A closer look at Knox for Mac

Knox (v. 2.0.5) is a Mac application that will allow you to create password-protected and encrypted vaults on your computer or to turn an external drive into one in order to securely move data from one Mac to another.

Knox uses the Mac OS X encrypted disk images feature, the technology behind FileVault, to protect the data. This means that your vaults are encrypted by the U.S. Government’s new Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 256-bit or 128-bit key length.

This is a very simple piece of software. Upon downloading it, start it and you will be immediately be faced with the option to create a vault:

Choose the name of the vault, the password that will restrict access to it, select a vault type, location, size, encryption type and whether the contents of the vault will be searchable through Spotlight.

So, here is the created vault, and it is automatically “open”:

Treat the vault as you would a folder. Drag and drop files into it – just don’t forget to delete them at their original location if you want the vault to serve its purpose.

Right-click-Eject the vault if you want to make it unaccessible, select it from the Knox menu on the Menu bar or in the Dock to access it again, and enter the correct password:

You can also choose to reformat an external drive as an encrypted vault :

You can use this option to encrypt data you need to securely transfer from one Mac computer to another, without having to install Knox on the other computer. Just insert the drive and insert the password when prompted to do so, and the data can be accessed.

To backup the vault(s), go to the Preference pane and select the Backups tab:

Select the backup location (local or network disk, iPod, external drive..), schedule or execute manually the backups, and choose storage options, then click on the Backup Vaults button, then – when another window opens – press the Start Backup button.

The time needed to backup the vault will, of course, depend on its size. It took some 10 seconds to backup a 286 MB vault on my external backup drive. Also, you need to know that the vault doesn’t have to be “closed” to be backed up, but you must close all the open documents and applications that are stored inside of it.

These backed-up copies of the vault are opened by the same password the “original” one uses, and can be, of course, be restored via Knox. They will be identified by the original name of the vault – followed by the date and exact time when the backup was executed. These backed-up versions and the “original” one can coexist on the same computer and continue to share the same password.

The Preferences pane offers a variety of options:

Knox is an extremely uncomplicated piece of software, but very effective – so why not take advantage of that fact?

You can download it here.

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