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|Security.md||4 months ago|
Picocrypt is a very small (hence Pico), very simple, yet very secure encryption tool that you can use to protect your files, generate checksums, and much more. It's designed to be the go-to tool for encryption, with a focus on security, simplicity, and reliability. Picocrypt uses the secure XChaCha20 cipher and the SHA3 hash function to provide a high level of security, even from three-letter agencies like the NSA. It's designed for maximal security, making absolutely no compromises security-wise, and is built with Go's standard x/crypto modules. Your privacy and security is under attack. Take it back with confidence by protecting your files with Picocrypt.
Please donate to Picocrypt on Open Collective (crypto is accepted) to raise money for a potential audit from Cure53. Because this is a project that I spend many hours on and make no money from, I cannot pay for an audit myself. Picocrypt needs support from its community.
Important: There's an outdated and useless piece of abandonware called PicoCrypt on the Internet, which was last updated in 2005. PicoCrypt is not related in any way to Picocrypt (this project). Make sure you only download Picocrypt from this repository to ensure that you get the authentic and backdoor-free Picocrypt.
Picocrypt for Windows is as simple as it gets. To download the latest, standalone, and portable executable for Windows, click here. If Windows Defender or your antivirus flags Picocrypt as a virus, please do your part and submit it as a false positive for the betterment of everyone.
Picocrypt for macOS is very simple as well. Download Picocrypt here, extract the zip file, and run Picocrypt which is inside. If you can't open Picocrypt because it's not from a verified developer, right click on Picocrypt and hit "Open". If you still get the warning, right click on Picocrypt and hit "Open" again and you should be able to start Picocrypt.
A Snap is available for Linux. Assuming you're on a Debian-based system, a simple
apt install snapd and
snap install picocrypt will be enough. For other distros such as Fedora, detailed instructions are available at https://snapcraft.io/picocrypt. Due to the complexity of dependencies and static linking, I don't distribute standalone .deb or .rpm binaries because they would be unreliable and not worth the hassle. Snapcraft manages all dependencies and runtimes automatically and is the recommended way to run Picocrypt on any major Linux distribution. Additionally, Snapcraft provides better security and containerization than Flatpaks and AppImages, which is important for an encryption tool like Picocrypt. If you would prefer not to deal with Canonical, remember that building from source is always an option.
Why should you use Picocrypt instead of BitLocker, NordLocker, VeraCrypt, AxCrypt, or 7-Zip? Here are a few reasons why you should choose Picocrypt:
- Unlike NordLocker, BitLocker, AxCrypt, and most cloud storage providers, Picocrypt and its dependencies are completely open-source and auditable. You can verify for yourself that there aren't any backdoors or flaws.
- Picocrypt is tiny. While NordLocker is over 100MB and VeraCrypt is over 30MB, Picocrypt sits at just 3MB, about the size of a high-resolution photo. And that's not all - Picocrypt is portable (doesn't need to be installed) and doesn't require administrator/root privileges.
- Picocrypt is easier and more productive to use than VeraCrypt. To encrypt files with VeraCrypt, you'd have to spend at least five minutes setting up a volume. With Picocrypt's simple UI, all you have to do is drag and drop your files, enter a password, and hit Start. All the complex procedures are handled by Picocrypt internally. Who said secure encryption can't be simple?
- Picocrypt is designed for security. 7-Zip is an archive utility and not an encryption tool, so its focus is not on security. Picocrypt, however, is built with security as the number one priority. Every part of Picocrypt exists for a reason and anything that could impact the security of Picocrypt is removed. Picocrypt is built with cryptography you can trust.
- Picocrypt authenticates data in addition to protecting it, preventing hackers from maliciously modifying sensitive data. This is useful when you are sending encrypted files over an insecure channel and want to be sure that it arrives untouched. Picocrypt uses HMAC-SHA3 for authenticity, which is a highly secure hash function in a well-known construction.
- Picocrypt actively protects encrypted header data from corruption by adding extra Reed-Solomon parity bytes, so if part of a volume's header (which contains important cryptographic components) corrupts (e.g., hard drive bit rot), Picocrypt can still recover the header and decrypt your data with a high success rate. Picocrypt can also encode the entire volume with Reed-Solomon to prevent any corruption to your important files.
Still not convinced? See below for even more reasons why Picocrypt stands out from the rest.
Picocrypt is a very simple tool, and most users will intuitively understand how to use it in a few seconds. On a basic level, simply dropping your files, entering a password, and hitting Start is all that's needed to encrypt your files. Pretty simple, right?
While being simple, Picocrypt also strives to be powerful in the hands of knowledgeable and advanced users. Thus, there are some additional options that you may use to suit your needs.
- Password generator: Picocrypt provides a secure password generator that you can use to create cryptographically secure passwords. You can customize the password length, as well as the types of characters to include.
- File metadata: Use this to store notes, information, and text along with the file (it won't be encrypted). For example, you can put a description of the file you're encrypting before sending it to someone. When the person you sent it to drops the file into Picocrypt, your description will be shown to that person.
- Keyfiles: Picocrypt supports the use of keyfiles as an additional form of authentication. Not only can you use multiple keyfiles, but you can also require the correct order of keyfiles to be present, for a successful decryption to occur. A particularly good use case of multiple keyfiles is creating a shared volume, where each person holds a keyfile, and all of them (and their keyfiles) must be present in order to decrypt the shared volume.
- Fast mode: Using this mode will greatly speed up encryption/decryption. In this mode, BLAKE2b will be used to authenticate data instead of SHA3, and Argon2 parameters will be lowered. Doing this provides higher speeds, but at a lower security margin. If all you need to do is encrypt some low-sensitivity files, this option can be a useful and performant choice.
- Paranoid mode: Using this mode will encrypt your data with both XChaCha20 and Serpent in a cascade fashion. This is recommended for protecting top-secret files and provides the highest level of practical security attainable. In order for a hacker to crack your encrypted data, both the XChaCha20 cipher and the Serpent cipher must be broken, assuming you've chosen a good password.
- Prevent corruption using Reed-Solomon: This feature is very useful if you are planning to archive important data on a cloud provider or external medium for a long time. If checked, Picocrypt will use the Reed-Solomon error correction code to add 8 extra bytes for every 128 bytes to prevent file corruption. This means that up to ~3% of your file can corrupt and Picocrypt will still be able to correct the errors and decrypt your files with no corruption. Of course, if your file corrupts very badly (e.g., you dropped your hard drive), Picocrypt won't be able to fully recover your files, but it will try its best to recover what it can. Note that this option will slow down encryption and decryption considerably.
- Keep decrypted output even if it's corrupted or modified: Picocrypt automatically checks for integrity upon decryption. If the file has been modified or is corrupted, Picocrypt will automatically delete the output for the user's safety. If you want to keep the corrupted or modified data after decryption, check this option. Also, if this option is checked and the Reed-Solomon feature was used on the encrypted file, Picocrypt will attempt to recover as much of the file as possible during decryption.
- Split files into chunks: Don't feel like dealing with gargantuan files? No worries! With Picocrypt, you can choose to split your output file into custom-sized chunks, so large files can become more manageable and easier to upload to cloud providers. Simply choose a unit (KiB, MiB, or GiB) and enter your desired number for that unit. To decrypt the chunks, simply drag one of them into Picocrypt, and the chunks will be automatically recombined during decryption.
In addition to these comprehensive options for encryption and decryption, Picocrypt also provides a checksum generator for validating the integrity of sensitive files, which supports numerous hash functions like MD5, BLAKE2, and SHA3.
For more information on how Picocrypt handles cryptography, see Internals for the technical details. If you're worried about the safety of me or this project, let me assure you that this repository won't be hijacked or backdoored. I have 2FA (TOTP) enabled on all accounts with a tie to Picocrypt (GitHub, Google, Reddit, Ubuntu One/Snapcraft, Discord, etc.), in addition to full-disk encryption on all of my portable devices. For further hardening, Picocrypt uses my "offline" forks of dependencies and I fetch upstream only when I have taken a look at the changes and believe that there aren't any security issues. This means that if a dependency gets hacked or deleted by the author, Picocrypt will be using my fork of it and remain completely unaffected. You can feel confident about using Picocrypt.
Here are some places where you can stay up to date with Picocrypt and get involved:
If you find a bug or have a feature request, please contact me or create an Issue. I'm open to collaborators and all sorts of contributions are appreciated. If you find a security issue, please follow the instructions here to report it.
If you are multilingual and you know a language in which Picocrypt hasn't been translated into yet, I would love to have your help translating this page as well as Picocrypt's interface. The more languages, the more welcoming!
If you find Picocrypt useful, please consider tipping my PayPal. I'm providing this software completely free of charge, and would love to have some supporters that will motivate me to continue my work on Picocrypt.
A thank you from the bottom of my heart to the people on Open Collective who have made a significant contribution:
- jp26 ($50)
- Tybbs ($10)
- N. Chin ($10)
- Manjot ($10)
- Phil P. ($10)
Also, a huge thanks to the following list of five people, who were the first to donate and support Picocrypt:
- N. Chin
- Phil P.
- E. Zahard
As well, a great thanks to these people, who have helped translate Picocrypt and make it more accessible to the world:
- @umitseyhan75 for Turkish
- @digitalblossom for German
- @zeeaall for Brazilian Portuguese
- @kurpau for Lithuanian
- u/francirc for Spanish
- yn for Russian
Finally, thanks to these people for helping me out when needed:
- Fuderal on Discord for helping me setup a Discord server
- u/greenreddits for constant feedback and support
- u/Tall_Escape for helping me test Picocrypt
- u/NSABackdoors for doing plenty of testing