By Stephen Schenck | March 16, 2011 12:42 AM
There are plenty of good reasons to think about employing full-disk encryption on your smartphone. Whether you’re protecting business assets from prying eyes, keeping nosy customs agents out of your personal affairs, or trying to keep the plans for your secret Skull Island base on the down-low, encrypting all data on your phone, soup to nuts, can be a smart move. While iPhone and BlackBerry devices offer types of FDE, the same has been hard to come by for Android smartphones. Now an outfit called Whisper Systems has a workable prototype available, a beta version of an FDE system for the Nexus S called WhisperCore.
The app, free for personal use, encrypts your data using 256-bit AES, which if properly implemented is a very secure cypher. After WhisperCore is installed, you’ll need to enter your passphrase to generate the key needed to read and write to the encrypted disk. While it won’t benefit the Nexus S any, future versions of the app, supporting a greater range of Android models, will also be able to encrypt data stored on SD cards.
FDE may seem like overkill to some users, but with people keeping more and more data on their smartphones, it’s definitely a concern worth thinking over. While a forgotten passphrase could lead to devastating data loss, all your personal data in the wrong hands could have an even worse outcome; as with all security choices, FDE is a balancing act.