Challenger is a desktop or portable encryption technology that works equally well when installed on a notebook, desktop, CD, DVD, micro SD card or USB flash drive. In the case of the portable installation, the software stays on the portable storage so that it does not need a companion desktop installation in order to keep protecting the files or to decrypt them.
The encryption method used on the secured files is unlike other options. Here a synchronous stream cipher is used along with a secret passphrase which activates a complex system of random numbers via a weighting system. As a result, even known workarounds for commonly used encryption methodologies would not work to decrypt files encrypted used in this manner.
Files on the main computer and any portable storage where Challenger is installed can all be encrypted and protected. This helps to ensure that all files can stay locked down in case either the desktop or laptop or USB flash drive were stolen, especially during travel when the owner may have all of them near them during a business trip.
The software is also useful with cloud services like OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive. An increasingly worrying sign with cloud file storage is that whilst they are encrypted by the cloud provider, a court order in the USA can compel the provider to decrypt the content and make it available to the US government. By privately encrypting files before syncing them to the cloud, this removes this option (the cloud provider's encryption could still be force removed, but Challenger's encryption could not be without the passphase).
The installation file is a single executable without any instructions or other files included. Once opened, the user is presented with the choice of installing to a hard disc or to a USB flash drive (which can also be a CD, DVD or memory card). The test installation completed fine without any issues.
There was no adware, toolbar, spyware or other malicious software included with this executable file.
Challenger requires Windows OS.
Initially, the user has to enter the start password to access the application fully. This is shown on the splash page. This master phrase password needs to be memorized.
There are two master phrases and six possible pass phrases that the user can create.
A basic menu system sits at the top. There are navigation action buttons on the right side for Activate Phrase, Manage Phrases, Encrypt/Decrypt file, Folder or Drive, and Favorites.
On the left side is information about which pass phrase is in operation presently (if any), if a default PAD is in operation currently (which is a secondary way to secure information with Challenger), and with a space for dragging and dropping files or folders directly over to the application for encryption.
A user can select the encryption password to use and a collection of files or folders to encrypt (or decrypt) but it does all feel a bit cumbersome to use. Possible something to do only occasionally for backup purposes but not a comfortable fit to use daily.
- Encrypt folders and files or whole drives
- Encrypt 128-bit in freeware, 256-bit in premium version
- Multiple pass phrase options so different folders can be secured using different passwords
- Powerful key protection technology used
- Basic, poor interface that feel uncomfortable to use.
- Freeware version restricted to 128-bit encryption
CrocoCrypt is new but actually looks pretty good and provides 256-bit encryption plus mirroring technologies to keep an original folder non-encrypted and a backup folder encrypted. Perfect for more secure cloud storage.
Challenger is a useful file, folder and drive encryption package which offers 128-bit encryption in the freeware version, but comes with a slow, cumbersome interface to work with.
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