How to encrypt your documents and directories?

In the course of your work or at home, you keep documents that may contain confidential information that should not be accessible to everyone. Encryption responds to this problem.

Why encrypt your documents and directories?
Encryption is a method of protecting documents by making them unreadable by anyone who does not have access to a so-called decryption key.
To learn more, you can (re)read our fact sheet Understanding the main principles of cryptology and encryption.

On a personal level, encryption can be useful if you want to keep confidential documents on a medium that could be stolen (USB stick, laptop, etc.) or on a computer that you share with people who should not be able to access them. Finally, most often, when you store documents in the cloud, the confidentiality of these files is not guaranteed. This data is generally stored in clear text on the servers, it is potentially readable by any user with privileged rights on these servers (for example, potential administrators or hackers).

From a professional point of view, you may also be concerned:

If you store confidential documents on a server shared with colleagues who should not be aware of them. If you are a lawyer, doctor, journalist, or any other profession that imposes strict professional secrecy and you work on a laptop computer that unfortunately could one day be stolen from you.
It doesn’t just happen to others!
A breach of data confidentiality can have various consequences. There are many examples, as many:

Professionally, an unencrypted client list that falls into the hands of the wrong recipient can damage the company’s financial health and reputation.

Personally, protecting your personal data also means preventing potential identity theft.
The collection of documents or personal information may allow malicious persons to use this information without your knowledge, for example, to subscribe on your behalf to a credit, a subscription, commit reprehensible acts or damage your reputation.

Technique n°1: Encrypting a document to send it

In practice, the simplest way to encrypt data for oneself is symmetric encryption, i.e. the one for which the same secret key is used to encrypt and decrypt (see Understanding the main principles of cryptology and encryption).

Various free tools allow you to encrypt files in this way. For example, we can mention:

7-Zip (pronounced “seven zip”) is a software that compresses one or more documents, and encrypts them. It is free, downloadable on, available in French and freely redistributable.
Peazip is a free software similar to 7-Zip. It is free, downloadable from, available in French and freely redistributable.
VeraCrypt is a free software that allows you to encrypt a directory under Windows, Mac and GNU/Linux.
Zed! is a more advanced encryption tool, developed by Prim’X, whose free discovery version allows you to encrypt files up to 200 MB.

There is also excellent software for encrypting and protecting data and your files. It is [email protected] VAULT which is a complete tool to ensure the excellent security of your emails, files and data on the Internet, whether you are a professional or a private individual.

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