Secure File Transfer (an alternative to emailing files): Overview



Secure File Transfer is a feature that lets Atakama users send files end-to-end encrypted to third parties who do not have Atakama installed. Where most encrypted file transfer methods are cumbersome, insecure, or both, Secure File Transfer is both secure and easy to use. The sender never has to decrypt files and, once sent, only the intended recipient has access to the files on their computer. The files do not reside on a server so there is no server to compromise.


The sender

Files available to send via Secure File Transfer must be Atakama encrypted files. The sender selects the files and is responsible for approving their release. To send a file the user right-clicks the file and selects "Export File". This generates a dedicated link for the file(s) being sent. The sender then needs to send the link to the recipient (e.g., via email, SMS, Slack, Teams, etc.).  


Once the recipient has accessed the link and the sender has verified the recipient's identity, the sender releases the file(s). Releasing files is a cryptographic operation that requires the sender to approve a MofNop.


The recipient

There are no restrictions on who can receive files via Secure File Transfer. An Atakama user can even securely transfer files to other machines they own. For instance, a user can send a sensitive document to their phone for access on the go. 


Confirming the identity of the recipient

Secure File Transfer provides a cryptographically secure mechanism to verify the identity of the recipient. When the recipient clicks the link shared with them by the sender, a browser window opens. The window displays a unique "Profile ID" that consists of 4 random words. The Profile ID words are also listed on the sender's Secure File Transfer window. The sender is, therefore, able to confirm the recipient's identity by asking the recipient to confirm the words. The sender can call the recipient to confirm the words.  


The word confirmation step prevents an attacker where the link may have been intercepted. If the sender calls or messages the intended recipient and asks for their words, this attack can be prevented.


How to use Secure File Transfer 

  1. Right-click any file or collection of files protected by Atakama and select Export File.

  2. A window will pop up asking to enter the recipient's information. The sender decides whether the recipient will be a "one-off recipient" or a "repeat contact". Once a repeat contact's Profile ID has been verified, the sender can freely send links to that contact without having to verify them again.

Recipient Type

Recipient Information

Repeat Contact

New Contact

Enter a contact name

Repeat Contact

Existing Contact

Choose existing contact

One-off Recipient

Enter a contact name


  1. Repeat Contact + New Contact = Used to send links to a new user

  2. Repeat Contact + Existing Contact = Used to send links to existing contacts

  3. One-off Recipient = Used to send links to a recipient when you don’t want to save their contact information


  1. After adding/selecting the contact click the "Create" button.


  1. Click “Copy Recipient Link” or the Copy icon to copy the link.

  1. Send the link to the recipient. When they click on the link the recipient will see a web browser window.


  1. When the recipient clicks "Begin", they are prompted to enter a 15 character passphrase.


  1. The recipient will see their unique Profile ID. The sender should verify the recipient's Profile ID. The sender does not need to verify Profile IDs of existing contacts.


  1. Once the recipient's Profile ID has been verified, the sender clicks "Send" 

    and approves the MofNop on their mobile app. 

  2. The recipient will then be able to download the file(s).


Sending PDF files in view-only mode and adding watermarks. 

Enabling view-only mode for PDF files

  1. Right-click the PDF, select Atakama, select Export.

  1. Click on “Enable view-only mode for PDF files”. Click the create button and then follow the Secure File Transfer steps.

  1. After the sender approves the request the receipt will see the view button in the web browser.

  1. The recipient will be able to view the file.

Adding watermarks

  1. Check the “Add watermark” option and then enter the custom watermark text. You can select opacity (0-100), and positioning (center or bottom).

  1. Follow the Secure File Transfer steps.

  2. After the sender approves the request the receipt will see the view button in the web browser.

  1. The watermark will appear on the view-only screen.


Known limitations

  • Modern browsers are required. Internet Explorer will not work.

  • The file size is limited to 25 MB.

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