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Top 10 ways to share files securely

Keep your files safe when sharing online

The internet is made for sharing and it’s perfectly understandable that the moment you snap a picture of a new addition to the family, or some other unmissable photo, you want to show it to your loved ones. Or you might want to share critical documents with work colleagues.

How can you make sure that whatever you share is seen only by the people you choose? Simply placing a password on files won’t always do – as you’d need a way of sending the password to the recipient securely in the first place!

In this article, we’re going to explore some quick and simple options for sharing your files safely over the net. These are not exclusive so don’t be afraid to combine them if necessary, or look into other ways to share files safely, too.

1. Dropbox

Most Dropbox users know that they can click ‘Share’ next to a file or folder to generate a link to allow other people to download that file or folder.

This is especially useful when you want to share files that are too large to email. Only people who have the link will be able to access the data, and you can delete the link at any time.

If you have a paid Dropbox Pro account (or a business one) you can password protect individual files and folders, as well as set the link to expire automatically.

2. Password protection

Many applications such as the cross-platform word processor LibreOffice Writer contain an option to password protect documents. Usually you’ll be asked to type in the password twice to make sure it’s entered correctly. Note it down carefully.

The specific steps you need to follow plus the strength of the encryption used will vary depending on the piece of software in question. Check with the developer (look for the support section of the website) if you need help with anything. Ideally documents should be protected with at least 128-bit AES encryption.

You will of course need a way to send the password to the recipient securely after sending the file.

3. PGP/GPG

PGP and GPG are two programs which make use of public key cryptography to send files securely.

They get around the problem of having to send someone the password of a file you’ve encrypted by using a ‘public key’ to encrypt documents and a ‘private key’ to decrypt them. Your private key never leaves your computer but anyone can use your public key to send you files.

Setting this up can be tricky for less tech-savvy types. The easiest way is probably to install the cross-platform email client Mozilla Thunderbird, then use the free add-on Enigmail which has a handy step-by-step wizard.

4. OTR

OTR (Off the Record) messaging is a feature that can be added to a number of messaging programs such as the cross-platform app Pidgin.

Messages are encrypted before leaving your machine, so you can safely send files to your correspondent. You can also use security codes to make sure no one is sitting between you and them, intercepting your messages (known as a ‘man-in-the-middle’ attack).

OTR messaging is available as a plug-in for Pidgin, as mentioned, but is also built into other messenger clients such as FrozenChat for Android.

5. One-Time Pad

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To use a One-Time Pad, first you must create a list of random numbers by rolling dice or using a computer. Your correspondent does the same, then you both meet and give each other a copy of the pads.

When you want to send your correspondent a file, you can then combine the random data in the pad with it, and send. The recipient can then use their copy of your pad to take away the random data to reveal the file.

This is tricky to get right, but theoretically it’s perfectly secure. There are a few programs as listed here, such as the Paranoia plug-in for the Pidgin messaging app, which can automate the process for you.

6. LastPass

LastPass is an excellent service which stores all of your usernames and passwords in one place. One of its niftiest features is that you can choose to share a login – say, for Google Photos – via email.

Part of the beauty of LastPass is that if you choose you can allow your correspondent to log in and access files without them seeing the password. Your connection is also protected by SSL so there’s very little chance anyone could connect to your data in the same way. In short, this is one of the most respected password managers out there, and with good reason.

7. Snapchat

Snapchat users will be aware that photos sent over the app theoretically self-destruct after a certain length of time. The recipient can take a screenshot of important information, however, and you’ll receive a notification that this has been done.

Snapchat updated its terms and conditions in 2014 to say that the firm may store copies of images you send. Ideally, you should use this app in combination with another of the methods listed here – for instance, you could encrypt a spreadsheet and send via email, then transmit the password separately via Snapchat. Splitting the file and the key in this way means only your correspondent will be able to view the data.

8. Resilio Sync

Resilio Sync (formerly BitTorrent Sync) synchronises files using the BitTorrent protocol. The advantage of this is that instead of having to share files via a cloud service like Dropbox, files can be synced directly between two devices.

Provided both your device and your correspondent’s are online, files can be shared in real-time and the connection is secured by 128-bit AES. BitTorrent is particularly good for sharing large files and folders as it was originally designed for that purpose. More devices can be added to share files with others if you wish.

For more details and to download clients for both desktop and mobile platforms visit the Resilio website as linked below. The client is not open source so there’s no easy way for security experts to check the code used for any vulnerabilities.

9. SSH

SSH (Secure Shell) is a network protocol which establishes an encrypted tunnel allowing people to log in to a computer remotely. It can be used to upload and download files as well as run commands on the target computer.

If you have a server, you can give your correspondent their own username to log in and access files you’ve uploaded. Alternatively you could create an account for them on your own machine so they can connect to you.

Mac and Linux users will be pleased to hear they can use SSH directly from the Terminal app. Windows users can download the free program Putty to do the same.

10. SFTP

Continuing the trend of obscure acronyms, SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) is an extension of the SSH protocol used specifically for transferring files. In order to make use of it, you need to have access to a server, for instance by renting one from a provider like Hosted FTP.

You’ll be supplied with a username and password that you can use to connect and upload/download files. Most operating systems integrate FTP into the file explorer so you can move, edit and copy files onto the server just as you would with an ordinary folder. Although the connection is encrypted, documents stored on the server aren’t, so consider protecting them with a password before uploading.

Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/top-10-ways-to-share-files-securely

The Most Important Color In UI Design

As you probably already guessed this article is dedicated to blue color. Without a doubt, blue is one of the most important colors in UI design, and one of the most frequent. Just look at your smartphone app icons, and you’ll see that a lot of them are blue: Facebook, Twitter, Shazam, Safari, etc.

So why is blue the chosen color?

There are a lot of reasons to use blue, I’ll list a few of them:

  • People like this color. Surveys show majority of people see blue as their favorite color. Blue is considered to be the safest color globally.Color preference is an important aspect of visual experience
  • Associated with nature. Blue is strongly associated with clean water, clear skies, etc., which leads to its high preference as a color.

    Blue has an association with nature due to this being the color of ocean and sky.

  • Universal color for UI designers. From a UI designer standpoint, it’s an incredibly useful color. A lot of colors from designer’s toolbox such as red, orange, and green already have strong built-in associations —for error, caution/safety, success. This makes the blue color a good choice for designers.
  • Gives a sense of innovation. Often, companies use blue because it associated with tech and innovation.
  • Makes people feel safe. Blue is a very common color for websites and apps in the travel industry. It represents reliability, which is a good thing for travel companies.

    Delta airlines

  • Makes the product seem trustworthy. More often than not, it’s a case of trying to convince the user that this is the right product to use. The purpose of adding blue, in this case, is convincing the user of its credibility. Technology brands like Dell, IBM, Intel, AT&T and PayPal take advantage of blue’s trustworthy message; they create products that people rely on day after day.

    Blue evokes a sense of balance as well as calm intelligence. That’s why the vast majority of financial services firms use blue.

  • Colorblindness. Most common types of colorblindness (Protanopia and Deuteranopia) can see the color blue. This can’t be said for colors like green or red.

    How visually impaired people see colors
    Blue is Facebook’s dominant color, because Mark Zuckerberg is colorblind. As he said, “blue is the richest color for me — I can see all of blue.”

Conclusion

I hope that after reading this article you have a good idea of why blue color is so popular among designer. However, this doesn’t mean that you should go and change the main color in your app/website to blue.

Blue isn’t the universal best color. There’s simply no universal best color.

What works on one site or app, doesn’t necessarily work on another. It’s a safe bet to select the color according to the preferences of your target audience:

Ultimately, the right color for your design is the one that your users think is right.

Thank you!