Though CryptoForge wasn’t the fastest encryption software in our tests, it wasn’t the slowest either, and it did perform fairly quickly during our tests of encrypting and decrypting files. It took just under three minutes to encrypt 63 files that equaled 124MB, and just over six seconds to decipher them.We found this file encryption software simple to use. In fact, after installing the program, you can set your options and then start encrypting or shredding files right away by just right-clicking on a file, choosing “encrypt” and then entering a password. Decrypting your files works the same simple way.
CryptoForge includes the Decrypter app with its software, which consists of a single EXE file. This allows you to send encrypted files by email to anyone, whether or not they have CryptoForge installed on their computer. The Decrypter app is free and can be run from a memory card or USB thumb drive.
Like most of the best encryption software we reviewed, CryptoForge offers the most secure encryption key – 256-bit key AES. This cipher is used by the U.S. government and scrambles your data thoroughly when it encrypts files. CryptoForge also provides three other encryption algorithms for you to use if you prefer – 448-bit Blowfish, 168-bit Triple DES and 256-bit GOST.
The best encryption programs offer a file shredder, a password strength meter and a password generator – CryptoForge has all three. Its file shredder lets you choose how many times files are overwritten when shredded – up to 99 times. However, the company says most users would be secure enough with just two passes, so you likely don’t have to worry about running the file shredder 99 times with each file you want to shred.
Its password strength meter and password generator come in handy when you need to create a really strong password. The generator does all the work of coming up with a password for you if you want, but it may be a more difficult password for you to remember. When you do try your own password, the meter indicates how secure it is.
Although this software uses the 256-bit key AES encryption algorithm, which makes your files very secure after it encrypts them, it lacks a few security features that the best encryption software offers. You don’t get a virtual keyboard, stealth mode or password recovery feature with CryptoForge. A virtual keyboard would allow you to type in your password with a mouse instead of using your physical keyboard, preventing keyloggers from seeing your passwords. A stealth mode makes it look like you don’t and have never used encryption software on your computer. Password recovery would allow you to recover or reset your password if you forget it, which a lot of encryption software doesn’t allow for security reasons but would give you more leeway.
As long as you use one of the most recent versions of Windows – XP or later – your computer won’t have any issues running CryptoForge. However, the newest versions – Windows 10 or 8 – may run the program a little bit better overall than an older version.
CryptoForge doesn’t offer an online manual, but it does provide customer support. You can also view helpful FAQs and tutorials on its website before you turn to customer support.