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Digital Document Encryptor - Essential Secure Encryption Tool

written by: Jules Hernandez•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 9/16/2008
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Digital Document Encryptor, from Sweden-based SafeIT Security, allows secure file encryption and decryption, creation of password-protected self-extracting files, and sending of secure email attachments, all using your default email client.

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    Introduction

    Digital Document Encryptor, with its user-friendly interface, allows easy creation of password-protected files and folders using any of three well-known algorithms (Rijndael, Blowfish, and Twofish) or SafeIT's own self-named, 480-bit cipher block. This Vista-ready software also runs on Windows 2000, XP, and 2003.

    Since the Encrypted File System, or EFS, became standard in Windows 2000, the importance of securing files and folders on desktop PCs has received increasing attention from software creators. EFS remains largely unknown, however, due in large part to its shortcomings, not the least of which is that it could allow decryption of supposedly secure files without the user knowing it. Thus, more and more programs designed to address the shortcomings of EFS are coming out of the woodwork. Increasing fascination with security, particularly amidst headlines of ID theft, makes for an attractive market for such programs. Digital Document Encryptor is heads above its competitors, in the sense that it combines in one program the capability to secure files and folders and the sending of these files as secure email attachments. For the latter, your recipients don't need to have Digital Document Encryptor to view the encrypted email attachments. They can download the SafeIT Encryption Reader and provide the password for the file, and they're good to go.
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    Installation & Setup

    Rating AverageInstallation was a breeze on both my XP (32-bit) desktop and Vista Basic (32-bit) laptop. When installation was over, the program automatically connected to the Internet to check for updates. In my case, I downloaded version 7.6.0.0 from the website and installed it. When I ran the program for the first time, it detected an updated version, which it then proceeded to download and install. I didn't need to uninstall the older version, as the installer took care of that. And Digital Document Encryptor took a mere 15 MB of disk space on my hard drive.
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    User Interface

    Rating Average

    Digital Document Encryptor's user interface is uncluttered and intuitive. When you open the program, you'll see the program layout described on the right section of the main window. But even without this clue, you'll find the program, with its clearly marked menus on the left, easy to navigate and use. [See image 1]


    When you click on a menu to the left of the main window, the section on the right is refreshed, and a corresponding explanation of the just-clicked menu is displayed on the right section. You'll then need to click a button on the lower-right portion of your screen to open a new window, where you'll see a column, which you can populate with the files to be encrypted, either by selecting the files or dragging them to the window.  [See image 2] You can also encrypt or decrypt a file by dragging and dropping it onto the program's desktop icon.

    The program also adds its own menu to your right-click menu. So when you have Windows Explorer open and you want to encrypt or decrypt a file, or encrypt and send a file via email, all you have to do is select the file, right-click, and then select the appropriate option on the right-click menu.

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    Product Features

    Rating AverageWith Digital Document Encryptor, you can securely encrypt files and folders using any of four available encryption algorithms. The choice of encryption algorithms seems OK, as you don't necessarily need to have lots of options when it comes to what cipher block to use. In any case, what matters most, at least to the ordinary user, is that the program does what it is supposed to do. And this, the secure encryption of files and folders, Digital Document Encryptor does quite well. The program even creates a log file of each operation. The log files, of course, can be "shredded" as well.

    The Digital Document Encryptor also does a fairly decent job when encrypting sensitive information and sending it either as a secure email attachment or as a self-extracting file. [See image 3] Even if your recipients do not have a license for Digital Document Encryptor, they'll still be able to view the email attachments and self-extracting files that you send them using the free SafeIT Encryption Reader. Note, however, that you can't easily find the Encryption Reader on the SafeIT website. I had to Google it before I could download it from a page on the vendor's website. This is a minor issue, but irritating nevertheless.

    One other thing I noticed when sending secure email using the program (particularly when I selected the option to encrypt the file as a platform-independent encrypted file, or simply HTML): you need to have Java enabled to view the file in your web browser. What I don't get is why I have to be connected to the Internet to view the file. In effect, this defeats the purpose of a platform-independent file. As a Digital Document Encryptor user, I should have the option to encrypt a file and send it to one of my friends, who then proceeds to view the file on his trusty old browser even when working offline.

    Finally, if you downloaded the trial version, you can choose to obtain a subscription to the full version anytime by going to the Subscription Center and selecting the appropriate option.

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    Performance

    Rating AverageWhen you run Digital Document Encryptor, it will take only a few seconds before the main program window opens. The program was responsive between windows, and the processing time when encrypting a 100 MB file was only about 20-30 seconds, which is acceptable enough, in my view. What's better is that during the time when it was processing the file, memory consumption was minimal. I never had the program hang up on me, although, of course, I only played with it for a few hours. Nevertheless, performance-wise, I was quite satisfied with Digital Document Encryptor. 
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    Help & Support

    Rating AverageDigital Document Encryptor comes with a user manual in PDF format that is accessible from a shortcut on the Program menu. The manual, which is complete enough, also has sections on the Digital Encryption Suite (which bundles Digital Document Encryptor with Digital Shredder) and Digital Shredder itself, However, only email support is available on the SafeIT website. There is no telephone support, although I don't think that it is needed in this case, as the application is fairly simple and easy to follow.
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    Product Bundle

    Rating AverageSafeIT's Digital Security Suite (http://www.brighthub.com/software/SafeIT-Security/3843/Digital-Security-Suite.html) bundles Digital Document Encryptor with Digital Document Shredder. For $10 more, you can have a secure file encryption utility plus a file shredder for those times when you need to permanently "shred" files and folders.
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    Images

    Main_windowDrag_&_dropEmail
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    Suggested Features

    Although many today have Internet access, Digital Document Encryptor would attract a wider audience if it would allow anyone to view (after supplying the correct password, of course) encrypted files in a web browser, without the need to download and install another program (SafeIT Encryption Reader), and even without an Internet connection.
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    Conclusion

    Digital Document Encryptor, reasonably priced at $39.95 for a 1-year license, would be a worthy investment for those who want to take extra measures to secure their files from potential cyber-intruders. The program is doubly attractive if you consider the fact that not only does it encrypt files and folders in a secure manner, but also allows you to send these files and folders via your favorite email client. Moreover, you can also choose to shred the original files and folders once they've been encrypted, allowing for an extra layer of security.