Ever since Edward Snowden blew the lid off America’s NSA mass surveillance activities, more people have become aware of how fragile their privacy and security is and are taking steps to protect themselves. One of the first many take is to install a reputable VPN. My choice for many years has been NordVPN so I was intrigued when the company announced it was entering into the file encryption business with NordLocker.
Encryption Goes Mainstream
In the past, file encryption has been the territory of serious tech geeks but has increasingly become mainstream and very easy to use. In the past, I have been a big fan of Boxcryptor developed by a team in Germany which has some of the strictest privacy laws in the world. Microsoft has made encrypting and protecting data simple by incorporating an encrypted module called Vault into its OneDrive service.
NordLocker is classed as zero-knowledge which means that once you have encrypted your files no-one can decrypt and view them, even NordLocker. Securing your data is the highest level of encryption – Argon2, AES256, ECC (with XChaCha20, EdDSA and Poly1305), and other creations of modern cryptography – no, I don’t understand it either, but I don’t have to as it satisfies more learned reviewers.
Setting up NordLocker is simplicity itself. Download and install the software and create your locker. After that, securing your data is as simple as dragging and dropping your files into NordLocker. You can leave the locker on your desktop system or, as I have done, create it in a cloud-based system such as OneDrive, Dropbox etc.
You can create as many lockers as you want. My set up is one locker with multiple folders for things like finance, health, etc. It is that easy to personalise.
Inexpensive Premium Plans
As you would expect, NordLocker has a freemium plan policy. With the basic, free plan, you get 2GB of space which is ample if you just want to store basic files. If you want to up the ante and store photographs, speech recordings etc, you can opt for the premium plan package which starts at just $1 a month. That’s right, it’s not a typo, $1 a month. Pay for a year and you save 32% over the pay monthly plan.
If you need to share an encrypted file with another individual or group, you can but the recipients need to have a LordLocker account to decrypt the data, which is fine if the data is under 2GB. If larger files breach this limit, then they have to have a premium account. If the sharing is a one-off, then they can take out a monthly subscription and then cancel. It’s not going to break the bank!
If NoirdLOcker sounds too good to be true, there is one drawback. If like me, you store your locker in the cloud, if you try to access your data through you’re mobile device while away from your PC or Mac, you cannot read it. NordLocker customer support has told me they are discussing this, but there is no timeline. I would hope this comes soon because, without this facility, NordLoxcker cannot compete with the likes of BoxCryptor.
You can read NordLocker’s in-depth white paper here.