there are 4 good programs
trucrypt - uncracked, unless you chpse tpo use the weak algorithms, free, many different algorithms, mounts data in virtual drive
pgp - (pay) UNCRACKED as yet, come with file encryption, vault, email encryption, pgp tools (disk wiper, key maker etc)
drivecrypt - (pay) made by the rivals of pgp, but JUST AS GOOD, same features, scheaper though
drivecryptpluspack - whole disk encryption - encrypts hdd down to sector level, ie, ur data is ALWAYS ENCRYPOTED, the whole disk is, to even boot the pc, u mneed password to decrypt the widnwos.
Windows XP has a cipher program built in. All you have to do is go to the properties >> advanced of any file or folder and check the encrypt file/contents check box. I think it's 128 bit encryption so it will work for most of your needs. I'm also pretty sure that other users on your computer will not be able to bypass this encryption, but if your username is compromised then they will have direct access to your encrypted files.
Note: it only works under NTFS and is not availible for FAT file system running win XP.
Thats always confuzed me. Is that only for users on your pc then?
only the user who encrypts the files has access to the files, but administrator might be able to gain access, i'm not sure.
If the administrator on your computer is you, then I'm sure no one else will have access to the files you encrypt on the computer, but make sure no one else has administrator privaleges like domain administrators. This would only really be a problem if you connect your computer at work. Normal household computers do not sign on to domains.
But windows encryption or cipher should be good enough for just about anything you might need to encrypt. Like I said you only need be conserned about people hacking your username. Make sure your password has one/two of the following characters "!@#$%^&", plus letters, and numbers, and you should be perfectly safe to encrypt files using windows software already on your system. Heck, trouble shoot it if you aren't sure. Make another user name, give it administrator privaleges and see if you can open the file you've encrypted using the other user name. Its pretty simple.
I've never cracked windows cipher, and I haven't heard of anyone who can easily get around it. Sure give me a few years and I'll break just about anything less than 128 bit, but there's a point at which it becomes worthless to attempt to hack the cipher, and windows encryption is past that. It's better than PGP was, and unless you or someone you know can hack it then don't scare people into believing otherwise.
I know a guy who had all of his business stuff on a 512 bit cipher, and it took forever just to open his email and it was all because some stupid person told him 128 just wasn't good enough. Trust me, unless you are hiding information that is vital to the security of our nation you do not need 512 bit. nuff said...