About | ACP | Buy | Industry Watch | Learning Curve | News | Products | Search
Home » Products » Reviews » The Very Ugly

Apimac Secret Folder 2.6.4

Rating: (four burnt toasts)

Apimac Secret Folder lets you conceal a folder and its contents. It provides you with an easy and fast way to protect documents and avoid them being seen, modified, or erased by other users (either on a network or uninvited!). The program is really simple to use and can be protected with a password for extra security.

Download: 2,134,325 bytes
Executable: 3,197,399 bytes
Collateral Damage: three items orphaned on uninstall
Development: REALbasic

[$19.95] Single Computer License
[$59.95] Site License (up to five computers)

  Via Portello 46
  Padova, (PD) 35129

Security through obscurity is never a good idea. An even worse idea is lulling someone into a false sense of security.

The Apimac site is a wonder. Most 'BASIC' sites are. 'BASIC' developers better understand how to make the UI 'lick-able': they're not developers.

And the Apimac people are a wonder too - very helpful. Apimac is a well-run show.

If only the software measured up.

Like all 'personal' computers of old, the Mac used to be an open machine. Anyone capable of physically accessing it could get at everything, and there was no way to hide.

Today the stakes are higher but the beam of security precautions is higher too. With Unix on board you don't have to try to hide things: you just shut the unwanted out.

Welcome to Darwin!
[My-Computer:~] % chmod 700 .

If Unix allows it, no one can stop it; if Unix doesn't allow it, no one can get through.

It's called 'POSIX compliance'.

> Will folders made secret by ApiMac Secret Folder be visible in Terminal.app?

Definitively. Given the correct permissions, Terminal will list all the directories - and the files within them - of a mounted volume. As it happens on every UNIX.

So much for 'an easy and fast way to protect documents and avoid them being seen, modified, or erased by other users (either on a network or uninvited!)'.

BASICally, Secret Folder will protect you only from idiots and - perhaps - household pets.

Try the following experiment:

  1. Create a plain text file in TextEdit and put the following in it:


  2. Save this file as 'hidden.txt' in your home directory (~). (Don't close this TextEdit window.)

  3. Drop to a command line and do this:

    mv hidden.txt .hidden

  4. Now go to 'Save As' in TextEdit - what happened to all your folders?

You can still see the .hidden file: that's because your 'Save As' sheet is a view governed by Finder and Finder hasn't marked the file as hidden yet. To do that, you need to use one of the ADC tools - 'SetFile' - or have access to the Carbon (or REALbasic) APIs.

[My-Computer:~] % /Developer/Tools/SetFile -a V .hidden

You can also lock things with the above program.

But security through obscurity doesn't work. Not anymore at any rate, not here.

[My-Computer:~] % ls -a
.   .Trash   Desktop    Library  Music     Public
..  .hidden  Documents  Movies   Pictures  Sites

OS X machines are multiuser machines. Apple even have 'fast user switching' in Panther. Every user is supposed to get a proprietary area on disk - a 'home directory'. And aside from the 'drop box', it is supposed to be no one's business to go in there.

Thinking that Secret Folder 2.6.4 is going to protect you is only going to get you into trouble.

That being said, you have to wonder about the media accolades for this program: four mice from Macworld, four and one half stars from Mac in Europe, five cows from Tucows, Best of Class and Top Pick from Version Tracker, and a hot '4' from Yippee Shareware.

Does this mean there are undiscovered treasures only the media can find? Hardly.

It only means the online reviewers are dumber than most patient people can appreciate - something almost everyone already takes for granted.

See Also
Control Your Pod

About | ACP | Buy | Industry Watch | Learning Curve | News | Products | Search
Copyright © Rixstep. All rights reserved.