Personal Data Security (PDS)
Software to prevent cybercrime


  • The ability to protect your sensitive data using high-quality encryption.
  • Secure, trusted methods to retrieve your sensitive information.
  • An intuitive graphical interface that makes it easy to perform these tasks.

The Internet has brought the world to our fingertips - but with that digital world comes threats from cybercriminals. To safely navigate the Internet we all need to be prepared; this includes using secure passwords, encryption, and having a backup - just in case.

* DHS / FBI - Joint Analysis Report on Cybercrime Reveals Malware and Phishing
* EUROPOL - Ransomware Has Become The Most Prominent Malware Threat

Without sufficient protection the door is open to cybercrime - and there is the root of the problem: What seems sufficient today may be found to be insufficient tomorrow. As technology evolves, both the guardian and the cybercriminal take advantage of each new paradigm. Improvements in protections are implemented, and new ways to circumvent the protections are found - and the cycle repeats, again and again...

With personal information stored in databases around the world, nobody can say that they are fully protected against cybercrime. For this reason insurance policies exist that can be purchased to help recover from losses from cybercrime. In addition to insurance, we all need to know at least the basics of protecting our own personal data from cybercriminals - much as we learned the "rules of the road" growing up. That means knowing what not to do, and learning about trusted software applications.

Though cybercrime is relatively new, the fundamentals are "as old as the hills" - theft, ransom and extortion. Here are just a few examples:
  • Stealing personal information and using it to impersonate someone for illicit gains.
  • Fraudently accessing a bank account to withdraw the funds from the account.
  • Making digital files unavailable and requiring a ransom to regain the information.


By using malicious software (malware), phishing, pharming, or other exploits, cybercriminals around the world seek to profit at the expense of both businesses and individuals. As successful cybercriminals are typically one step ahead of their victims, the best defenses include an evolving knowledge as well as the use of trusted software to apply that knowledge.

To better understand the scope of cybercrime today, as well as some of the methods you can use protect yourself from attacks, please see the "Current Trends in Cybercrime and How You can Protect Your Identity and other Confidential information on the Internet" video.

To learn about Personal Data Security (PDS) you may continue reading, or instead watch the Introduction to Personal Data Security video that is available on the Watch PDS page.


PDS differs from most consumer security products by providing robust management of encryption Keys. This makes PDS a bit geeky, but it also increases both security and flexibility. Every Key created with PDS must have a password, so every crypto operation requires you to provide a password for a Key. You may choose to use one Key for all of your crypto operations, or you may use multiple Keys - the solutions provided within PDS support both scenarios. Key management in PDS includes the ability to create, view, modify and delete Keys. Metadata associated with all PDS-encrypted items tracks which Key was used as well as where to find it, including unique search paths for each operating system when PDS is used in USB mode.

Though the details of securely creating encrypted Notes and backups are fairly complex, PDS again helps by providing an intuitive graphical interface that allows you to easily implement highly secure encryption (up to and including AES-256) without having to be an encryption expert. To quickly master PDS skills there is a QuickStart document, a detailed Users Guide, and even some videos on YouTube.


PDS provides a secure and easy-to-use solution to manage your credentials. The solution is based on Notes, which are securely encrypted text files. Shown to the right is PDS with four Notes open. The Notes are for banking, bills, social media, and a top-level Note.

The easiest way to use Notes is to simply create a single Note, and then enter your credentials into the Note. Then when a credential is needed, re-open the Note, copy the credential, and paste it into the "password" field. The Note is encrypted using a secure cipher, and the Key to unlock the Note is the only credential you need to remember.

One Key may be used for all your Notes, or you may assign different Keys to your Notes. Because each Key in a KeyStore has a unique name (alias), there is nothing stopping you from having a hundred Notes, each with a unique Key and password. Simply enter each Key alias and password into a Note, and all the passwords to all your Notes may be retrieved. The note "dnote" demonstrates just this scenario, where it contains credentials for the banking, bills and social media Notes.


PDS encrypts your existing files and directories without modifying your originals. In the example to the right, Donner is encrypting his "Top" directory, creating an encrypted directory named Top.PDS.

This feature helps protect you against ransomware, as once your files are encrypted (and verified, if you like), your secure backups are ready to be uploaded to the cloud or burned to disc. Writing directly to tape is briefly mentioned below.

Additional capabilities exist, such as appending time stamps to file name or the directory contents, and also the ability to extract only a subset of your encrypted directory. For long running jobs, PDS supports running multiple tasks in parallel.

New attacks are first used against nations, then businesses, and then individuals.


Though PDS was designed to run as a Desktop application installed to the system drive, PDS will also run directly from a USB "flash" drive. This means that you can securely access your Notes, or create a secure backup, on any supported (1) Java-enabled OS.


PDS provides the ability to encrypt files and directories directly to tape drives. (2) PDS supports reading and writing from both beginning of tape (BOT) as well as subsequent tape marks further down the media.

But wait, there's more... SMILE


From very simple to very complex scenarios, PDS may be used in different ways to protect your data.

At the most simplest, you may choose to keep all of your information securely protected with one Key and thus one passphrase. This is a simple, but secure, method to protect your information. All you have to do is remember one passphrase.

By using two or more Keys to protect your data, with each Key having a unique passphrase, you may group your data by which Key protects which data. In this type of scenario, isolated information may be shared with different groups. Using PDS Notes to track the passphrase for each Key will allow you to use as many Keys as you wish.

In another scenario involving multiple people or groups, you could encrypt the data multiple times, with each encryption operation using a unique Key. If only one person or group had the passphrase to each Key, the data would be protected until all parties were present.

  • PDS is a JavaSE application that runs within a Java Virtual Machine (JVM). As Java is compiled into Java "bytecode", PDS is bound to the JVM and not the operating system; or worse, a specific version of the operating system. Because of this, PDS can run on any operating system that has a compatible JRE available.
  • As new releases of JVMs provide backward compatibility for older applications, every PDS release will continue to run on the newer Java-enabled operating systems of the future. This means that your encrypted backups and notes will continue to be available well into the future.
  • New JRE releases typically provide security enhancments, bug fixes, as well as improved performance and stability. These improvements will continue to improve the PDS application with every Java update.
  • Only one Java executable is created with each PDS release. This means that every supported operating system obtains the same level of quality, and for the most part the same set of features as well.
Note: If you have concerns with using Java, probably because you have heard time and time again that Java is insecure, please read this information to learn why the information may have mislead you.

(1) Targeted Operating Systems are Mac, Windows and Linux/Unix.
(2) This feature is disabled on Windows.

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