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What is SafeGDocs?

SafeGDocs is an add-on for the Firefox browser that offers an additional security layer to Google Docs office suite. For this purpose, SafeGDocs intercepts the documents content, compressing and encrypting it, so all the information stored in Google servers is safe.

The main target of this add-on is to provide security without third parties dependency: the information required to encrypt and decrypt documents is managed by each user through his master password, and the metadata needed to recover the documents is kept encrypted in his Google Docs account. In this way, full privacy is guaranteed and anyone, neither ourselves, Google or any other who intercepts the communication, will be able to access the real documents content.

SafeGDocs is seamlessly integrated with Google Drive. The document edition is still performed through the usual Google Docs interface, although SafeGDocs adds some minor changes that allow to easily identify and manage the encrypted documents.

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Enabling SafeGDocs

After installing SafeGDocs it will appear a new grey lock icon on the Navigation bar of Firefox. This lock is used to enable and disable SafeGDocs. In case that this bar is not visible by default it can be enabled through the Firefox Menu Bar, in the option View > Toolbars > Navigation Bar.

Encrypting text documents requires to be logged in Google Drive previously. When this step is completed, SafeGDocs can be enabled by clicking with the left mouse button on the grey lock icon of the Navigation Bar. In that moment, a new pupup will appear requesting the master password.

The master password is used to enable SafeGDocs and as the default password to encrypt and decrypt documents. Its value is set the first time SafeGDocs is enabled, introducing its value through this field.

After introducing this value in the popup window, you must press OK to start the enabling process of SafeGDocs. When this ends, the lock icon of the Navigation bar will turn yellow, showing that SafeGDocs is enabled. In addition, the main page of Google Drive will reload to highlight the previously encrypted documents, if any.

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How to encrypt a document?

To create a new encrypted text document the same steps are followed as when creating a simple text document: go to your Documents List in the Google Drive main page, click the CREATE button and select Document. Doing so will open a new tab with the new document and the Google Docs edit interface.

SafeGDocs cancels all the information sent when editing a document, to prevent that the information in clear reaches Google servers. Therefore, to save the contents of a document when using SafeGDocs it is necessary to press the Save button of the Navigation Bar. In that moment, it will encrypt the entire content of the document and it will be sent safely to Google.

IMPORTANT: It must be taken into account that, as there is no data sent to the servers until the Save button is pressed, if the tab with the current document is closed without pressing it, the changes of the current document will be lost.

To minimize this problem there is the possibility to autosave periodically the content of the documents. This option can be enabled through the context menu of SafeGDocs, clicking with the right mouse button on the same lock used to activate the extension. This will allow accessing a submenu to enable/disable the autosave of encrypted documents and set the autosave frequency.

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Suppported algorithms

SafeGDocs supports a wide range of algorithms and encryption options, allowing users to choose which one is the best option to encrypt their documents according to their particular needs (a stronger level of security, a higher encryption speed, etc.). The default SafeGDocs encryption option is the simmetric algorithm AES with a 128 bits key size.

Name Block size Key size Security Speed
AES Advanced Encryption Standard 128 bits 128, 192, 256 bits High Fast
Triple DES Triple Data Encryption Standard 64 bits 56-128 bits Medium Very slow
Blowfish Blowfish 64 bits 32-448 bits Medium Fast
RC4 Rivest Cipher 4 64 bits 8-2048 bits Low Very fast
TEA Tiny Encryption Algorithm 64 bits 128 bits Low Fast
xxTEA Corrected Block TEA Arbitrary > 64 bits 128 bits Medium Fast

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Further information

Please visit the frequently asked questions section (FAQs) or download the user's guide (PDF) to learn more about SafeGDocs installation and use.

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