Facebook Conceal will protect data on your smartphone's SD card

Your mobile apps cache data on your phone's SD card. But they're often unsecured. Enter Facebook Conceal.

When your smartphone caches part of your mobile apps and data onto your SD card, that data's vulnerable: It can be seen by other apps. Facebook's Conceal, a set of Java APIs, will solve the problem for those developers that use them.

"What many people don't realize is that Android's privacy model treats the SD card storage as a publicly accessible directory," Subodh Iyengar, a Facebook developer, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. "This allows data to be read by any app (with the right permissions). Thus, external storage is normally not a good place to store private information."

Conceal works by "wrapping" whatever data is written to your phone's SD card in a layer of cryptography. Iyengar said that the technology was optimized for performance, so the crypto layer used a subset of cryptographic algorithms from OpenSSL to maximize  performance. The software does use AES, however, to generate what's known as a  Message Authentication Code to validate the data package and validate that it hasn't been tampered with.

In concept, Conceal provides something similar--but much less robust--to an encrypted store of information, such as the hardened, 256-bit AES encryption applied to a subset of the phone's storage for BYOD technology like Samsung's Knox. It won't replace it, however.

So far, we haven't been able to find a developer who has signed on to use Conceal. But Facebook has made the Conceal technology open-source, so that anyone can jump in and use it--including Facebook itself. Securing your SD card probably isn't on your security to-do list, so this is also a good reality check: Your photos and other digital bits floating around on your phone's card may not be for your eyes only.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Photo / videoapplicationssecuritymobile securityPhone appssoftwarePhotoFacebook

More about AES EnvironmentalFacebookSamsung

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Mark Hachman

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts