Keeping your data safe from prying eyes is a necessity these days, whether it's to stop hackers or others closer to home who have direct access to your PC or notebook. Steganos Safe 8.0 is the latest in a long line of data-protection utilities that aim to provide your sensitive files with protection that cannot be easily cracked.
Steganos has brought out some decent packages in the past (see October 03 issue), and Safe 8.0 lives up to the high standards of its predecessors, but remains simple enough for a novice to use.
Safe allows you to protect your data in several ways. It will enable you to create a secure area on your hard drive or on removable media such as a USB key. It will also allow you to shred old files. There are additional features that only a handful of users will feel the benefits of, such as the ability to open the data 'safes' on your PC with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. But the real selling point is the fact that it uses 256bit AES (advanced encryption standard) security. This is an improvement on the 128bit encryption used by previous versions.
Creating 'safes' on your hard drive is a simple process - a matter of a few clicks - and encrypted data can be burnt to CD or DVD. Shredding old files to the point that they are unrecoverable is just as easy. The interface employed by Safe is uncluttered, and performing the various functions such as accessing and locking the secure areas can be done using an icon in the system tray.
Simple to use and inexpensive, Steganos Safe 8.0 does exactly what it is supposed to do, and does it well to boot. A worthy winner of a Gold award, this is the sort of protection that you can't afford to be without if you have data you need to keep private. J Ben Camm-Jones