Review file encryption program ProtectOrion Data Safe

ProtectOrion Data Safe is an user friendly file encryption software made by an Austrian company, after installing it you will be prompted to create a masterpassword, a password strength meter will let you know how secure your password is, the user is forced to enter a password made up of a combination of letters and numbers or special characters, otherwise it will be rejected for being too weak.

ProtectOrion main window is very informative, a toolbar above lets you know the full file path where data is being stored in Windows, and below you are shown the remaining free hard disk space and encrypted database size. Through the interface you can create folders where to classify your encrypted data (files and folders), just like you would do working on your operating system but with the data encrypted, a wastebin securely keeps any files you erase in case you change your mind.

ProtectOrion file encryption software

ProtectOrion file encryption software

A Windows widget, called SafePad, holds over your desktop at all times if you choose so, it can be used to drag and drop files or full folders for automatic encryption with the AES256 cipher (used by many government agencies and banks), after dragging a file you can choose in what encrypted folder you would like to place it, ProtectOrion options allow you to specify if the original file should be securely wiped after encryption or only copied, leaving the original file intact, the software can be set to autolock after a preset time or manually locked if you need to go away from your computer, the encrypted database can easily be backed up anywhere you like and restored.

Another feature is a password manager where you can create groups of passwords, usernames and URLs, all nicely put together, you can paste passwords to the clipboard with a single click, for security, the passwords are automatically erased from the clipboard after 15 seconds. There is a portable version of this software that can be installed on a USB thumbdrive with ProtectOrion ToGo (7MB), encrypted passwords can be synchronized in between the desktop and USB thumbdrive.

Most of the software functions are intuitive but a complete well structured PDF manual is included anyway, my main concern with this software is the existence of temporary files when you open them, a common Windows problem is that the operating system can create automatic unencrypted backups of photos or documents you are viewing in hard to find places.

Freeware encryption ProtectOrion

Freeware encryption ProtectOrion

Protectorion Data Safe claims to securely wipe files after adding them to the encrypted database but besides the fact that it stops data recovery software, they do not mention anywhere what method and how many wipes they use.

I think this could a good program for people who want something very easy to use with no learning curve, an eye candy interface and have very low security needs, if your opponent is someone well funded stay away from this encryption software, I saw decrypted temporary files created on the hard disk while the safe was open, once you close the encrypted safe the temporary files vanish, but I don’t know if they are securely wiped or not, there is no information about this anywhere.

Other encryption programs (Safetica, DiskCryptor, etc) create encrypted virtual drives where to store the data, that appears to me a far more secure solution than encrypting and decrypting every single file when you view them, even if they were wiped, the data leakage risk is still higher, the more files need to be wiped, the easier it is something can go wrong (ie computer crash leaving files decrypted before they have been erased).

ProtectOrion is the living example of why just because certain encryption software is using an unbreakable cipher like AES256 does not mean it is secure, how encryption is implemented needs to be considered too.

Note: The free version of this software is limited to 100 files and 5 passwords, a popup window invites you to upgrade your version when you open the software.

Visit Protectorion Data Safe homepage

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