The internet is to the online community what a forest is to the traveler: full of spectacular sights and sounds, but occasionally wearying. Exchanging sensitive data is one such cause for concern. Encryption is the way to go, but how do you send private files to people without them having to install or learn frustrating decrypting software? Try the one-click Silver Key to unlock that problem; with its 256-bit encryption key and reputable AES cipher, you can quickly secure any number of files right from Windows Explorer. Parcels can be made as self-extracting EXE files as well, meaning the recipients won’t need Silver Key installed to extract them. What’s more, Silver Key can even run from a USB drive!
After you go through setup, double-click the key icon that appears on your desktop, in order to completely install Silver Key. For more information, try going through the quick tutorial available at the end of installation. Silver Key does not require its original distribution files for installation; it can be installed by simple copying its program directories (by default it is “C:\Program Files\Silver Key”). As soon as any executable in the copied directory is run, the product finalizes its installation and opens its activation window.
To create an encrypted parcel, just drag the file you want to encrypt onto Silver Key’s desktop shortcut, or right-click the file and select ‘Create Parcel’ from the context menu. You can create either a standard (*.sk) or an executable (*.exe) parcel.
If you wish the encrypted copy to be created in another folder, right-click the original file and, while holding down the right button, drag it to the destination directory. From the context menu that appears, select ‘Create Parcel Here’.
In the window that follows, enter a password that will be used for encrypting and later decrypting your file(s). Re-enter it to confirm.
And that’s it! Silver Key will create an encrypted copy of your original file, which you can then upload to a server, send over the local area network or social media, attach to an email, or simply transfer via USB.
In case you created an EXE parcel, your recipient won’t even need the tool installed on their computer; they can simply run that EXE file and specify the password in order to decrypt and access the contents. For regular (non-EXE) parcels, one need only drag the parcel onto the Silver Key icon, or right-click the parcel, select ‘Decrypt Parcel’, enter the password and view its contents. Users can also use the ‘Verify Parcel’ option to confirm its authenticity before opening it, and shred it later on to get rid of it with no trace left.
Now let’s take a look at its settings. You can access the panel by double-clicking the Silver Key icon and going to ‘Crypto Settings’.
In the ‘User Interface’ part, you can select which commands you want to appear in the right-click menu, and also what function you want the desktop icon to perform.
In ‘Icons, you can browse for icons to replace Silver Key’s default ones.
Silver Key has a lot more features, but they’re available in paid upgrades. The Silver Key Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition have, among them, support for binary keys, the ability to hide parcels in JPEG images, encrypted comments, a command-line interface for automated encrypting, advanced parcel designing tools, digital signatures, and various other ciphering and shredding tools.
The free edition, however, is excellent for users who use encryption sporadically. While it doesn’t have all the bling of the advanced versions, it takes its job seriously and provides industry-standard security services without costing a dime.
Silver Key is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7 & 8. It was tested on Windows 8 Pro, 64-bit.