DropKey from WellRedApps allows anyone to send encrypted files using industry-standard 256-bit encryption to the recipient of their choice. Only the designated recipient can open the file because the sender has supplied a Dropkey code that allows them to open it. The app requires OS 10.7 and can be purchased in the App Store for US$9.99.
Using the product
Once you download DropKey two things happen. The DropKey icon appears in your tool bar and your public DropKey code is added to your personal card in Address Book. That is the code that recipients will have to have to receive and open your encrypted documents.
Recipients also have to have DropKey, however your recipient can install a trial version of DropKey to be able to open the files. Once the 30-day trial expires, it will still be able to decrypt files.
To get the most from the app users should set preferences to meet their personal needs. To get to the preference pane click on the cogwheel in the bottom right corner of the window.
DropKey window displaying cogwheel
From the cogwheel options select Preferences which then takes you to the Preferences pane.
Preferences allow you to encrypt and send or just encrypt, and automatically save an encrypted copy for yourself. People who don’t use Mail as their email program can select encrypt and save their documents to their desktop and then attach it to their email program of choice. More on two-factor authentication later.
Encrypting and sending files is a very simple process. Drag your document (or first document as you can send as many as your email app can handle) over the DropKey icon in your menu bar. The DropKey window will open up, showing the document in place. You can add additional documents using drag and drop or add the email address(s) of recipients. Then click the Encrypt and Send button.
Encrypted document ready to send
At some point in the process, either before you send your first encrypted file to a person or immediately after, you need to send a second email to that person, giving them your public encryption code. To do so, just click the arrow in the bottom left of the window and select Email my public key.
Email public key
DropKey will select your “Me” v-card from your address book and send it to the recipient. You only have to do this step once for each person with whom you wish to trade encrypted files.
Now, about that two-factor authentication. In the same menu that you use to email your public key, there is an option to display verification phrases. There is a second level of authentication built into DropKey. As part of your registration, you are given a set of four regular dictionary words. When you trade encryption keys with another person, their four words are added to your DropKey file. You always have the option of asking for verification of those words to make sure you are sending to the correct person before you actually send.
List of vertification phrases for all your DropKey contacts
That’s all there is to it. Small businesses, organizations, or individuals now have the luxury of sending and receiving encrypted files for a very small cost and with a very easy to use app.
Do I recommend it?
I do. I think it is a boon to small businesses with representatives on the road, people negotiating contracts, or people involved in R&D. And the price is outstanding. I like that it works with any document, no matter the software, and that it works with any email application.