There’s a security app on the Google Play Store that works with any Samsung device as long as it runs Android 7 or later. A security app that, to date, has been downloaded an astonishing 1 billion times.
If you are not using it, then I’d heartily recommend you do as it really is one of Samsung’s stand out security and privacy features. Indeed, it’s something of a Fort Knox for your data.
Here’s what it is, what it does and how to set it up.
Turning security up to eleven the Samsung way
With more than one billion downloads from the Google Play Store, Samsung’s Secure Folder app is undoubtedly popular by any definition of the word. And there’s an excellent reason for that: it turns the data security knob up to eleven for Samsung device users.
The notion of a secure sandbox to keep your data encrypted and safe from prying eyes, and other apps, is something that every smartphone user should be interested in. There’s an argument to be made that the iPhone is one big sandbox, but that’s kind of missing the point of what Samsung’s Secure Folder does.
It acts, effectively, as a secure phone within a phone. The data within that folder is not accessible to anyone who may have access to the phone itself, including malicious attackers, law enforcement or friends and family.
The Secure Folder app is secured by Knox, Samsung’s multi-layered security platform that is built right into the architecture of the phone itself. It works using an encrypted container approach to define what any process can do with regards to the data it can access.
Then there’s the runtime and boot protection that inspects the code at the core of Android, the kernel, to block device security bypass requests and a hardware root-of-trust for boot integrity verification.
The Secure Folder is a place where sensitive or personal data can be totally isolated from prying eyes. As long as you’ve got a Samsung account and a Samsung device running Android 7 or later, you are good to go.
If you have bought your Samsung smartphone relatively recently, like the last generation of Galaxy devices, then Secure Folder will already come pre-installed. If it isn’t, then you can head to Google Play and add to the billion-plus downloads of the app.
Getting started with Samsung’s Secure Folder app
Head over to Settings and then navigate to Biometrics and Security, from where the Secure Folder entry will be accessible. You’ll need to log into your Samsung account (enabling biometrics for this means it just takes a fingerprint scan, and you’re done) before the Secure Folder is created. The creation process itself can take a minute or two, so don’t panic.
Once it’s done that, you can select the kind of lock type for the folder, and a long PIN or strong password is recommended for the highest security levels.
You can also enable fingerprint unlock, but to make this more secure, you can select a dedicated fingerprint so only that finger can gain you access to your Secure Folder.
And that’s you pretty much done. All apps and data moved to the Secure Folder are encrypted and sandboxed separately on your device, and moving apps is just a matter of tapping ‘Move to Secure Folder.” Files can be imported from within the Secure Folder itself using the ‘Add Files’ function.
If you want to add a little extra layer of privacy, you can hide the Secure Folder from your Home or Apps screen. Go back to the Biometrics and Security settings for the Secure Folder and disable the ‘Show Secure Folder’ option.
This does mean you’ll have to use the same settings menu to access the Secure Folder, though, so consider if it’s worth it before taking the option to hide.