The NordLocker Tool, which comes from the same team that provided you with NordVPN and NordPass (but not OnePlus Nord), is about software encryption: it creates a secure locker on your Windows or macOS computer, making your files inaccessible to anyone but you.
In addition to encrypting your files locally (or sharing them via any other cloud storage tool of your choice), you can also use NordLocker to backup your data to the cloud. You get 3 GB of cloud storage for free, and more space is available if you’re willing to pay the monthly fee.
- Very secure
- Slick and simple to use
- Free for local files
- Only 3GB of free cloud storage
- Sharing requires a NordLocker account
- No web access
NordLocker isn’t a complicated program: it basically encrypts whatever you throw into it, whether it’s photos from a family vacation or a series of spreadsheets showing off your company’s finances. This means that if someone should access your computer or hard drive, they won’t be able to understand the files inside NordLocker, unless they also have your master password (for the operating system, NordLocker vaults appear as individual files).
This is linked to the cloud storage component, which is still in beta. You can store up to 3 GB of data for free – probably not enough to save all your data, but it can act as a way to protect and share your most important files. If you want to encrypt more data and save it to the cloud, the prices aren’t prohibitive, and the free tier should at least give you an idea if NordLocker is for you.
This cloud storage also means that files can also be safely synced between computers. While Windows and macOS come with built-in file encryption – protected by a user account password on these operating systems – NordLocker takes them to another level, giving you extra peace of mind for files that need to be completely locked (secret government plans and the like ).
Individual lockers (you can have several) can be safely shared with anyone by assigning them permissions from the app. It takes a bit of work – they also have to sign up and install the app – and it’s not as convenient as sharing a file from a cloud storage service, but it’s still worth making a note if it’s something you think you’ll need in your business or family.
Once you sign up for NordLocker, it won’t take long to master the software, even if you’ve never used something like this before. Entering your master password is probably the most important part of the setup process – if you forget it, not even the NordLocker team will be able to recover your files. Unfortunately there is no password strength meter, only a minimum length of 6 characters.
When it’s time to encrypt your files, you can drag and drop them into the NordLocker window or select them using the Finder or File Explorer. NordLocker speeds up both the encryption process and the necessary uploads (if you’re sending files to the cloud). You also have the option to create encrypted copies of files in your vault or move files to a vault while they are encrypted.
We have to say that NordLocker is an absolute breeze to use – you can drag files between the cloud and between local storage when needed, and everything is clearly defined. The only setting for the desktop application is whether you want to move files or copy files to the NordLocker folder, which testifies to how simple the software is.
The aesthetics and intuitiveness of NordLocker won’t come as a surprise if you’ve used NordVPN or NordPass before, but it’s still worth mentioning. We should also point out that you don’t have any web portal to view files (and it usually clashes with encryption anyway) – all you can do online is look at your NordLocker account (and NordPass and NordVPN accounts if you have one).
NordLocker seems to have all the basics when it comes to solid security. He takes encryption very seriously by implementing the modern Argon2, AES256, and ECC encryption protocols (with XChaCha20, EdDSA, and Poly1305) that the security community likes. Everything is zero-knowledge – no one but you can decrypt your files with your master password (or recovery code).
There is no two-factor authentication for logging into your account here, although in effect the master password (in addition to the username and password for the account) is this extra step. Nobody can access your files over the internet anyway (and even through any mobile apps), so only if they access your Windows or macOS computer and know your master password will they be able to get your files.
You can use NordLocker completely for free if you can settle for 5 GB of cloud storage – or if you don’t need to use cloud storage at all. There is no limit to the amount of local encryption you can do, so you can toss as much into the NordLocker folder as you want without worrying about it (assuming you obviously don’t run out of hard drive space).
As usual with these services, you can pay year after year or month after month for a much higher price. The monthly fee is $ 7.99 or £ 6.15 if you don’t want to commit all year long, while the annual fee is $ 47.88 ($ 3.99 a month) or £ 36.87 (£ 3.07 a month) . That gives you 500 GB of secure cloud storage, which is pretty generous.
NordLocker works really well and very fast for encrypting files on your local drive, and the software is nicely designed, but it doesn’t do anything else – this simplicity can be positive or negative for you, depending on your requirements. If you need advanced features for managing files or organizing access for specific users, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
It’s also worth noting that you can very easily use NordLocker for free, unless you’re syncing files to and from the cloud (you can always send your NordLocker vault to another cloud storage service if you want). Even if you want to use the cloud, the free 3GB limit should be enough for the most sensitive files. NordLocker may be simple, but it does the job.