The Mac encryption conundrum

The customer has sent an encrypted file. No Mac utility can unencrypt the file. The customer isn't going to change. What can I do?
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

A Kusnetzky Group client sent me a thumb drive containing some highly confidential, proprietary information. The contents were protected by Guardianedge, a Symantec compression and encryption utility.

It appears that Guardianedge creates an encrypted XML file that contains the files, directories or storage volumes a customer wishes to protect. While I was able to open up the XML file using other tools, I couldn't do anything useful with it.

After searching the Symantec website for a solution, I learned that Guardianedge isn't available for Mac OS. Furthermore, the capabilities of this software have been folded into Symantec's endpoint protection products.

When I called the company's hotline to learn how to purchase Endpoint Protection for my Mac, I found that none of the agents had ever heard of Guardianedge or its replacement. They tried to send me off to another company to get help.

Get Guardianedge to run under Mac OS

I downloaded a trial version of CodeWeavers' CrossOver to discover if Guardianedge would work in a WINE-based environment.  It died in disgrace leaving the file compressed and encrypted.

Hypervisors to the rescue?

I next tried several different hypervisors to learn if Guardianedge could be persuaded to run in an encapsulated Windows environment. Evaluation versions of VMware Fusion, Parallels' Parallels Desktop for Mac and VirtualBox were loaded to see if the the utility program could be made to run. No joy was found using this technique either.

Would a different approach work?

The client wants Kusnetzky Group's research, insight and opinion and was good enough to create an encrypted ZIP file containing the confidential information. I was very hopeful that this approach would work since dealing with Windows wasn't necessary. Unfortunately, this didn't work either.

After trying four different Mac ZIP utilities, I was unhappy to discover that none of them could deal with the file format and uncompress and unzip the files.

Purchase an inexpensive Laptop

If all of the time and effort spent so far to solve this apparently simple problem is considered, I've spent far more money than a low cost Windows laptop computer would cost.

It's sad to have to buy a new piece of hardware just to uncompress and unencrypt files.

Does your company face issues like this?

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