- What do I need to use SafeGDocs?
- Do I need to enter my Google account password to use SafeGDocs?
- What passwords are necessary?
- Where are my passwords stored?
- What browsers are compatible with SafeGDocs?
- Does SafeGDocs support styles in the documents?
- Does SafeGDocs support images?
- Does SafeGDocs support sharing encrypted documents?
- How do I share an encrypted document?
What do I need to use SafeGDocs?
Using SafeGDocs previously requires to have installed the Firefox web browser. SafeGDocs is compatible with all the versions of Firefox from 3.5 to the current version (26.0), although we recommend using the latest version available of the browser.
In addition, you must have a valid email address to access Google Drive (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Do I need to enter my Google account password to use SafeGDocs?
No. SafeGDocs current version does not need any personal data to access the documents. It is not necessary to introduce any email address or the Google account password to enable SafeGDocs, but only the user master password.
This is posible by means of the OAuth 2.0 protocol, which allows external applications like SafeGDocs to access users documents list and manage their documents (for example, to encrypt them), as long as the necessary permissions have been granted.
What passwords are necessary?
SafeGDocs basically needs one password: the master password. This value is set the first time the add-on is activated and it is used for two purposes:
- SafeGDocs activation password: it offers a second level of security to access the encrypted documents in Google Docs, in addition to the Google Drive account password. Without the master password it is not possible to access the encrypted documents content.
- Default password to encrypt and decrypt documents.
Additionally, each document can have its own encryption password. The master password is used by default to encrypt all the documents, but also each document can have an individual password, adding a third level of security to the account.
If you use the master password to encrypt documents, you will not be prompted for any additional passwords when you open the encrypted documents. However, if you set a different password for a document, SafeGDocs will request it when you open it, and its content will only be displayed if the inserted value is the correct document password.
Where are my passwords stored?
The first time you enable SafeGDocs a hidden document called SafeGDocs.doc is created in Google Drive. This document is compressed and encrypted with the highest level of security available (AES with 256 bits) and it contents all the information necessary to encrypt documents and recover their content.
With our design there is no information stored on the local computer, so it is still possible to encrypt and decrypt documents if the computer is changed, just installing again SafeGDocs. Also passwords are not sent neither to us or anyone else, there are protected in each Google Drive user own account.
IMPORTANT: as the file SafeGDocs.doc is encrypted and it contains sensitive information related to the passwords of the protected documents, it should not be manually modified or deleted. If this happened, the encrypted documents content would be unrecoverable, since SafeGDocs.doc file would not be correctly decrypted any more.
What browsers are compatible with SafeGDocs?
Currently SafeGDocs is only available for the Firefox browser. However, we expect to extend our development to offer support for other browsers, i.e. Google Chrome.
Does SafeGDocs support styles in the documents?
Yes, SafeGDocs supports styles in text documents and it also encrypts and protects this information along with the content of the documents, unlike other existing solutions. This can be checked by opening an encrypted document that contains styles with SafeGDocs disabled: the result will be a set of encrypted characters with no information about the document content or its structure.
However, certain styles are not fully compatible with the current version of SafeGDocs:
- Page number and page count.
Numbered and bulleted lists are a particular case of the styles: although there are supported in encrypted documents, only the point (·) is visualized when an encrypted document is opened, independently on which bullet was used before.
We expect to release soon a new version of SafeGDocs supporting these features. However, we strongly recommend not using these styles in encrypted documents in the meantime, to avoid compatibility issues and prevent information loss in the documents.
Does SafeGDocs support images?
Yes. The current version of SafeGDocs does support images in encrypted documents, although the images are not encrypted. We are expecting to release soon a new version of SafeGDocs that also encrypts images within documents.
Does SafeGDocs support sharing encrypted documents?
Yes, SafeGDocs supports the option of sharing encrypted documents with other users, although there cannot be simultaneously edited. However, we expect to release soon a new version of SafeGDocs supporting real time collaboration in encrypted documents.
How do I share an encrypted document?
Sharing an encrypted document is a very similar process to sharing any other files in Google Drive: selecting a document and pressing the "Share" button. In that moment, SafeGDocs will detect that the encrypted document is being shared, so a transparent process will be launched to share with the rest of the users the information necessary to decrypt and edit the document.
The only additional step for the owner of the encrypted document is to establish a shared password and communicate it to the users that will have access to the document.
When another user acceses an encrypted shared document, the document's owner shared password will be requested. If the user enters the correct value, he will be granted with access to the shared document.