If you’ve been wondering whether there is a way to crack a password protected ZIP file, it really depends on the software you have been using to create the ZIP file.
The ZIP format has been used for years now to compress files but encryption also is a feature that comes with it these days.
Yet the kind of encryption that is offered depends on the program you are using and that is directly related to whether it can be cracked or not.
Simply put, there are two types of encryption and password protection that is available. The first of which is ZipCrypto is very easy to crack. A number of organizations including the Info-Zip organization consider it to be a weak form of encryption too.
The second, known as AES-256, is much safer. If you create a strong password, it is virtually unbreakable.
Yet when you use it for ZIP archives, AES-256 comes with another problem. Windows’ own in-built compression tool does not support this format. Unfortunately, if they try to open an AES-encrypted file within Windows Explorer or File Explorer, none of the files in the archive will be available.
But there’s a fix for this problem: there are third-party tools such as 7-zip that support AES-256 and that you should use since you will not be able to work around this issue.
One last thing: no matter which encryption you opt for, the names of the files within the archive can still be seen. If the file names offer sensitive information, then this can cause trouble.
Apart from that, they will still not be able to open the file without the password.