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What is CipherApps?

CipherApps is an invisible security solution for the cloud that preserves real-time collaboration. The CipherApps Enterprise solution provides a hosted encryption solution that encrypts all data prior to it being stored on the cloud service providers network using the industry standard AES-256 encryption algorithm.

The AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) was established by U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2001 and is deployed by the U.S. Government and organizations globally.

How does CipherApps work?

Simply put, CipherApps uses a unique encryption key to scramble the contents of every document that you edit. Each document created by each user has its own encryption key that is randomly generated and cannot be duplicated, whether by accident or by design.

Do I need to install anything?

No. CipherApps is entirely web-based and does not require the installation of any software on your computer such as a client program or a browser extension.

How and where are my encrypted documents now stored?

All of your documents are still stored “in the cloud” on the Google Drive servers. Encrypted documents are stored in scrambled form and are unreadable without their CipherApps encryption keys.

Warning: Logging in to Google Drive without first logging in to CipherApps will allow you to view your encrypted documents in scrambled form, as they are stored on the server. Any changes you make to your document directly through Google Drive will not be encrypted.

What is your privacy policy?

No one can see your personal information – not even us.

We do not sell your personal information to advertisers or anyone else, and we do not use your information. Our service is exclusively for your private use. No one will have access to your personal information or documents.

Our strict privacy policy dictates that we encrypt all of your information. We encrypt it during transmission using secure socket layer technology (SSL), and we encrypt it in our databases, and on the cloud service providers servers using industry standard the AES 256-bit encryption algorithm.

This means that your document encryption keys are completely encrypted and cannot be seen by anyone at rest.

The system has a master key stored on a separate secure server (secure vault) which is used to protect document keys. In everyday use this key is only accessed by the system to decrypt document keys for use. It is never revealed or stored in plaintext in any form.

Our model is to have multiple master keys, one for each of our customer sites. The customer will have legal ownership of this key.

Our threat model is to protect all data that is persisted on disk – thus all our keys are encrypted at rest and can only be revealed in plaintext by a user or (CipherApps) administrator action using passwords as secrets. We do not protect against an active attack on the memory space of our application or runtime exploits or side-channel attacks.

You are our paying customer, so our loyalty is exclusively to you and no one else.

The CipherApps team have worked in the area of network security and cryptography for the past two decades. Our dedicated team of privacy enthusiasts and cryptographers, have designed this product the way we would want it designed for us. You can communicate with us directly about this privacy statement by sending an email to

Does CipherApps store my password or data?

Our internal security has been designed such that no one in CipherApps can view your passwords or sensitive data. We’ve taken every step we can think of to ensure your security and privacy.

YOUR PASSWORD IS IMPORTANT – Do not use the same password for multiple sites. Keep your password secret. Memorise it. Do not write it down. Change it regularly. Do not worry about forgetting it can easily be reset by you.

Does CipherApps have access to my document encryption keys?

No. All of your encryption keys are stored in your personal keychain. This is a secure data store protected by your CipherApps master password, which only you know.

How does CipherApps encryption differ from SSL encryption?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client — typically a web server (website) and a browser; or a mail server and a mail client (e.g., Gmail). SSL allows sensitive information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and login credentials to be transmitted securely.

CipherApps on the other hand encrypts your data-at-rest such that the cloud service provider or any other organisation is not able to view it.

How does CipherApps encryption differ from solutions offered by other vendors?

Some encryption providers do not provide end-to-end encryption. Instead they provide “tokenization” of the user data i.e. they replace selective fields (e.g. credit card number) with a random piece of text (token) and store the credit card number on their own database. When the document needs to be decrypted they do a database lookup and replace the token with the corresponding user data from their database.

This approach can lead to scalability problems as the database grows with the number of pieces of data that the customer wishes to encrypt, and there is an overhead associated with the database lookup.

Does CipherApps work for Sheets and Slides?

Not yet. CipherApps currently works only for Docs. Support for Sheets and Slides will be coming shortly.

Support for Google Drive is on the way as well. This will allow you to drag and drop non-native files (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) files into your web browser and they will be instantly encrypted before being stored on the Cloud.

How do I sign up for a CipherApps account?

Please click here and follow the process outlined there.

Can I still access my documents from another computer?

Yes. CipherApps does not impose any limits on your use of Google Drive. You can still access your account and all your documents from any computer with unrestricted Internet access.

Can I share encrypted documents with other Google Drive users?

Yes. However in order for them to view the documents in plaintext they will have to register for the CipherApps service.

Can I access my documents from a mobile device?

It is possible to access Google Drive through CipherApps from some smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, using their “standard web browsers”, although this is not explicitly supported by CipherApps. Using a mobile data connection, you may notice higher data usage than when accessing Google Drive directly. At present, CipherApps does not support the Google Drive app.

What is a reverse proxy?

A reverse proxy server forms a transparent “bridge” between an application server, such as Google Drive servers, and the client (user) accessing it. All traffic between the client and the application server passes through the reverse proxy. From the user’s perspective, the functionality of the application is not affected.

CipherApps uses a reverse proxy server to encrypt and decrypt the text of documents that you edit using Google Drive. As you edit a document, the text that you enter is encrypted by CipherApps on its way through the reverse proxy server. Conversely, when Google Drive displays the contents of your documents to you, they are decrypted again as they pass back through the CipherApps proxy.

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