In recent years, cloud storage services have made it easier than ever to share files online. But, while there are plenty of different tools for transferring files over the web, it’s not always obvious which platforms are the most secure.
Although password protection and custom file access permissions have been commonplace amongst file-sharing apps for a few years, cloud storage and file transfer services are still vulnerable to hacking attacks. The best thing to do, therefore, is to use a platform that supports end-to-end encryption, guaranteeing that transferred files will only be seen by their intended recipient.
Besides using a platform with in-build security tech, you can also keep your info safe by protecting your files through protocols such as GPG and PGP. With these or other security standards, you can encrypt your files prior to sharing so that only someone with a specific key will be able to open them. However, taking this route may be frustrating or unnecessarily time-consuming, especially if all you want to do is share a couple of documents safely.
To help you find a better solution, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best file-sharing apps that offer file encryption. By using one of these services, you can rest assured that the information you transfer will remain safe and secure.
These are the best apps to share files securely.
pCloud is a cloud storage platform with advanced file sharing features, such as shared folders, advanced access controls, and direct file links. We recommend this service for safe file-sharing because it encrypts uploaded files, giving your data an additional layer of protection.
The pCloud platform stands out amongst alternative file-sharing platforms because you can pay a one-time $175 to obtain 500GB of lifetime storage, or $350 for 2TB. Although this is a significant investment, in the long run it could save you a lot of cash over paying monthly. If that doesn’t appeal, monthly subscription options are also available.
With a standard pCloud cloud storage account, you get access to some great security features, such as 256-bit AES encryption and SSL channel protection. However, if you want to take things to another level, pCloud offers an extra client-side encryption option, known as pCloud Encryption, for a one-time $125 fee.
To demonstrate how secure pCloud Encryption is, the company actually challenged 616 organizations, including Berkley and MIT, to hack their client-side encryption system, offering a $100,000 reward for successful intrusions. Impressively, not one group managed to break in.
Read our full pCloud review.
Often, the most sensitive and confidential information we share over the web is transmitted through email messages and attachments. This makes securing your emailed files and data a high priority, and Enigmail is an excellent tool to help you do that.
Enigmail is a plugin created specifically for the Thunderbird email client. Thunderbird is a free email management system that can be installed on PC, macOS, Linux, and even FreeBSD machines.
If you use Thunderbird to sync and send emails, you should absolutely install Enigmail. The plugin uses the OpenPGP email encryption standard to secure and digitally sign any emails you send or receive. Like other PGP systems, OpenPGP uses public and private keys to protect your data. A user’s public key can be used to encrypt information which only their corresponding private key will be able to decrypt.
The big advantage of using Enigmail is that you don’t have to spend time fiddling around with encryption protocols as the plugin can automatically manage encryption and decryption. If you don’t feel like making the switch to Thunderbird, you’ll find that most popular email management tools have equivalent OpenPGP plugins available.
If you’re looking for a secure way to share files via an instant messenger-style service, Signal is one of the best options out there. It’s powered by an encryption engine known as Signal Protocol which secures your messages, calls, and files via end-to-end encryption.
The awesome thing about using an open-source platform like Signal is that anyone can explore and improve the source code behind the tool, meaning any bugs or security weaknesses are quickly identified and patched.
The signal app can be run on pretty much any device, with clients for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux. Although the interface isn’t particularly exciting, all the functionality you’d get in a regular messaging service is available here, including group chats and video calls, and secure file sharing.
If you’re using it on a mobile device, you can even set Signal as a replacement for your default SMS application. However, SMS texts won’t be encrypted by Signal as the platform’s encryption only functions correctly if you and your recipient both have Signal installed.
One of its most impressive features is the ability to share logins. This is ideal if you need to give someone temporary or permanent access to one of your file storage accounts. And the best part of LastPass’s credential sharing feature is that you can let a trusted person access a LastPass-protected account without being able to see your password.
Although LastPass can be used for free, if you upgrade to a $3 per month paid subscription, you’ll receive 1GB of encrypted storage space. That might not sound like much, but it’s plenty of room if you reserve it for your most precious items, such as passport photocopies and bank account records.
Resilio, which used to be known as BitTorrent Sync, is a file-sharing tool that uses the BitTorrent protocol to sync files between two devices. The reason we recommend this platform for secure file sharing is that files can be transferred directly between your devices, so you don’t have to use a vulnerable third-party cloud service.
As long as your source and recipient devices are connected to the web, it’s possible to transfer files quickly through Resilio using a connection secured by 128-bit AES encryption. BitTorrent’s protocol is particularly suited to transferring large files and batches of files securely.
You can install a version of Resilio, known as Sync Home, for free. However, this cannot be used to send files, just to receive them. To be able to send files, and access other features like multiple-device management, you’ll need to upgrade to the Sync Home Pro for a $59.99 one-time fee. Also available is Sync Family Pro which, for $99.99, enables you to sync files with 5 other users.
Corporate users may wish to opt for Sync Business Pro instead. For $30 per month and up, this version of Resilio removes all bandwidth transfer limits. It’s also the best version of the platform for secure and safe file-sharing because transferred information is automatically protected through end-to-end encryption.
- Check out our guide to the best cloud storage options.