Open Source

How to use BestCrypt to encrypt files and folders

Jack Wallen walks you through the steps of creating and moving a container to illustrate how amazingly easy BestCrypt Container Encryption is.

Image: Jack Wallen

The needs for secure document/data storage are at an all-time high. This means more and more people are turning to encryption. To many, however, the idea of using some cumbersome, complex command line tool is beyond their scope of abilities. That's why having well thought out GUI tools for the task of encryption is important.

Recently, the BestCrypt Container Encryption tool crossed my desk and immediately looked like just the tool for the job. BestCrypt is a cross-platform (Linux, Mac, Windows) that includes features like:

  • Store and Access Encrypted Files
  • Create and Manage Multiple encrypted Containers
  • Mount Encrypted Drive(s) as a Subfolder
  • Define permissions in a Multi-user Environment
  • Dynamic Containers
  • Move Containers across platforms

Although BestCrypt isn't open source, it works splendidly on Linux. What's most impressive about BestCrypt is that all of these features are rolled into a very easy to use GUI, that any level of user could immediately get up to speed on.

Let's install BestCrypt and use it to encrypt our first Container.

Installation

Before continuing on, know that BestCrypt is not a free software. You can use the download as a trial, but once the trial is over, you'll have to shell over the $59.95 for the Windows or Mac version or the $49.95 for the Linux version.

I will be installing on Ubuntu GNOME 16.04, but these instructions will work on nearly any distribution. Here are the steps:

  1. Open up a terminal window
  2. Download and run the installation file with the command:
    wget https://www.jetico.com/one-click-installer.sh
  3. From within the directory housing the installer file, issue the command sh one-click-install.sh
  4. When prompted, type your admin (or sudo) password and hit Enter
  5. Allow the installation to complete

At this point, you should be able to run BestCrypt either from the command line or from your desktop menu. If you find the command isn't found (as I did in the case of CentOS 7), you will need to reboot the machine (after the initial install) and re-run the installation command a second time. For whatever reason (on certain platforms), the initial run of the command only installs some needed dependencies. After the second run of the installation command, BestCrypt will be available.

Usage

In Linux, the command to run BestCrypt (on the off-chance you cannot locate the app in your desktop menu) is bestcrypt-panel. When the GUI opens (Figure A), you can immediately create your first Container.

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen
The BestCrypt main window.

Click Create new container and fill out the necessary information (Figure B) and then click Create.

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen
Creating a new container with BestCrypt.

If you click on the Advanced button (prior to clicking Create), you can configure the following for the container:

  • Algorithm (choose between RC6, 3DES, GOST, RIJNDAEL, TWOFISH, BLOWFISH-448)
  • Mode (choose between CBC, LRW, or XTS)
  • Format as (choices available here will depend upon the platform)
  • Volume label
  • Enable/disable mounting of new container
  • Mount location

Once the container has been created, it will be automatically mounted for usage. The mounted container can be accessed from your file manager or by double-clicking the container in the BestCrypt main window. When the file manager opens to the mounted container, you can add files and folders as if it were a standard directory. When you've completed working with the Container, close out the file manager, go back to the BestCrypt main window, select the container, and click the Eject button (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C
Image: Jack Wallen
Ejecting a mounted container.

An umounted container can only be accessed by way of mounting with the encryption password. If a user doesn't have that password, there is no means of accessing the container.

Moving a container

If you have a need to move a container from one machine to another, BestCrypt makes that incredibly simple. There is one caveat to this: the file system of the moved container must be supported on the destination machine. This means you cannot create a bfs container on a Linux machine, move it to a Windows machine, and then be able to open the container. To that end, make sure you create containers using file systems available to all machines that will need to open the containers.

With that said, to move a container, here's all you have to do:

  1. Copy the container (a .jbc file) from the source to the destination
  2. Open BestCrypt on the destination machine
  3. Click File | Locate container
  4. When your default file manager opens, navigate to the .jpc file, select it, and click Open

The newly located container can now be opened by double-clicking the entry from within BestCrypt GUI.

A solid encryption solution for all

BestCrypt is one of the best container-based encryption tools I've used in a while. With a GUI that is accessible to any level of computer skills, there's no barrier to entry for working with encryption. Give this solution a try and see if it doesn't meet or exceed your encryption needs.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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