Mobility

How to encrypt files on your Chromebook with miniLock

If you're looking for the easiest way to encrypt files on your Chromebook, here is a great add-on to make the task incredibly simple.

Chromebook Hero Image
Image: Jack Wallen

Your files saved on Google Drive are encrypted by default. However, when you you need to send a file to a user, you download (to a specific file format) and then send that file to the user. That file you just sent is unencrypted.

So how do you manage to send an encrypted file to a user? You take advantage of a simple Chrome addon called miniLock.

This add on makes file encryption very easy and doesn't require you to sign up for a service or plan. It's free and takes all the guesswork out of encryption.

Installation

Installing miniLock is simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open Chrome on your Chromebook
  2. Go to the miniLock page in the webstore
  3. Click ADD TO CHROME
  4. Click Add app

That's it. You should now see the launcher for miniLock in your Chromebook's menu. Click the launcher to begin.

Usage

When you first launcher miniLock, you will have to enter an email address and a passphrase (Figure A). These two bits of information will be used to generate your 44-character miniLock ID. This ID serves as your public encryption key.

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen

Generating your miniLock ID is quick and free.

You must use a passphrase that is complex and unique (a phrase, not just a single password). Once you've entered a successful email address and passphrase, your ID will be displayed (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen

Successful generation of miniLock ID.

You are now ready to use miniLock. To encrypt or decrypt a file, all you have to do is drag the file into the miniLock window for the correct action to take place (an unencrypted file will be encrypted and an encrypted file will be decrypted).

When you drag an unencrypted file into the miniLock window, you will be asked who is allowed to open the file. In this window (Figure C), you can add new miniLock IDs of other users.

Figure C

Figure C
Image: Jack Wallen

The list of users that can open files.

If you have an ID from another user, enter it in this window, and click the right-pointing arrow for the encryption to take place. Once the encryption is complete, click on the downward-pointing arrow (Figure D) to save the file to your drive.

Figure D

Figure D
Image: Jack Wallen

Saving the encrypted file to your drive.

You can now send the file to the user you included in the encryption. Using their miniLock ID, they'll be able to open the encrypted file.

What (if anything) prevents you from making use of a Chromebook?

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.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox