Feeds

Could invisibility beat encryption?

Canadians add cloaking device to Windows files

Remote control for virtualized desktops

PCMesh has unveiled software which it claims can hide any Windows file or directory, not only from other users - or thieves - of the same PC, but even from the operating system or a virus.

"Data that's protected by PCMesh Hide Files and Folders is not visible, so it can't be attacked," the company claimed. "In fact, the software itself does not even run continually, so it does not announce its presence to snoopers and hackers. The only time the software is active is when it's being used to hide or reveal protected files or directories."

Ontario-based PCMesh refused to say how the US$39.95 (around £20) program works, but running it showed that it's nothing obvious - such as marking them as hidden system files, or marking the disk space as bad blocks.

However, while protected files did not show up in the file manager, Windows clearly knew that something was there - it reported the disk space as allocated, and wouldn't overwrite it. Protected files still showed up by name in Defrag analysis reports too, so they weren't completely invisible.

Why not do the job properly and encrypt the stuff that you want to hide? PCMesh's argument is that encrypted files are still visible on the disk, and their very presence tells others that you have something to hide. It also points out that it takes time to encrypt a file - a lot of time, if it's a large file - and the likes of DES encryption are now crackable anyway.

The problem is that if others can see you've installed Hide Files and Folders, that too tells them you have something to hide. And without encryption your data is still visible to anyone with a sector editor, so while the software might deter the casual eavesdropper, it's unlikely to satisfy serious security needs.

If you're a home user looking to hide stuff from the family, this might do the trick. But for anything more serious you have to encrypt - and references to DES being cracked are simply attempts to obfuscate, when the serious stuff has moved to 128-bit AES and beyond. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.