remote computer. In case you run a server, you can provide your correspondent with a personal  login and password to allow them to securely download and upload files to your system.

7. SFTP

Using SFTP for file transfers

In addition to SSH, there’s another protocol designed specifically for transferring files. It’s called SFTP, which stands for ‘secure file transfer protocol’. To use it, you need to run your own or rented server. Everything works quite intuitively: you simply use your personal login and password to access the system. Many operating systems already have SFTP integrated, so working with it will look to you like working with a local folder. You should also keep in mind that the connection itself is encrypted, and therefore secured, but the files aren’t. It’s best to protect them with a password as well.

 

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