In fact, hardly any computer user encrypts files because it is not done automatically and users do not want to bother. As a result, the user who does elect to encrypt files will inevitably has to answer the question ‘Why?’ if apprehended, and – depending on in which country one lives – may be compelled to decrypt those files. This means that one should go to great lengths not to draw attention to oneself, so that the presence of encrypted files does not become known in the first place.
Advertising, or even allowing it to be known, that one has encrypted files amounts to taunting some regimes – a highly inadvisable act. But then, if nobody looks at your files to begin with, why bother to encrypt them at all? The answer is that the encryption will still provide benefits in the following ways.
- It will protect files from being compromised remotely when online if a hacker manages to penetrate one’s online computer.
- Instead of encrypting files for storage, encryption can be used only to transfer files and e-mail through the inherently insecure Internet, for confidentiality from hackers just as e-businesses use encryption to handle the portion of online ordering that involves giving credit-card information.
- It will give one some additional time to delay decrypting files if compelled, compared with having them unencrypted in the first place; during this time one can consult with one’s lawyer, for example, on the best way to proceed.
- It will keep casual snoops out (maids, friends, etc.)
- You will need it if you have a personal technical interest in the field, as evidence by your subscriptions to these publications, your membership in this technical group, etc.
- You will need it if in your professional capacity (as doctor, clergy, engineer etc.), If you are entrusted by others with data that you are required to protect from theft and compromise.
- You will need it if you are a businessperson, your competitive edge is in your business plans and proprietary technologies that your use and you have to protect those from thieves and competitors, especially when you travel.
- You will need it if you want to protect your business files from hackers when online or from kids from changing them as a practical joke – you know how kids are these days.