The Android community is split over whether to use file encryption to protect their apps and files, but for some it is the best option for the foreseeable future.
Security experts are warning that file encryption is becoming less useful and more of a security risk than ever.
“The best thing to do is to use encryption and encrypt everything you have,” said Adam J. Bernstein, chief executive of security company Sophos.
“And you should always use encryption when you encrypt files.”
Sophos recently began testing an Android version of its app, which can protect against ransomware.
Bernstein said it is possible that this will eventually become the default for Android apps, but that the company is keeping an eye on how people use it.
“We think it’s important that you use it because it’s going to be very useful,” Bernstein said.
“If you have to download it and you don’t want to download, you should use it.”
In an email, Microsoft’s security chief said the company supports the file encryption standard, but he warned that it’s not the only option for apps and the best way of protecting yourself.
“As you’re reading this, there are many apps out there that are designed to do things that can be done using encrypted files, or encryption is one of those things,” he wrote.
“The only way to truly protect your system is to keep your files encrypted, and if you do not do that, you risk data loss and compromise.”
The Windows version of the Sophos app encrypts files on Windows 10 devices, which means that the app doesn’t allow people to open them.
But if a Windows 10 device is connected to a Windows Server or Windows Azure cloud, it can be opened using the app.
The app’s creators, however, say it is safe for users to run the app on both Windows and MacOS, and Bernstein said the app supports both Windows 10 and Windows 8.1.
“I’ve been using the Windows version for years, and I’ve never encountered any issue,” Bernstein wrote.
Sophosh also has an Android app that encrypts all the files in the Windows 10 app, including the Google Drive and Gmail folders.
If the app detects a file is encrypted, it encrypts it as well, so that the user won’t have to worry about it.
If an encrypted file is accessed by an app that can’t decrypt it, the file is not encrypted.
However, a malicious user could still steal the file by attempting to read it.
In a recent blog post, Microsoft said it plans to release more Android apps that support file encryption later this year.