At the HOPE hacker conference in New York, Nadim Kobeissi released a beta version of an all-purpose file encryption program called miniLock.
It is a free and open-source browser plug-in designed to let even Luddites encrypt and decrypt files with practically uncrackable cryptographic protection in seconds.
It’s super simple, approachable, and it’s almost impossible to be confused using it – it is a file encryption that does more with less. MiniLock can be used to encrypt anything from video email attachments to photos stored on a USB drive, or to encrypt files for secure storage on Dropbox or Google Drive.
Every time miniLock launches, the user enters only a passphrase. From that passphrase, the program derives a public key, which it calls a miniLock ID, and a private key, which the user never sees and is erased when the program closes. Both are the same every time the user enters the passphrase.
That trick of generating the same keys again in every session means anyone can use the program on any computer without worrying about safely storing or moving a sensitive private key. There are no logins, and no private keys to manage.
Users can have their identity for sending and receiving files on any computer that has miniLock installed, without needing to have an account like web service does, and without needing to manage key files like PGP.
If miniLock becomes the first truly idiot-proof public key encryption program, it could bring sophisticated encryption to a broad new audience. The ability for regular people to encrypt files is actually a valuable thing Kobeissi has stripped away the complexity and made this thing that does what we need it to do.