Most modern operating systems have the built-in ability to
create archives (.zip, .tar, .gz, etc.). With some of these tools, you can even
create a security password to protect the archive from prying eyes. But for
small businesses looking for more security in their archives in order to keep
sensitive data from prying eyes, the built-in tools don’t always cut it. That’s
when you need a product such as BCArchive.

With BCArchive, you can:

  • Create compressed and encrypted archives;
  • Create compressed and encrypted archives using
    public key encryption;
  • Add several passwords to an existing archive;
  • Apply multiple public keys to an archive;
  • Generate new or use existing Secret/Public key
    pairs;
  • Compress data to a self-extracting, executable
    file; and
  • Sync, import, and export functions.

BCArchive is available for the Windows platform only (XP, 7,
8, Server 2000-2012) and is free to install.

Note: BCArchive
creates archives in a non-standard format (.bca). For anyone to be able to work
with the archive, they will need to install the same app.

Installing BCArchive

  1. Download the executable installer.
  2. Locate the downloaded file and double-click it.
  3. Walk through the installation wizard.

When the installation is complete, you can fire up the
application and begin creating/encrypting archives.

Using BCArchive

Here are the steps for creating a new archive with
password-based encryption.

  1. From the main window (Figure A), go to Archive |
    New.
  2. In the Encryption Parameters window, click
    Advanced.
  3. In the Advanced view (Figure B), select
    the archive name (you have to create this by clicking the “…”
    button, navigating to where the archive will be saved, and giving the archive a
    name).
  4. Select the Algorithm.
  5. Select Password Based Encryption.
  6. Create a password.
  7. Confirm the password.
  8. Select the key algorithm.
  9. Click OK.

Figure A

The main window for BCArchive is clean and easy to navigate.

Figure B

In the Advanced view, you can create a public key encrypted
backup.

After creating the archive, you can add files by following
these steps:

  1. Select the archive from the left navigation.
  2. Go to Edit | Add Files.
  3. Locate the files in the window that appears and
    click Open to add the files.

When you add the files, the archive remains encrypted, so
you don’t have to go through the steps of re-encrypting or closing the archive.
In order to access the archive, you have to open it and then enter the
archive-specific password.

Using public key encryption

This is a very basic outline of how the public key
encryption will work.

  1. You create a public key using BCArchive.
  2. You share your key out to anyone who needs to
    send you encrypted archives.
  3. Users create an archive using your public key.
  4. Users send the archive (encrypted with your
    public key) to you.
  5. You open the archive using the password associated
    with your public key.

Before users can send you public key encrypted archives, you
must create your public key — BCArchive can help with this task. Follow these
steps to create a public key:

  1. From the main window, go to Archive | Manage Key
    Database.
  2. From the Key Manager, go to Key | Generate New
    Public/Secret Pair.
  3. In the resulting window, select Generate New Private
    Key Pair and click Next.
  4. Fill in all of the spaces marked with
    <Empty> (Figure C) and
    click Next.
  5. Double check the information and click Create.
  6. Move your mouse around and press keys to help
    generate a random seed.
  7. Once the random seed is created, click OK, and
    the key will complete. (The public key creation process is rather slow in
    BCArchive, so make sure to give the random seed generator plenty of time to
    process.)

Figure C

Fill out the fields marked <Empty> to
continue.

After your key is created, you’ll need to send your public
key to anyone who needs to send you public key encrypted archives. To do this, follow
these steps:

  1. From the BC Key Manager, select the key to be
    exported.
  2. Go to Key | Send Public Key To Email Recipient.
  3. When the email composition window opens, enter a
    recipient email address.
  4. Click Send.

The auto-generated body of the email will contain both the
key and the instructions for the recipient to import the key (remember, they
must have BCArchive installed). Once the recipient has your key, they can
create encrypted archives that only you can open using your public key.

You will need to get the public keys of any user you want to
send an archive to and import them into your Key Manager. Once you receive the
key (via email) simply follow the directions in the body of the email for
importing.

To create those public key encrypted archives, follow these
steps:

  1. From the main window, go to Archive | New
    Archive.
  2. In the Encryption Parameters window, click
    Advanced.
  3. Select Public Key Encryption.
  4. Click Browse.
  5. Double-click the user the encrypted archive will
    be sent to.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Once you are back in the main window, select the
    newly created archive.
  8. Go to Archive | Send As Attachment To | User With
    Public Key.
  9. When the email window opens, enter the email
    address of the recipient.
  10. Click
    Send.

Once the user receives the archive, they only need to save
the attachment and then open the archive with BCArchive. Upon successfully
entering their public key password, the archive will open.

Give BCArchive a try, and see if your data aren’t more secure
in the end.