Take the 2-minute tour ×
Android Enthusiasts Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for enthusiasts and power users of the Android operating system. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there a way to encrypt my phone's internal memory, in the same way you would encrypt a computer's partition?

Ideally, the phone would always ask for the password when booting, and even if someone had physical access to the phone and plugged it into a computer, this person could never see what's inside the phone unless he/she knew the encryption password.

I'm looking for a way to encrypt the internal storage only (that's where the sensitive data is kept). Encrypting the SD card is nice but not necessary.

Running eclair on a motorola milestone, and I'm willing to root it if necessary.

Note: I know that there are security related apps that offer to remotely nuke the phone. I also know that this might seem exaggerated and tin-foil-hatish to some people, I'm just a bit of a security freak. :-)

share|improve this question
1  
I'd actually like to be able to do this as well. –  Matthew Read Jan 10 '11 at 18:41
    
@Matthew: Indeed. I felt a lot safer about my passwords once I encrypted my laptop. Now that I have a smartphone, I've started worrying about them again. –  Bruce Connor Jan 10 '11 at 18:45
1  
This is a substantial issue for health professionals in the era of HIPAA [hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/]; to illustrate the attention this has received, here are some pubs from NIST that refer specifically to HIPAA: Storage encryption guide [csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-111/SP800-111.pdf] and HIPAA implementation guide [csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-66-Rev1/…;. –  Argalatyr Jan 11 '11 at 4:57
1  
@GAThrawn: that question is actually about SD encryption. I'm specifically looking for internal storage encryption. But one of the answers there does have a great link which I'll post here for the moment. –  Bruce Connor Jan 11 '11 at 12:32
4  
I'm quite surprised we're not seeing this more widely already, it is definitely going to be holding a lot of companies back from using Android devices as their company mobile comms solution. I know that one of the reasons that Blackberrys are so widely used by businesses is that an admin can enforce every Blackberry attached to the network to use DoD approved encryption levels on all storage. The enforced encryption is why we're still using them at my company, anything carried out of the office with our data on by law must be encrypted, this includes laptops, phones and even USB sticks. –  GAThrawn Jan 11 '11 at 13:18

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Android 3 (Honeycomb) offers full system encryption natively. However, as it's only for tablets at this point I will post some other avenues.

There was some work done on this for the G1 using LUKS and Cryptsetup. I think I've seen this on a moto droid rom too, but you'll definitely need root. It is not trivial to do, and there isn't too much interest so popular roms like Cyanogenmod don't provide for this natively.

There are some apps in the market that support encrypted file stores (check out Lock Files). I have no idea how transparent that is on the system however.

To your italicized point on remote wipe. There are MANY solutions for this. If you're using Exchange you can push this with ActiveSync, if not apps like Lookout, and more provide remote wipe and other functions. There are even manual ways w/ dyndns and a listening SSH server.

Hope I was some help.

share|improve this answer
1  
Have you got any link to any info on the full system encryption included in Honeycomb? I can't find any mention of it in places like en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… or developer.android.com/sdk/android-3.0-highlights.html or any info on how you'd enable this or switch it on yourself? –  GAThrawn May 9 '11 at 9:57
    
I have a xoom, which I assumed was stock Honeycomb. Perhaps it's something motorola added if it's not called out in the release notes? I did see the SDK for 3.0 has an encryption API now. Here is a motorola link on how to enable it (which I have done on my xoom). motorola-global-portal.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/… –  krondor May 9 '11 at 12:15
    
Looks like a 'Google rep' told Engadget it was a feature of Honeycomb and not something Motorola added; engadget.com/2011/02/02/… –  krondor May 9 '11 at 12:17
1  
Ahh just found it, 2nd to last paragraph of the platform highlights page, encrypted storage isn't actually called out as a new feature, but the fact that admins can now enforce policies for encrypted storage is mentioned in passing: In Android 3.0, developers of device administration applications can support new types of policies, including policies for encrypted storage... –  GAThrawn May 9 '11 at 13:17

Inside this question linked by GAThrawn, there is a link found by noname:

ANDROID - Encryption

Motorola claims it will offer "file system level encryption for both internal device memory as well as SD card", in early 2011. This encryption seems to be exactly what I was asking for (more details in the link).

All that's left is to hope that Motorola lives up to its promise.

share|improve this answer
    
I won't accept this answer until this feature actually comes out. So if someone has a different method, please post it. –  Bruce Connor Jan 11 '11 at 12:40
    
Motorola's page now says "Permission denied". –  Dan Dascalescu Jul 6 at 1:20

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.