Sending sensitives files to family, friends, colleagues, vendors, or customers using email without some level of encryption is insecure and can lead to undesirable results. Our goal today is to outline several simple steps to password protect your files and then send them to your recipient securely. The tools needed in our tutorial are free and will add some additional peace of mind to your process. The technology we will be using is WinRAR and Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service. We are also performing these steps using the Windows 10 operating system.
Often times we want to send files to someone but we want make sure they are secure. In this scenario we will be password protecting several files with WinRAR and using OneDrive to share them over a secure link. Please make sure your I.T. department approves WinRAR and OneDrive if you are in a corporate setting. Also, these instructions assume you have already created your OneDrive account.
Download and Install WinRAR Evaluation Copy & Password Protect Files:
- Click the following link to download WinRAR: http://www.rarlab.com/rar/
- Save the file. This will download the most recent version of WinRAR into your download’s folder.
- After the download completes click Run.
- When the software opens, click Install.
- Review the WinRAR setup window and click Ok (The defaults are ok).
- Click Done. The software is now installed.
- An Explorer window will open. Double-click the WinRAR Shortcut.
- The WinRAR application will open.
- Find the folder where the files you want to password protect and highlight them then go to Step 10.
Note: If the files are in different folders you may want to go put them all in one folder before this step so you can highlight them all together so you can add them together. Or, you can add one file then once the remaining steps are done, you can open WinRAR again then go find the .ZIP folder you created while in WinRAR app and right-click on it then choose ‘Add files to archive’. There is a few different ways to add additional folders into the password protected .zip folder.
- Via the top left corner, click Add.
- Change the archive format to ZIP.
- Click Set Password.
- Enter your Password. You will want to call or txt your recipient this password so they can open the files after you share them.
- Click Ok. Your password protected .zip folder has been created.
Upload and Share the Password Protected ZIP Folder with OneDrive Securely:
- Click the following link to access your OneDrive page and login with your email and password: https://www.onedrive.com . If you do not have OneDrive create a new account.
Note: Notice the “S” in the https which indicates the page you’re accessing is secure.
- After you’re logged in, you can use the existing Documents folder to upload your password protected ZIP folder or you can create a new folder to upload into.
- Click the Documents folder or your newly created folder. Then click Upload.
- Browse to your password encrypted ZIP folder and click Ok. This will upload the folder into your One Drive account.
- Once the upload completes, single-click on the ZIP folder and click Share from the top bar.
- The sharing feature in OneDrive offers several options:
- You can restrict editing with the top drop down menu. In other words, if you want to restrict editing on the files, you can choose to do so.
- You can click ‘Get a link’ and copy this link and send it to your recipient with a customized email from Outlook or your favorite email tool.
- You can click ‘Email’ and type an email address directly with OneDrive and a short message.
- Or you can Share the file with one of the various social media tools such as Facebook or Twitter.
- The key to sharing the folder is the recipient will receive a secure link to access the folder.
- Once the recipient downloads the files they will be forced to use the password to access the files.
- Call or text the recipient the password so they can access the files.
Normally we would attach a file in an email and send it to our recipient. The problem with this method is the email data is sent over the Internet in clear text and can be intercepted in transit by an attacker. This process creates layers of security to prevent your confidential information from being stolen. Thanks again for your time today learning one of many ways to password protect and securely share files. To request more information please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again for being a loyal reader of our Predictably Better newsletter. We’ll be back next month!