Encrypting Files and Folders for Shared Use on the Network ONLY...

By Devcon
Jun 9, 2007
  1. I have a network with 4 computers. One computer is sharing a number of multimedia files that I would like the other 3 computers to be able to READ only.

    That is no problem, but I don't want people to be able to take what is on the server computer, place that data on a removable drive, and use the data elsewhere. So, I figured that encrypting all files and creating certificates for each user on the network. Unfortunately, I can't seem to add a certificate for a network user; only the server. Any ideas?

    Also, if you have another idea to accomplish what I'd like using other means, feel free to share...

  2. Ididmyc600

    Ididmyc600 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,415


    If the drives are on an NTFS partition then it should be a case of setting the rights on the files to read only, this way the users wont be able to copy the files just view them.

  3. Devcon

    Devcon TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    Nah, if a user has the right to read a file, he can always copy the file. And I really don't mind if the user can copy the file... But I don't want the user to be able to use the file on another computer making it pretty much null.

    I know it's possible by using just user permissions to protect files in this way, as I have had problems with my external hard drive. Sometimes, after copying files, they can only be read from my personal computer until the permissions are reset using my computer. Perhaps something like that would work, but I cannot seem to add permission for multiple workstations at the same time.

    I think encryption is the best option, but again, I'm stuck at allowing different computers to use the files.
  4. Devcon

    Devcon TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    Bump, Anyone?
  5. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Hum. This is plain impossible. You are going to deliver the file content to the user, therefore the user can do whatever they want with it. You can put on certificates or whatever, but the bottom line is: you have to deliver a plain file to the end program. So it's just a matter of using a file manager or some copy feature in the end program to copy the data.

    The files can be copied to any media no problem and the only way to restrict anything would be to set up DRM.

    Another option would be to set up a streaming server instead so a user wanting to copy the data would have to go through some loops to save the stream.
  6. Devcon

    Devcon TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    It seems that it could work using permissions, as I've seen with my portable hard drive. I would think it would be possible to set computer specific ownership rights to the file, thus restricting access from other computers. I can do it from one computer to all other computers, but I cannot add access permissions to another user on the network without using the 'Everyone' parameter. Folks here are not especially tech savy, so the simplest of solutions would likely suffice.

    I'll have a look into network streaming. Thanks for the suggestion.
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    You're not alone in this concern; it's a nightmare for Corp America!

    Anyone who can mount a USB device can basically offload anything!
    There are programs to control the mounts and audit the file movements,
    but you have to have ADMIN rights to all systems on thet net;
    (also VERY expensive).
  8. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    You don't understand. Think of it this way: you set access controls on the filenames on the server. When a user reads a file, the contents are copied over the network. The file metadata (permissions) become irrelevant once you have opened the file and you have access to the content.
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