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Dropbox, Google Drive get in-browser security boost through BoxCryptor plugin

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Here’s one for business or otherwise privacy-hungry users of Chrome: BoxCryptor has released an experimental plugin that makes it possible to encrypt and decrypt files stored in Dropbox and Google Drive without needing to fiddle around with desktop apps.

Cloud storage services are pretty secure but, as Dropbox ably demonstrated earlier this year, a bit of extra client-side encryption is a good idea if you’re dealing with sensitive information. Germany-based BoxCryptor covers quite a range of platforms, including Windows, Windows RT, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, but this is the first time it’s gone in-browser.

According to BoxCryptor CEO Andrea Wittek, the benefit of that would become apparent if you happen to want to download and decrypt something using someone else’s machine. I can also see the feature coming in handy for Chrome OS business users, down the line at least.

“We call it an alpha version,” Wittek told me. “We’ve been testing it for a while. We definitely recommend people try it, though we wouldn’t recommend it for very sensitive files. It can crash – the worst thing that can happen is you think it’s encrypted a file and it hasn’t.”

It’s so alpha, in fact, that right now you need Chrome dev channel version 25.0 to make it work.

All going well, BoxCryptor hopes to slap on a beta label in a couple of weeks’ time. Wittek said the plan was to bring out plugins for other browsers, such as Firefox, later – Google Drive users tend to use Chrome, she pointed out. (Mind you, most people tend to use Chrome, period.)

BoxCryptor is still pretty well positioned in this space, largely due to ease of use and the range of platforms it supports. That said, there is competition around – a very new Austrian startup called expressFlow is also touting a Chrome plugin – so constant development is a good move.

Here’s a video of how the Chrome plugin works:

3 Responses to “Dropbox, Google Drive get in-browser security boost through BoxCryptor plugin”

  1. Lily Wilks

    Thank you for posting this very informative article especially I love usingDropbox. BTW, if you are looking for fast and reliable replication and synchronization between cloud services like, Evernote Google Docs, please check out CloudHQ by clicking the link

  2. I tried. It’s pretty great. Chrome doesn’t allow you to install apps outside the Chrome store anymore, though, at least not by default. You need to open your Extensions page in Chrome and then drag and drop the extension there to install it.

    I think storage services like Drive and Dropbox are in dire need of such local-client encryption, and e-mail services, too, and we probably won’t see much of this until the Web Crypto API is finished in 2014. But it’s too good to see some companies are working on making it happen even earlier.