Encryption options like PGP are great, but the labyrinth of keys and passwords that look like a master's thesis written in gibberish can be overwhelming. For simple exchanges, there's now an easier way. A Chrome browser extension called Minilock is offering a simple encryption option for people who want to make sure the files they send are safe.

Minilock is as straightforward as opening your high school locker. After you install it for Chrome, you'll get a 44-character user ID and make a password. It won't let you use a shitty password. Since it's supposed to be as easy as possible, the IDs are short enough to send to a friend in a tweet. To share, you drop the file into the Minilock software and enter your friends' ID. Boom. Encrypted. They can now open it from their end. While you can only share one file at a time, you can send it to multiple friends.

Creator Nadim Kobeissi told The Verge he chose Chrome because it's "one of the most secure ecosystems out there." His system is built on peer-reviewed, simple code. There are planned updates, like a contacts list, but this is meant to be an accessible tool above all, so there's no major embellishment on the horizon.


Minilock isn't comprehensive, but it's easy as hell to use, and it's a good option to send files back and forth with someone who doesn't normally use encryption since it's way easier to explain than its alternatives. It doesn't obscure your transfer history or let you chat to your recipients, so if you want to completely hide your transactions or have an encrypted chat client, this isn't what you need, but if you just want to throw a digital padlock on a photo of your butt meant for your girlfriend's eyes only, Minilock sounds like a convenient, free tool. [The Verge]

Images via Minilock