If you need to create a backup of your confidential files and want to prevent anyone from ever gaining access to the data, then you can easily create a password protected archive using encryption. There are a number of free apps available on the web that allow you to create archives using military strength encryption techniques. Bitser is one such free app that allows you to quickly create encrypted backups using the latest advanced encryption standard - AES-256. To create a backup simply download and install Bitser and then follow the 2 minute tutorial video below to see how its done. The backup file can be in either zip or 7zip format which means it can be later opened by any archive software that supports AES-256 encryption.
Once created, the encrypted backup file cannot be opened by anyone unless the password is known. You can leave the archive file on any CD or hard-disk, safe in the knowledge that even if the file ends up in the wrong hands it cannot be opened. One of the benefits of this is that you can take advantage of the many external storage options to keep a second copy of your critical files. It might be your ISP's ftp server, a friends pc, your work pc, or one of the many online storage sites. In the event that your home pc's hard drive dies or becomes corrupted you will at least have a backup copy of your most confidential files offsite. Bare in mind that to ensure your backup cannot be cracked you must use a strong password. Passwords should have a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, digits and symbols and be a minimum of 8 characters in length to provide secure and strong encryption. (Ref: Password strength)
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