So perhaps you have an Android device and have encrypted it.
Incidentally, if you've done that with Android you know that there are some serious warnings that come with doing so. Android, when you encrypt "in-place", does a few things:
1. It encrypts only the data partition (where the app data is stored)
2. It encrypts at the block device level, which means that the entire file structure is gibberish without being mounted using the encrypted block-level interface.
3. If the process is interrupted you're screwed, as part of the device will be encrypted and part not; this will effectively force a factory reset to be performed. For this reason when you do this to an Android device it insists that you be both fully charged and connected to external power (in an attempt to guard against running out of power during the encryption.)
The same applies if you encrypt your SD card. The card will appear to be unformatted if put into a computer or other device.
Both Android and the Blackberry phones use your device password as a "master key" to unlock the real encryption key that is used for actual encryption. This allows you to change the unlock key to your device at a later time without losing access to the device.
Blackberry's Z-10 does its encryption differently. Only the data is encrypted, not the file structure itself! This also means that the time required to encrypt the device (and/or SD card) depends on how much data is stored on it.
This has interesting ramifications; you can take a SD card out of a Blackberry that has been encrypted and mount it on a PC. It will show up as a formatted card with the file structure intact, including file names. However, the data in the files is scrambled. The importance of this is that it makes an unintentional format of the card in an external device, such as your PC, much less-likely.
Note that in both cases since the actual encryption key is generated by the device (your password is only a key to unlock that encryption key space) if you hard-reset the device you're screwed as the encryption key will not be the same even if you use the same password.
But unlike Android encryption of a Z-10 is reversible without a hard reset and wipe.
This is an interesting capability, in that there are occasions where you may wish to reverse the process, particularly if you encrypt the SD card. Android, on the other hand, is a one-way trip when it comes to encryption and the way they do it internally is interesting; a failed attempt to mount the data partition during the boot is interpreted as an encrypted partition and the phone then sets up a "fake" data space in memory sufficient to allow the framework to come up far enough to accept the password prompt. Android's way of doing this is a rather ugly hack, in other words, but it works.
The thing to think about is the fact that the file structure remains visible on an encrypted Z-10 device, because the encryption is at the data level rather than at the block device level, and that unlike Android devices where crypting a device is a one-way trip it is not necessarily so on the Z-10.
One other point -- as expected there is no recovery process on the Z-10 (or Android) for an encrypted device if you lose the password. But, if you guess wrong 10 times on the Z-10 the device is wiped automatically, as has always been the case for Blackberries. The implication of this is that if someone repeatedly guesses at the device password access to the file structure, including the SD card if you crypted it, will be irretrivably lost as when the device wipes the actual encryption key block is destroyed.
The take-aways from this for the "non-geeky" ordinary user are that the names of files on an encrypted device are not obscured on the Z-10, that device encryption is reversible if desired by the user (provided you know the password, of course) and also that guessing at passwords, particularly with an encrypted SD card, is an extraordinarily bad idea, as with all Blackberries as after 10 bad guesses the necessary encryption key block will be automatically destroyed.
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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