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PeaZip is a free cross-platform file encryption software / archiver that provides an unified portable GUI for many Open Source technologies like 7-Zip, FreeArc, PAQ, UPX... free alternative to WinRar, WinZip and similar proprietary software.
- Create 7Z, ARC, BZ2, GZ, *PAQ, PEA, QUAD/BALZ, TAR, UPX, WIM, XZ, ZIP files
- Open and extract ACE, ARJ, CAB, DMG, ISO, LHA, RAR, UDF, ZIPX files and more,
over 180 archive types supported
Features of PeaZip includes: 
create encrypted (password protected) archives applying AES, Twofish, Serpent cyphers, batch creation and extraction of archives, convert files, create sfx archives, split and join files, strong encryption with two factor authentication, encrypted password manager, secure deletion, hash / checksum files, export job definition as script.

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Free encryption software, encrypt 7Z ARC PEA ZIP files

free file encryption software

PeaZip is a free file archiver especially focused on security, which supports reading and writing (encryption and decryption) of many strong encryption standards, optionally using two factor authentication (password and keyfile) for increased security against means like social engineering or dictionary based attacks (that can considerably reduce the effort of brute-forcing a textual password or passphrase).

how to encrypt 7Z ARC PEA ZIP files

Use of end-to-end cryptography, in which sender and recipient are in charge of encrypting and decrypting the encoded data, is strongly recommended each time sensitive data is sent to (or through) external servers, even if the service is advertised implementing cryptography measures.
In example, creating encrypted mail attachments (and to encrypt uploads to cloud services) preserve data secrecy against any unauthorized access to user's private information and data even in case the service is compromised, either by successful attack, insider breach, or plain change of policies granting access to unwanted subjects: to open and extract the encrypted file will always require the encryption password to be known.

Cryptographic protocols supported by PeaZip free encryption utility for writing (creating password protected archives) are:

  • 7Z
    • 7-Zip / p7zip AES256-based encryption

  • ZIP
    • WinZip AE (Advanced Encryption), AES256-based

    • ZipCrypto, for legacy compatibility purpose only as the algorithm is considered weak under today's standards, not recommended to protect sensitive data
  • ARC
    • FreeARC ARC format implementing encryption scheme that supports AES256, AES contest finalists Twofish256 and Serpent256 algorithms, and classic Blowfish algorithm
  • PEA
    • PeaZip's native .pea file format, supporting AES, Serpent and Twofish (128 and 256 bit) EAX-mode authenticated encryption, enforcing cryptographically strong data secrecy and verifiable autenticity
PeaZip free encryption utility supports (read-only) decryption of ACE, ZIPX, and RAR archives.

Read more about data encryption: NIST Information Technology Portalnist cryptography, Wikipedia entry for encryptioncryptography wiki, view description of Advanced Encryption Standard finalists: Rijndael/AESwikipedia aes128, Twofishtwofish cipher, and SerpentSerpent cipher ciphers.

How to create encrypted 7Z ARC PEA ZIP archives

To password protect files within archives, chose an archive type supporting encryption, as ZIP, 7Z, ARC, and PEA, add files to the archive being created as explained in the FAQ page, then click on the padlock icon to set a password and optionally a keyfile for the archive - the icon is in the status bar in the file/archive browser, and under the output file name in the archive creation interface.

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zip files encryption utility

Please note the password will be applied to the objects that will be added to the archive in the current operation - 7Z, ARC, ZIP, and ZIPX archives support file level encryption (supports mutiple encryption passwords), so each file in an archive could have, if desired by the archive creator, a different password - so applying a password to an existing archive will not affect it (will not apply password protection to already archived files).
To password-protect an already existing archive you need to extract and rebuild it, applying the desired password - archive conversion interface can help automating the task.

how to use file encryption utility

PeaZip provides an integrated utility to create random keyfiles and passwords sampling entropy from the system and from user's interaction, Crtl+F9 or main applications' menu Tools > Create random password / keyfile

protect files with encryption password

PeaZip's password manager is available from main menu, Tools > Password manager.
The password list file is saved in private user's path, allowing each user to maintain a personal password manager containing different passwords or passphrases not accessible to other standard users of the same system.
Optionally, the user can decide to encrypt the password list with a master password, making the passwor manager private even to administrative accounts of the same machine, being the data file unreadable until the correct password is provided.

how to create encrypted zip files

Some archive types, like 7Z and ARC, support encrypting files names of items added to the archive: in this case it will not even be possible to see the list of archive's content, file and directory names (in case the very names expose sensitive information), without knowing the password. This option is available in Password dialog - PEA format will always encrypt name of files inside an encrypted archive.
PeaZip free encryption software supports optional two factor authentication for any write-supported archive format (7Z, ARC, PEA, ZIP) using both a password (the element you know) and a keyfile (the element you have) to encrypt the content - it only needs to enter a keyfile in password dialog when creating the archive.
If a keyfile is set for any other format than PEA (which has its own way to use keyfile) the SHA256 hash of the file encoded in Base64 (RFC 4648) is prepended to the password used to build the archive, using standard archive format encryption mechanism.
This simple password / keyfile combination scheme allows to retain read compatibility with any other file archiver, even ones not supporting keyfile parsing (or with different two factor authentication implementation), simply passing the Base64-encoded SHA256 hash of the keyfile as the first part of the password.

set file encryption

KNOWN LIMITATION: two factor authentication is not available for self-extracting archives (which can be built with 7Z or ARC compression), because usage of keyfile is not supported by available SFX modules - otherwise resulting executables would be unable to exctract themselves. When a self-extracting archive is created, only the password (if provided) will be used for encrypting it, and only the password will be needed to extract & decrypt it.
In "Advanced" tab of archive creation interface users can chose encryption method to apply to the archive: by default the recommended method will be displayed.

For increased security, PeaZip file manager supports secure file deletion to erase tracks of unwanted data.

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FAQ > Security > How to encrypt archive files, use free encryption software, apply AES, Twofish, Serpent algorithms

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