VIPole is a Windows, Linux, Mac and Android security suite providing encrypted file sharing, VoIP, video chat, notes, passwords and organizer. Installation is straight forward and it only requires you to provide a valid email address where you will receive a verification link, select the local folder where data should be stored and move your mouse around to generate entropy to create your private encryption key. You will have to cook up two passphrases, one to encrypt your data and another to encrypt your profile, the software makes sure that you do not reuse them but there is no strength meter. A virtual keyboard can be used to stop keyloggers.
To be able to encrypt files in your hard drive you will have to temporarily disable your antivirus and install some drivers, I also had to disable the antivirus to update VIPole software client, I am using AVG, most modern antivirus programs will allow you to disable it for only a few minutes, this should not be a big problem as long as you trust VIPole not to do anything unacceptable to your computer.
Encryption keys are managed exclusevly by the user, VIPole has no way to decrypt your data, calls and chats are end to end encryption with AES256/RSA 4096 bit keys and no central server that could be wire tapped, the company pledges that there is no backdoor. You can see an “History” tab in the program, chats logs can be accessed there but the data is only held in your computer and nowhere else, even then, that data is encrypted (premium version) when you close VIPole, losing the laptop will not reveal private logs without the proper password.
Another nice feature is being able to set up a fake passphrase in case you are forced to disclosure it. Helpful in countries like the United Kingdom where you must reveal your password to the police when requested or risk criminal prosecution, but giving to the police a password to a fake encrypted container would also break the law if they find out, so not really recommended. I just could not see any other applicability other than bypassing airport staff opening up your laptop.
I was really impressed with VIPole easy of use interface, the well organized tabs make it painless switching in between functions and information is clearly displayed in a nice clean layout with avatars that help you identify the caller and shift from the chat to notes or file manager window in no time.
The only thing that made me feel unease about VIPole, besides not being open source, is that although calls do not go through their servers, passwords, notes, reminders and files are kept in VIPole servers,the reason for this is to be able to sync the data with your mobile device. It would have been valuable to have the choice not to sync data and keep everything local for those paranoid about cloud security. The good news are that it is impossible for server administrators or anybody breaking into VIPole facilities, to have access to the data in plain text, everything is encrypted with your private encryption key before leaving your device, this means that VIPole can not be compelled to produce a copy of your data even if they wanted to.
This company security model really cares about users privacy and they should be praised for being very open about how data is stored and how they are protecting it, the company has plenty of information about their security model and businesses can get their own server to make sure that they are always in control of everything.
I found the free VIPole plan good enough for home users, the paid version buys you more features like auto logout when idle, extra file storage space, encrypted virtual drive on desktop client and other elements that are nice to have but not a must have.