May be you are working on a sensitive data, or just want to secure your personal data on your personal computers. Mac offers the whole hard disk encryption when you install the system, as well as, encryption of your backup through “Time Machine”. However, there are times that you might want to add an extra security to your file. May be you save some of the files to Dropbox or Google Drive, and the file might contain your personal health information that you would not want just anyone to be able to simply read it.
There’s a simple tool in OsX that can help you do this.
zip -e [output.zip] [file-to-be-encrypt]
zip utility will ask you to create a password. The stronger the password. The harder it will be to crack it. However, make sure you will remember the password, too. For this reason, I recommend you to use a password manager, e.g. LastPass is one of an excellent and easy to use tool with several browser integration for both mobile device and personal computer.
Just for the peace of mind. The encryption algorithm in zip might not be very strong. But at least, you save some disk space, and there’s one more extra-security of a password protection that you have to go through before accessing the content of the file.