back to article Dissidents and dealers rejoice! Droid app hides your stash in plain sight

Dutch researchers have developed an Android app for dissidents and crims-on-the-go, that can not only protect sensitive data behind encryption but make a phone appear as if it has nothing to hide. The app was developed to pass the casual inspection a non-technical copper would give a device when looking for encrypted data that …

  1. Slacker@work
    Coat

    Cover photo...

    So that's what the 5 a day looks like!!

  2. JassMan Silver badge
    Trollface

    No matter how many laws they make

    technology will always be one step ahead

    BWAH HAHA HA

    I also like the idea of an invisible icon you have to tap more than the usual number of times to make it activate.

    1. Cliff

      Re: No matter how many laws they make

      Encryption isn't illegal, so this isn't laws vs technology!

      1. malle-herbert Silver badge

        Re: Encryption isn't illegal...

        Not yet, but it isn't so much laws vs technology but law-enforcement vs technology...

      2. Graham Marsden
        Big Brother

        @Cliff - Re: No matter how many laws they make

        > Encryption isn't illegal

        Not yet...

        But that won't stop idiotic and ignorant politicians trying to "do something" about it to protect us from paedos and terrorists and drug dealers...

      3. Fluffy Bunny

        Re: No matter how many laws they make

        "Encryption isn't illegal"

        Not so. It is in many parts of the world.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No matter how many laws they make

      I also like the idea of an invisible icon you have to tap more than the usual number of times to make it activate.

      I am willing to bet, though, that the first support request they get will be for that the app "doesn't work". However, I don't think lawmakers will be too worried:

      Secret data would be encrypted using Facebook's Conceal API

      Call me picky, but I would not trust anything that has been near either Facebook or Google for my privacy.

      1. moiety

        Re: No matter how many laws they make

        Not just Facebook, but Facebook's *API*; which requires a live connection to their server with the stuff you want to keep secret.

        Nah.

  3. Cliff

    Not on Google Play

    'Nomadic'. Sure, I trust nomadic!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Not on Google Play

      Yep, this play is centuries old. If you are in power and want to keep tabs on the people who might oppose you, you yourself start a group that 'opposes' you.

  4. LucreLout Silver badge

    You are kidding. Right??

    data would be encrypted using Facebook's Conceal API

    It's Feb 9th, not Apr 1st.

    It's not just me that sees this as vaguely lacking in credibility, is it?

    1. I don't have a handle

      Well, it is just a toy...

      "It's not just me that sees this as vaguely lacking in credibility, is it?"

      You are certainly not alone.

      Beyond the Conceal API this all seems rather pointless to me. I mean, is it really possible to take this at all seriously when the authors state, "our approach provides an added step of obfuscation that increases security of the data". Well, so now obfuscation increases security? Hmmm. Does not compute.

      DroidStealth relies on a simple PIN for decryption and the APK is distributed though untrusted sources? This is looking like good, secure logic - not.

      To be honest, I should have stopped reading at their claim that 'obfuscation... increases security of the data' and gone back to doing something worthwhile.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Well, it is just a toy...

        .> 'obfuscation... increases security of the data' .... Well, so now obfuscation increases security? Hmmm. Does not compute.

        It isn't intended to defeat a forensic IT specialist with the proper kit, it's just intended to hide stuff if an untrained copper takes a quick once-over.

        It's akin to the difference between leaving an ounce of botanical narcotics unwrapped on your kitchen table, and having it doubly sealed and hidden out of sight. The latter scenario is not *secure* - especially against a four-legged police officer - but it is still preferable to being blatant.

        Side note: I did hear of one weed dealer who was so paranoid about writing down accounts that he instead committed them to memory and calculated figures in his head... he became so adept at quick mental arithmetic that he realised he could make far more money by trading in legal goods. He stopped peddling dope, got a VAT number and has never looked back.

        1. I don't have a handle

          Re: Well, it is just a toy...

          "It isn't intended to defeat a forensic IT specialist with the proper kit, it's just intended to hide stuff if an untrained copper takes a quick once-over."

          I did read that bit but, well, I was just a little surprised to see the claim that obfuscation increases (data) security coming from within a uni. (I'm pretty certain that the students involved would have gained some useful knowledge/experience from the project, notwithstanding).

          I could see the school-aged me making use of this just to piss off mum/dad/sibling, but alas I'm now old, withered and grumpy and see such an app causing more headaches than it allegedly solves - if used in ignorance.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GF Mode?

    Im sure this is what its actually used for!

    Anon because it seems appropriate.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: GF Mode?

      I'm not sure that it can hide your Tinder/Grindr apps!

  7. Buzzword

    They said black was chosen for the app's UI

    "Every time you try to operate one of these weird black controls, which are labeled in black on a black background, a little black light lights up black to let you know you've done it."

    1. Mycho Silver badge

      Re: They said black was chosen for the app's UI

      I'm not the only one that finds this entire thing depressing, am I?

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Secret data would be encrypted

    And that helps how given that UK plods can force you to give the password else send you to Guantanamo ?

    1. ScottAS2
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Secret data would be encrypted

      If they don't know there's a password to ask you for, you're in the clear.

  9. DougS Silver badge

    Wouldn't it make more sense to have this be the default?

    When you unlock it using one password it unhides everything so you can use the phone normally, when you unlock it using another ("1234") it leaves everything hidden and shows only benign stuff to make the phone look used, but not suspicious.

    You could designate certain contacts to be hidden by adding something to the contact info. Then all texts/calls to/from those numbers are hidden, and only the calls to your grandma are shown.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Not seeing the point of this

    It'll be in the apps list even though it won't be in the Google Play list so much for a special black ninja stealth app.

    Also it's Android, use a file manager to move an encrypted file to some sub sub directory and it's never going to be found in a casual inspection by a non-techy cop either. If you're a suspect in a crime then of course all bets are off.

    Finally, I hope we never get to the stage where police can legally casually inspect people's phones to see what they can find. That leads to photos being sent around.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not seeing the point of this

      If a cop casually inspects your phone then any hope of using it as credible evidence is lost; "why certainly officer, just take a look through my recently dialled list or text messages..."

  11. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Link

    This seems to be the link to the project over on GitHub for anyone interested: https://github.com/droidstealth/droid-stealth

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