Title: Secure IT 2000

Reviewer: pcquest.com

Date: February 2001

This product can be used to encrypt and decrypt your files, so that crucial data doesn't fall in unwanted hands. You can also use it to create self-extracting executable files that can be accessed only by supplying the right password.

The software uses Blowfish 448 encryption algorithm, which encrypts and de-crypts data in 64-bit chunks. The algorithm generates a key whose length can vary from 32 to 448 bits. We reviewed the one with the 448 bits key.

Secure It's interface is easy to understand and use, and has shortcuts for My Documents and Desktop. However, you can't add your own shortcuts. So, if you want to secure anything outside these folders, you'll have to provide the full path. Secure IT can encrypt various file formats, and also let you encrypt more than one file at a time. You can also encrypt complete folders with the software. It has masks for TXT, DOC, and XLS files, so you can, for instance, use *.txt to encrypt all TXT files at one go. However, you can't give your own masks, so that if you want to encrypt all PDF documents in a folder, you can't use *.pdf. You can, however, use the *.* mask to encrypt all files on a given path.

The default extension for encrypted files is BLOW. These can be opened only on a machine that has Secure IT. If you want to carry your files to another machine or send files to someone over e-mail, the software has an option to create encrypted executables. Both BLOW files and the encrypted executables are password protected, and the maximum password length is 56 characters. You can attach a riddle to your password to help you remember it. This is also useful when you're sending encrypted files over e-mail, because instead of sending the actual password, you can send a riddle that the other person can solve to find out the password for decryption.

When you encrypt a file, the software doesn't modify the original file, but creates an encrypted copy. After encryption, you can retain, delete, or shred the original file. Using the last option destroys the file beyond retrieval.

Secure IT also has a built-in file compressor. When we tried it, it compressed a standard Word 2000 document to about a quarter of its original size. When we converted this to an encrypted executable, the file became twice its original size. when encrypted without compression, the file grew to three times its size.

Probably to guard against piracy, one copy of the software installs only once; you can't use the same CD or floppy to install the software again, whether on the same machine or another. So, if installation doesn't happen smoothly on your PC the first time, or your machine crashes later due to some reason, you won't be able to reinstall Secure IT. This can be quite a drawback.

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