Though I password protect my computer, and no one other than myself uses it, there are some items (folders and maybe even an app or two) that I would like to keep password protected all the time; even as I am working on my computer.
There’s the inevitable of being momentarily pulled away for a quick moment that turns into much longer than that. Or even leaving the scene, as your computer is running a process, when putting it to sleep at that time is not viable. Whatever the reason, protecting your privacy is always a valid concern.
Espionage is a program that allows you to encrypt folders and applications; to keep them private and secure at all times.
The folder encryption procedure is pretty easy:
Install Espionage, drag your folder onto the Espionage window, select options, enter a password
When you want to access the contents of this now encrypted folder:
Double-click as you normally would to open any folder, enter your password.
When you are done accessing the folder, relock the folder:
Right-click or access a command from the menu bar
How does Espionage work?
“Espionage uses hidden disk images to securely protect folders and automatically handles details such as mounting the image discretely in the background, thus allowing the user to interact with the folder as if it were like any other folder.
This is actually the standard method for encrypting data on Mac OS X (FileVault works in the same way). The original folder is then placed in the user’s trash, in its place a new folder is created with the same name, containing the disk image.”
Upon my first use of Espionage, I got an “Out of Space” message.
Surprised because I’d just started this, I went researching and that’s when I discovered that Espionage uses disk images. And let me note that the folder I was testing with Espionage was located inside of an existing disk image with 117MB of free space, so I’m sure that is what prompted the message. With my computer hard drive, which had about 100GB free, I may not have seen that message. But, after reading their support forum, I was glad the message had appeared. With a little research and questions to their support, I got a better understanding of Espionage’s process, though not all of my questions answered satisfactorily.
What I garnered is that the encryption process will create an encrypted folder that is about 10x’s the size of the folder you are encrypting. With this knowledge, you get the point that you want to protect specific items like your personal finance information or a mail program, etc., not every other file on your computer.
Hence, to resize an already encrypted folder (disk image) if you find space running low, restore the folder from a command in Espionage’s File menu, add your additional files, then re-encrypt the folder. Just like you’d do with any other disk image that has run out of space.
Because the created disk image is actually invisible to you, when the encrypted folder is opened, you will see an alias symbol on your folder icon.
Espionage will also encrypt applications, like Mail or iChat, allowing you to always keep your email and data private.
All in all, I purchased 10 apps for $49.99 (receiving two apps for free) in the MacUpdate 2010 Fall Bundle, I found this app to be well worth the $4.99 I spent on it. 🙂
Price: $34.95 Single, $39.95 Family (Free upgrades for life: $19.95)
Update on “My Living Desktop”
Though sometimes the settings don’t stick initially when I change them, and the control panel is a little sluggish when selecting the tabs, I have really fallen in love with this program.
It really keeps me conscious of how much time I am spending at task and to take a break.
The scenes and sounds could not be more appealing and relaxing.