By Lost Minds Software
FileTwister is an easy and inexpensive program to set up and use. You can try it out for free, but if you decide you want to use it regularly you'll need to pay the $5 registration fee to encrypt files larger than 1000K. If you don't register the program will prompt to you do so every time you use it. Unfortunately, there is no information provided about the strength of the encryption or the algorithm(s). The program uses symmetric key encryption. You can use it to encrypt files stored on your computer or removable media such as a floppy disk or CD. You can also use it to send encrypted files to other Mac users, but the recipient will need the program and the password to decrypt the file.
The program downloads a self-extracting file that includes the application, a registration form and instructions for using the program. FileTwister is ready to use as soon as it's been downloaded. It does not need to be installed or even opened to use. There are two ways to use the program: To encrypt a file without opening the program, locate the file you want to encrypt in the Finder and drag it onto the FileTwister icon. If you want to open the program first, double click the icon, go to the File menu and choose "Encode," then locate and open the file you want to encrypt.
Either method will open a dialogue window that prompts you to enter a "key." This is the password that you will use to both encrypt and decrypt the file. It has to be more than two characters, but the program doesn't indicate a maximum number of characters. After you type in your password, click the blue "encode" button. A progress bar appears and marks the time it takes to encrypt the file. When it's completely encrypted, a new version of the file will appear with ".twt" at the end of the name. (If there is already a file with the same name, you get a dialogue window first, asking where you want to save the encrypted file.)
If you're encrypting a file in order to store it securely on your computer, remember to put the original, unscrambled file in the trash and empty the trash. If you're encrypting a file to send to someone else as an email attachment, you don't need to delete the unscrambled version of the file if you want a readable version to remain on your computer. If not, delete the unscrambled file as described above, and retain the encrypted version ("with ".twt" at the end of the name).
Decrypting files is equally easy. Either drag the file you want to decrypt onto the FileTwister icon, or launch program, choose "Decode" from the File menu, then locate and open the file you want to decode. As before, you'll get a dialogue window prompting you for a password. Type in the same password you used to encrypt the file, and click the blue "decode" button.
Program can also be set up to integrate with Netscape so encoded files will automatically be decoded when you download your mail. This is a useful feature if you regularly use Netscape's email software instead of a stand-alone program like Eudora or Microsoft Outlook. The directions for setting this up are spelled out clearly in the instructions that come with the program.
That's all there is to FileTwister; there is literally nothing else you can do with the program.
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