News stories over the past few years about the unconstitutional actions of the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies should serve as a wake-up call for all of us. Yes, there are many people and organizations trying to obtain information about you. From hackers in third-world countries, to companies trying to sell you products, to semi-secret agencies of the U.S. Government, it seems as if nearly everyone is trying to find information about you. Indeed, many people seem to have a phobia about storing their personal information on servers on the Internet.
What saddens me most of all is that the entire issue is so easily avoided: encrypt the information. When you leave your house, I suspect you lock the door. When you leave your automobile in a parking lot, you probably lock it up, too. The same should be true with your information. When you leave your information unattended, whether it is in your home when you are not present or someplace in the cloud, you should lock it up.
Simply put, encryption programs scramble data within the file or files that you specify so that no one else can access that data without the key that you keep. If anyone does manage to obtain a copy of your file, all they will see is something that looks similar to this:
Security is under your control at all times because you have the key and you decide who gets copies of that key. Encryption is easy to do, requiring only a few seconds, and (in many cases) it is free of charge.