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Password Protecting a Zip File on MacOs (Quick Guide)

Kison Patel
Kison Patel

Kison Patel is the Founder and CEO of DealRoom, a Chicago-based diligence management software that uses Agile principles to innovate and modernize the finance industry. As a former M&A advisor with over a decade of experience, Kison developed DealRoom after seeing first hand a number of deep-seated, industry-wide structural issues and inefficiencies.

CEO and Founder of M&A Science and FirmRoom

When handling confidential information, you may wish to secure zip files with encryption, or password protection. Securing files can be used to archive and password protect files that are no longer in use but contain confidential information, to add a layer of security to files you are currently using, or to fulfill compliance regulations.

For Mac users, while encryption is not an intuitive process, by following this guide, you should be able to compress and password protect files with relative ease. 

Protecting a ZIP file with Password

Step 1 - Locate the Terminal app

This is native to macOS, and is easily accessible via the search bar in the top right corner of the screen. Type in Terminal, and you should see this:

locating the terminal app

Step 2 - Prepare your files

If you have multiple files to compress and protect, these can be organized into a single folder using Finder. This simplifies file compression and avoids long strings of commands. 

  1. Open Finder. 
  2. Option-click the Finder window and select the New Folder option.
new folder, preparing files
  1. Rename the folder, use a name without spaces to simplify terminal commands. 
  2. Drag and drop the files you wish to compress and protect into the new folder. 

Step 3 - Password Protection Using Terminal

This is where you set the password and protect the zip files. 

  1. Open the Terminal app. 
  2. Change your directory to the location of your folder. For this example, the folder has been named “test,” and it has been saved to the desktop. To do this, type in “cd desktop.” This means that you want to “change directory” (cd) from the current location (desktop). Then, type in the name of your folder. 
Step 3 - Password Protection Using Terminal

3. Enter the command “zip -er FILESorFOLDERStoCOMPRESS” without quotes. For this example, I would type in zip. -er FILESorFOLDERStoCOMPRESS. Then, hit return/enter.

step 3 part 2

4. The options should now show up to enter a password.

step 3 part 3

5. Enter the password you would like to use and hit return/enter twice. 

6. You will now see the compressed and password-protected zip file in Finder. Each time you want to access this folder and any files in it by uncompressing them, you will have to enter that password, so make sure to keep a reminder of the password in a secure location! 

How to Actually Secure a Zip File 

While Terminal is a useful resource for password protecting a zip file as well as compressing multiple files into one secured folder, it is not a foolproof method. These password protected files are still subject to computer hacking attempts. The password also must be shared with other users in order to enable access for deal purposes.

Further, if the password is lost, forgotten, or falls into the wrong hands, the security of the confidential information will be compromised. This is best for personal confidential files that will be accessed by only one user. This password system is also not recommended for confidential information with regards to other people or businesses, but rather personal information such as social security numbers and bank account information.

How to Actually Secure a Zip File 

On the other hand, virtual data rooms, such as FirmRoom, allow for enhanced security and other document sharing features. Security is the top priority of VDRs, and FirmRoom offers industry-leading security features such as single sign on, secure cloud infrastructure, access control, as well as document downloading using permission settings and audit logs.

FirmRoom eliminates decentralization by enabling admins to stay in control of document access. Further, with the smart analytics inside FirmRoom, it is possible to track every step of progress, showing user activity in real time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Secure your files using a Data Room with features that fit your business.

Learn more about using FirmRoom data room through demo and tutorials in this free 30-day trial.

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Key takeaways

Contact M&A Science to learn more