Try It Out

In the individual exercises, you will explore how to encrypt both text and files using AES-256 encryption. There are various ways to accomplish this. Find the way that works best in your environment and implement it consistently. 

Make sure to use a secure password generator and to protect sharing that password with end to end encryption tool (e.g. Signal). 

#1 - Text Encryption

You can use a variety of text encryption solutions. These are ideal for text/email messages you might send on your smartphone, as well as via a computer.

Tool: Paranoia Text Encryption 

#2 - File Encryption

#2 - File Encryption

Encrypting files with AES-256 can be done with a variety of tools. Here are a few you can use that are free. A few tools include:

#3- Encrypt and Decrypt Text

Part 1 - Decrypt Text

To facilitate decryption, open the Paranoia Text Encryption Online tool (via the web browser on your device, including smartphones) and paste in the text that appears below. Use the password - kQgWbQhc58wc - and send it to "" via email. Obviously, this password would not be shared on a web page for anyone to access. It is shared here for demonstration purposes.

==Begin Encrypted Text Below (only copy encrypted content, not anything with == in front of it)


==End Encrypted Text Below (only copy encrypted content above)

Part 2 - Encrypt Text

To encrypt text, type your own message in the Paranoia Text Encryption Online tool and then send the encrypted text to ""  with subject line of "Encrypted Text." Use the password -  T5ecaJiMepSU - to encrypt. Or, if you prefer, use a different password.

#4- Encrypt and Decrypt Files

Part 1 - Encrypt File(s)

Part 2 - Decrypt File(s)

Final Step

Make sure to shred/wipe the ORIGINAL decrypted files/folder(s) when "at rest." Of course, first check that your decryption password works. 

Dragging items to the Trash/Recycle Bin is insufficient since they can be recovered using a free tool like Recuva on Windows or your hard drive accessed on a GNU/Linux system then files recovered.

Secure Space Encryptor (SSE):

7zip Encryption:

#5 - OpenGPG Tools (free)

Option #1: GPG 4 Windows

Gpg4win is the official GnuPG distribution for Windows and provides the high cryptographic standards of the GNU Privacy Guard. GnuPG follows the recommendations regarding algorithms and key length of the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

To create OpenPGP and X.509 certificates Gpg4win uses a key length of 2048bit by default. The default algorithm for signing and encrypting is RSA.

A step-by-step installation guide is provided as part of the Gpg4win Compendium.  

Option #2: GoAnywhere OpenPGP Tool

Open PGP (free), also known as GPG, is a popular encryption standard that protects the privacy and integrity of sensitive files. Open PGP implements asymmetric (public key) cryptography to provide strong security and repudiation of files. GoAnywhere MFT provides robust support for PGP, allowing you to:

Open PGP software is used by banks, financial institutions, healthcare organizations and other highly regulated industries to protect their most sensitive files. (Source)