SafeMonk for Mac
Using Dropbox to sync files and folders between different devices, or to share project files with others is extremely time efficient. SafeMonk is a Mac application designed to help you secure the transfers by encrypting the data.
Quick to setup status bar menu utility for encrypting data inside the Dropbox folder
To get started, you must first register for a SafeMonk account, free of charge, on the developer’s website: the SafeMonk service is free for non-commercial use. The first time you launch the SafeMonk app you have to provides your account’s credentials and the utility will generate a recovery code that is required in case you forget your password.
SafeMonk automatically generates a virtual volume that is linked to your Dropbox folder: all the files placed in that volume will be immediately encrypted. At the same time, you can also share specific SafeMonk folders with others via Dropbox, and create a secure work environment for your team.
Secure files and folders sharing via Dropbox servers
To keep everything safe, you will have access to the data contained in the SafeMonk volume only if the application is running on your device: the utility is handling the end to end encryption keys.
SafeMonk is using 256bit AES algorithm to encrypt the data, while the directory keys are protected by a private RSA key. At the same time, the connection to the SafeMonk servers is secured by the TLS 1.1 protocol, and is also encrypted by the AES algorithm.
Furthermore, you have the opportunity to lock and unlock the SafeMonk virtual volume within the SafeMonk menubar: this is very important to remember if you share your Mac with others. For your convenience, SafeMonk offers to automatically lock the volume when quitting the app (navigate to the Preferences).
Unpolished and buggy solution for encrypting Dropbox files
SafeMonk has been tested on an 2GHz Intel Core Duo iMac sporting 6GB RAM, and on a Dual 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon Mac Pro with 12GB RAM. In both cases, transferring data to the SafeMonk volume took a long time: 10 minutes for 5 files summing up to 2MB on the first Mac, and 5 minutes for a 5MB file on the latter.
The worse news is that during the transfer both Macs have been rendered unusable: even if there was no indication of CPU or RAM resources being used, the Finder and other applications running on the system were rendered unresponsive. The issues stopped upon ejecting the SafeMonk virtual volume and closing the app.
Taking all this into account, we are obliged to conclude that, unfortunately, the SafeMonk app is not suitable for day to day use, and will lead to extremely frustrating situations.