Although the two terms generally are seen as mutually exclusive, user-friendliness and encryption can actually be found together in the same tools. This is good because more users should be employing encryption, especially when it comes to business and business communication/documentation. Most people assume that Linux encryption is all handled from within the command line. Well, some of it can be -- but not all of it must be. I want to show you five applications that are both secure and easy to use.
Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.
1: TrueCryptTrueCrypt (Figure A) is an outstanding piece of open source software (also available for Windows and Mac) that allows you do to disk encryption on the fly. It creates a virtual encrypted disk, where you can add files and folders. This disk is accessible only using the passphrase associated with it. What's nice about this tool is that data is automatically encrypted as it is created and decrypted as it is loaded.
2: SeahorseSeahorse (Figure B) is a GNOME front end for GnuPG that makes creating and managing your PGP far easier than using the command line. Seahorse can perform data encryption and digital signature creation as well as key management operations. The interface is intuitive and makes the management of PGP keys easy enough for anyone to handle.
3: EnigmailEnigmail (Figure C) is an extension for the Thunderbird email client that allows for the easy encryption/decryption of incoming/outgoing email. New GnuPG users will really appreciate Enigmail's easy-to-use wizards, which will not only walk them through the process of signing and encrypting email, but will also help to create GnuPG encryption keys (and manage the keys they receive).
4: CryptKeeperCryptKeeper (Figure D) is a tool to help manage EncFS file systems. It resides as a system tray applet, so it's easily accessible. From a simple drop-down, you can create new encrypted folders. This tool will work with Classic GNOME, Gnome 3, KDE, and XFCE.
5: LibreOfficeLibreOffice (Figure E) doesn't actually contain true encryption, but it does allow you to digitally sign your documents and password protect them. If you write a lot of sensitive documentation, I highly recommend you take advantage of these features. They don't require any additional software to be installed, and they're one of the easiest ways to protect documents created in the LibreOffice suite.
Encryption for all
Linux and encryption do not have to be difficult. In fact, tools such as these make the process of encryption easy enough for the average user. Give them a try and see if you're not encrypting/decrypting like a pro.
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 getjackd.net.