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Encrypt USB Flash Drive For Both Mac and Window

This article explains how to encrypt data which can be decrypted on both a Mac and Windows computer.

Microsoft Windows accounts for almost 80% of the desktop computers with Apple OS coming in second place at about 18% market share (as of Q3, 2021) and with that in mind, it is very common for users to want encrypted data to be shared on both Mac and Windows computers. For example, the work place uses Microsoft Windows and the employee uses a Mac computer at home. To share encrypted data between these two operating systems is not straight forward. There is no installed solution from either Microsoft or Apple which provides a cross-platform encryption and decryption solution.

Two solutions are available for those who want to decrypt files for both a Microsoft Windows computer and an Apple Mac computer.

One solution is the individual user purchasing software which encrypts and decrypts software for both Mac and Windows computers.

The other solution is buying a physical drive which supports decryption on either operating system.

The second solution is more well suited for a business. This is true because the burden of purchasing software is not put on the employee or individual.

This article explains how to encrypt data which can be decrypted on both a Mac and Windows computer by using a specific USB flash drive.

The only known solution that has the following three characteristics in a product by Nexcopy. This is a company which provides feature rich USB duplicator solutions, but also provides advanced functions to flash drive, such as cross-platform encryption.

This is how the Nexcopy USB flash drive encryption solution works:

  • PC based software is used to encrypt the data
  • Included with the encrypted data are two software utilities loaded onto the flash drive
  • The utilities run from the flash drive and decrypt the data when the correct password is entered
  • The applications do not require installation, they run directly from the flash drive
  • The PCViewer.exe is the Windows based utility – no admin rights required
  • The MacViewer.app is the mac based utility – no admin rights required
  • By launching the correct utility and entering correct password the files will be decrypted and displayed on the associated operating system

Please keep in mind there is a difference between the term “encryption” and the term “copy protection.” There is a difference.

Encryption is the process of encoding information. This process converts the original representation of the information, for example plaintext, into an alternative form known as ciphertext. The ciphertext can only be reorganized and pieced back together from the authorized party who knows how the decipher the ciphertext back into plaintext. The important point to understand is that once the decipher has taken place, the user can do anything they want with the plaintext. The user can copy, duplicate, share, stream and screen capture that content.

Copy protection includes the process of encoding; however, has an additional layer of security whereby the user cannot do anything in addition to the content, such as copy, duplicate, share, stream and screen capture. Said another way, the files can only be viewed, but nothing else.

Encryption is a valuable technology where the content owner trusts the person with the password; however, needs security in case the USB flash drive was dropped, stolen or misplaced. Using encryption to protect the content means unauthorized users cannot access the information.

Copy protection is a valuable technology to protect the content, yet at the same time, allow many users to see the content. For example, a teacher might have valuable lessons they want all the students to see; however, they don’t want lessons to be saved or shared with other classes. This would be a good application for copy protection.

The manufacturer provides USB duplicator solutions for mass production of USB encrypted flash drives. Nexcopy also provides large scale USB duplicator solutions for copy protected flash drives. So depending on the specific needs of the individual or company, there is a solution for those who need encryption for both Windows and Mac computers.

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