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Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Keep your secrets with Secret Codes, don't keep your secrets with FileLock

Mobile phone security and privacy with Secret Codes, FileLock, and ActiveLock
Secret Codes

A mobile phone can be a great place to store pin codes, passwords, credit card details, etc., but only if they are for your eyes only. If someone steals your phone, you don't want the thief to see all your secret data.

Enter the latest version of Secret Codes. This lightweight mobile Java program makes encrypted databases in which you can store multiple entries. For example, you can make a database for your pin codes, another one for your email passwords, etcetera.

The user interface of Secret Codes could use a bit of polishing. For example, the "C" key could clear databases instead of doing nothing. But this and other issues are minor, because the encryption used by Secret Codes is solid and that's what matters most in an encryption program.

You can back up your databases to computers running Windows and Linux, and restore them to your phone when needed. Don't forget your password, because the encryption used by Secret Codes is strong enough to lock yourself out, and there's no backdoor if you forget the key.

Secret Codes


FileLock has been around for a while. This mobile Java program lets you lock any file on your phone. You can lock entire folders too. However, I found this program to be totally useless, because it doesn't encrypt your files. FileLock only changes the extension of your "locked" files so the default viewer won't launch, but renaming the files to restore the original extension or opening them from within the right viewer opens them anyway.


Another oldie is ActiveLock by Alie Tan. This program protects applications by requiring a pin code to launch them. You can use ActiveLock to make sure nobody can open the messaging application, your email program, or your notes. Keep in mind that ActiveLock only locks access to programs. It doesn't encrypt files, so if someone copies your data to a computer or to another phone they can read your secrets anyway.


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