Interview with Jonathan Pettersson – AxCrypt
AxCrypt is software that allows you to easily encrypt files and folders. This is essential when you share your computer with multiple users and want to maintain your privacy. Jonathan Pettersson, AxCryp’s CTO, shared some important insights about the company – you can find the full interview below.
Private Internet Access: Please describe the history of the company: what sparked the idea and how has it evolved so far?
Jonathan Petterson: AxCrypt was first created as an open source project in the early 2000s to fill the void of simple but reliable encryption solutions at the time. Over the years it became very popular, but it was still a hobby project that was worked on as time allowed. In 2015, it was decided that it was time for AxCrypt to take the next step. A company was therefore founded around it and a development process began to bring AxCrypt to more platforms, adding SaaS functionality and a subscription business model to allow for continued development. Today, AxCrypt exists on Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android and has a full development team working on new features every day.
PIA: What is AxCrypt’s mission?
JP: We want to make cutting-edge encryption accessible to everyone. It should be simple to understand, easy to use, and require no knowledge other than a desire to protect your files.
PIA: What services do you offer?
JP: Not only does AxCrypt offer the most secure open-source standards-based encryption available, in an easy-to-use package. AxCrypt’s encryption allows easy access to files with colleagues, friends and family, without having to share passwords. Just enter the email address of the user you want to share with, and we’ll take care of the rest. We also have a suite of commercial options, with things like Master Key (file recovery for administrators) and easy user management.
PIA: Why is encryption important?
JP: If you have any form of sensitive information, there will be threats associated with it, and encryption is an important step to take to protect it. But not only the encryption is important, but also the type of encryption you choose to use. We believe open source is the way to go. This way, the code is there for everyone to read, and if there are any issues, they will be quickly discovered. We also think putting all your eggs in one basket is a bad way to stay safe. For example, trusting the encryption of major cloud storage providers may work for some, but separating storage, sharing, and encryption will reduce your risk. If you use AxCrypt to encrypt your files and Google Drive to store them, it doesn’t matter if an attack on Google Drive compromises your files. All the attackers get is a bunch of binary gibberish, and no matter how deep the breach, there are no keys or passwords to be found there.
PIA: Why do individuals and businesses need a good VPN?
JP: In many ways, the benefits of a VPN are the same as for file encryption, so the arguments made in the last question also apply to VPNs. You can trust the sites you visit and trust that your information is secure. Either you separate your baskets by securing your traffic with a VPN, without even giving the sites you visit the possibility of sharing, for example, your IP number, because it is information that they no longer have.
PIA: What are the worst cyber threats today?
JP: To get a bit philosophical, the biggest threat out there is sensitive information falling into the hands of malicious parties. How or why this happens is irrelevant after the fact. Since it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell exactly how an attack will be carried out, it is imperative to protect all your sensitive information in all states and locations. For example, choosing a strong password to log into your computer doesn’t help if you forget to lock it. Likewise, using SSL doesn’t help if the sites you visit are selling your information. Instead, choose a strong password AND encrypt your files on your computer. Or use only trusted sites, but also use a good VPN so you don’t even allow your information to be leaked.