Feeds

Could invisibility beat encryption?

Canadians add cloaking device to Windows files

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.