Data Encryption

Author: Swapna Naraharisetty, 2BrightSparks Pte. Ltd.

Data Encryption is a process of encoding and transforming data into an unreadable form (or encrypted form) using an encryption algorithm and an encryption key. Only users with the encryption key can decrypt the data into the original unencrypted form. Encryption is considered one of the most popular and effective methods to provide security to data and prevents unauthorized users from viewing the data

How Encryption Works

A cryptographic algorithm (e.g. AES) and an encryption key (password/passphrase) are used to convert plain data (input data) into cipher data (unreadable form) through a series of mathematical operations. Decryption is a reverse process of encryption, where the cipher data is converted back to plain data using the cryptographic algorithm and a decryption key, and by applying the mathematical operations in the reverse order.

Cryptographic algorithms are classified into Symmetric and Asymmetric. In symmetric encryption, the same key is used for encryption and decryption. However, in asymmetric encryption a pair of keys (private and public) are used. One key is used to encrypt your data (called the public key), and the other to decrypt the data (which is the private key).

Why Encryption is Important

Everyone expects that their personal data stored on a device is kept private and secure from unauthorized users. This protection can only be provided by storing the data in encrypted form.

For example, you have a non-encrypted backup of your data on an external drive. If an unauthorized person gains access to your external drive, then he can easily view the data stored on that device. However, if that data is encrypted the attackers will not be able to open, read or understand it, as the data is encrypted. Thus, encryption algorithms protect the confidentiality of data even when the device is lost or stolen.

SyncBack’s Data Encryption Capabilities

File Data Encryption

SyncBack supports symmetric encryption when backing-up files to an internal/external or a network drive, SyncBack Touch, MTP, FTP server or Cloud server.

Encryption in SyncBack requires the encrypted data to be stored in a Zip (or equivalent) file. However, the data does not need to be compressed (and can be stored in the Zip in an uncompressed format). Therefore, you need to enable compression before activating encryption. Two methods of compression are supported: ‘single-zip’ compression where all files are compressed into a single zip file and ‘multi-zip’ compression where each file is compressed into its own zip file.

How to Enable Encryption in SyncBack

  1. Modify the profile and go to the Compression settings page.
  2. Enable the option 'Compress the files on destination/right into a Zip file'. If you want to back up all the files to a single compressed file, then tick the option 'Put all the files into a single compressed file'.
  3. Select the ‘Type of Compression' and 'Level of compression' to use.
  4. Go to the Compression > Encryption settings page.
  5. Select the ‘Encryption method’ (AES (recommended) or ‘Old style’ encryption if using SyncBackFree or SyncBackLite) and enter the ‘Password’ (i.e. the encryption key) to encrypt the data.

SyncBackPro and SyncBackSE support encrypting files using the highly secure and efficient AES cryptographic algorithm with key sizes of 128, 192, or 256-bits. For additional details on AES encryption, refer to our AES encryption article.

Encrypt Filenames and Details

SyncBackPro and SyncBackSE V8 (or newer) supports encrypting filenames and file details in addition to content encryption.

With this feature, the list of files inside the zip file cannot be viewed unless a correct password is provided to decrypt and open it. Thus, filename encryption feature provides an extra layer of security to your data as it prevents attacker from inspecting the file/folder structure or the type of data stored inside an archive.

SyncBack’s filename encryption method is compatible with PKWare SecureZip. This means you can also use PKWare’s ZIP Reader (free version) to access files inside a filename encrypted zip file.

Note: Currently, the filename encryption option in Pro/SE version is available only when single zip compression is used. This is because multi-zip has the original filename in the filename of the Zip file itself, thus defeating the purpose of encrypting the filename.

How to Enable Filename Encryption

  1. Modify the profile and go to the Compression settings page.
  2. Enable the options 'Compress the files on destination/right into a Zip file' and 'Put all the files into a single compressed file'.
  3. Choose either the Deflated or BZip2 compression methods for ‘Type of compression’ and select a ‘Level of Compression’ to use.
  4. Go to the Compression > Encryption settings page and select the AES encryption method.
  5. Tick ‘Encrypt and compress the filenames and details’ option to encrypt filenames.
  6. Enter the password to encrypt filenames and contents.

Please refer to the SyncBack help file (Compression > Encryption settings page) for additional information on filename encryption.

Conclusion

In this article, we covered the data encryption features supported in SyncBack. Using these encryption features, you can ensure that your sensitive data is kept safe, secure and protected from hackers or unauthorized users.


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