Have you ever needed to provide a username and passphrase, but you didn't have it
Do you store your authentication credentials on a unprotected thumb drive,
or worse, on a piece of paper?
Would you like *secure* access to your data from an untrusted computer, or even a public computer, without having administrator access and without having to install an application? With complete interop between Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris?
Could you use an application with the ability to 1) encrypt several large (terabyte) files simultaneously, or 2) recursively encrypt *all* the files in a directory tree; in either case, writing the encrypted bits to disk *or* tape using a very small memory footprint?
Did you answer *yes* to any of these questions? Then consider using
Professional Data Security (PDS) !
Many of us need anywhere/anytime access to our "private" data. More importantly
we need to ensure that the access is secure and our data remains private.
Thus, the goal of this application is to deliver an easy and intuitive tool
to provide secure
anywhere/anytime access to private data, therby providing the ability to
information (account numbers, login credentials, etc.) on a thumb drive
without worrying that the data will be compromised should the thumb drive be lost or stolen.
In addition, this application can also encrypt any existing files,
keeping them protected as well.
Briefly, here's how it works: PDS provides a multi-window editor for your files.
To open a file, select it and provide the passphrase. Files can be opened in
read-only (view) mode or read-write (edit) mode. The encryption key protecting
your data is kept a keystore, and both the key and the keystore are protected
by passphrases. Without the correct credentials, the key remains secured and
your data cannot be decrypted. In addition to the ability to securely view and
edit PDS files, this application also provides the ability to encrypt and
decrypt existing files and directories.
If you use this application, a single, secure passphrase can protect all your
sensitive digital information; or if you prefer more than one passphrase,
each file could be protected by up to two unique passphrases. You decide,
on a case by case basis, how much security will be needed for each
This application was designed to be installed to and executed from a
thumb drive; a thumb drive that can be plugged in to any Java enabled computer.
As an enhancement, the application is also delivered via Java Web Start (JWS),
thus adding a few additional features (desktop icon, add/remove via control
panel, etc.) that we have come to expect. Sadly, JWS also appears to go wonky
at times. For that reason it is not the recommended method of installation.
Still, using either mode of installation, this application will encrypt your
data, rendering it useless to anyone that does not have the encryption key.
In addition, the application provides configuration
options that allows full interoperability among different installations; a file
encrypted "on the road" using the using the thumb drive installation can be
decrypted on another machine that has the JWS installation.
Below are the goals this application has reached:
* Secure access to confidential data from any Java (1.6+) enabled device.
* Piece of mind, knowing that secured data cannot be easily compromised.
* An easy to use application with a multi-document editor for text files.
* A fast, platform-independent encryption engine that will:
* Encrypt and decrypt existing files.
* Recursively encrypt and decrypt existing directories.
* Support for running the application securely from a thumb drive.
With this application there is no need to install software on every computer
you want to use; all the software is contained in a single JAR file.
A JAR file implies Java, which means that this application should
run on any machine with Java (1.6+) installed.
As mentioned above, this application provides a *SECURE* text editor that allows you
to enter data (login information such as usernames or passphrases, account information,
etc.) and save it securely to your thumb drive or Workstation. The data can be
retrieved later, but only by using the passphrase (or passphrases, if you desire).
Best of all, there are no temporary files left behind.
In addition to the text editor, this application also provides a fast encryption engine.
This engine can be used to encrypt your existing files, whether they are in Word, Excel, PDF
or any other format you have. They can be encrypted using the same key (and passphrase)
or a different key. You designate the key you wish to use.
As a part of the design, you can make your data protection as simple
(one passphrase for everything) or as complex (multiple keystores, multiple keys,
with different passphrases for every keystore and key) as you like.
PDS is open source software. Per the license you may download and
use one of the many binary releases available both here and elsewhere.
Should you find this of application of use, I ask that you make a
small donation to the ASPCA.
Our pets, both now and in the future, thank you !
Manual Installation - Run PDS from a Thumb Drive
Unzip one of these files to a thumb drive and run PDS wherever you go.
Zipped Release - Version 2.0 beta 1 *** New ***
Zipped Release - Version 1.0 *** Recommended ***
Java Web Start - Install the latest release and be prompted for updates:
Java Web Start - Version 1.0 *** Great, until the JRE upgrades ***
Java Web Start - Install a specific release without being prompted for updates:
Java Web Start - Version 2.0 betas
Java Web Start - Version 1.0
The application, pds.jar, is a signed JAR file. The fingerprints are as follows:
Signature algorithm name: SHA1withRSA
Clearly this application will not work for everyone. As just one example, it
does not support the iPhone. If compression and encryption is all that is
needed, 7-zip and WinZip are better choices. Below is a list of others that
just might "work better" for you:
Logio Secure Password Organizer
For more on this topic, see:
NPR's follow-on article
If you do try PDS, note that it received most of its testing on Linux
and Windows; it has received limited testing on Solaris and Mac.
Having a modern JRE (Java 6+) is the only known requirement.