Has Anyone Tried Encrypting Your razr maxx hd?General


Last Updated: 2013-04-11 19:37:29
  1. recDNA

    recDNA Well-Known Member

    I wondered if anyone has tried encrypting? I use a pin but not encryption. I worry about phone data security but don't want to slow down phone or lose any functionality. Anyone have a bad experience or any tips at all?

    I currently use pin without encryption. Is it true a thief has only 10 tries at pin then phone does a factory reset?

    Advertisement
  2. budfox66

    budfox66 Well-Known Member

    I would like to know this too. My bberry was encrypted and I need to encrypt this phone too...just worried about over-complications? My understanding is that the phone does NOT reset/wipe automatically but can be set to do so remotely. I need it to wipe automatically (like bberry and iphone do), and I spent some time with MOTO on specifics, and it does not.
  3. Thom

    Thom Premium Guide Member Guide

    I am trying to help two people on two other models. There is very little on encryption lying around here.

    The big issue to me is ... if you turn it on ... how can you then turn it off sometime in the future?

    Clearly you can do a FDR (Factory Data Reset) and then wipe the SD-Ext card but what about the data that you cared about bringing forward?

    One possibility would be to copy the data to a PC before doing the FDR/wipe and then copy it back.

    The question is ... when data is copied from the encrypted phone to a PC using a USB connection ... is the data stored on the PC encrypted or unencrypted?

    - Unencrypted would allow turning off encryption with the FDR/wipe and copy back form the PC.

    - Encrypted would not.

    ... Thom
  4. budfox66

    budfox66 Well-Known Member

    Alls I can tell you is that my bberry was fully encrypted, would wipe the entire phone (card and all) if you failed the login attempt 10 times...automatically without need of remote request. However, I could still usb/ums connect to my pc and transfer files without any hindrance whatsoever, and the files transferred to my pc were not encrypted once on hard drive. When it hooked up, it was set to mass storage, and you had to login to begin file transfers. I think it worked like a force field...when connected and logged in to pc, the files were accessible freely from the pc through the usb portal (and the bberry was not accessible/functional while connected in this way). Once disconnected, the phone was functional again, and "force field" reactivated. UMS is not avail on the rmhd any longer (JB), so don't know if this will work at all with this phone. Discouraging when I call moto and they don't really know much about this phone and have to "feel their way" through answering questions. My impression is that there must be very little interest going forward in developing these phones for secure, professional applications in lieu of gaming, streaming, media ftp, etc.
    Thom likes this.
  5. Thom

    Thom Premium Guide Member Guide

    Android did not come form the business community ... it is growing in that direction.

    On the Bionic using ICS when you turn encryption on it then starts encrypting new data that is written. It does not make a mass change to existing data. The approach would seem to install by ...

    Factory Data Reset
    Wipe SD-EXT card
    Turn encryption
    Install apps
    Install some data

    Still to be verified is that data copied from the encrypted phone to the PC is stored on the PC unencrypted (the way you reported for BB).

    ... Thom
  6. Network13

    Network13 Member

    Encryption is mandatory for me to get my work emails. At power on you get an initial screen to enter a PIN code, that unlocks the phones access to the internal storage. At that time THEN the phone begins to boot and brings up the lock screen when it boots up.

    As for moving files from the phone to the PC, once they are off the phone, they are no longer encrypted. If you want them encrypted in the PC, get PGP.
  7. budfox66

    budfox66 Well-Known Member

    Network, do you have a sd card? If so, is it encrypted too? And what happens if you pull the card and put into a card reader on the computer?
  8. Network13

    Network13 Member

    I do have a SD card but it presently is not encrypted because if encrypted it would not be readable in a card reader connected to a PC. Although we do use encrypted USB drives at work and from past experience I can tell you, unless you have the encryption program installed on the computer you want to access the drive/card on, it will show up as a non-formatted drive.

    So basically, if you do encrypt your SD card, it will be locked to all means of reading it, except while in your phone. Which to me is actually a good thing. Your mileage may vary.
  9. mudking

    mudking Well-Known Member

    Android released an API for this over 2 years ago. There is an app for it that does exactly what you want. It's on Google Play, called Autowipe. Install it and it will give you the option to set the wipe on whatever number of attempts you want, starting as low as 5. It gives you the option to wipe just the device, or both the device and the SD card. There is also an option for remote wiping with a user defined passphrase via SMS. My old phone ROM didn't have encryption, so the wiping was very slow. With device encryption, there should be an option to just wipe the encryption key, but I don't think there is. That's how BB does it. Once the encryption key is gone, the encrypted data is unaccessible. Erasing the key can be done instantly. Wiping the whole device is still slow, but I don't know if the encrypted data becomes unaccessible faster if just a partial wipe is performed. My issue with the slow wiping without encryption is that someone can pull the battery out when the wipe starts and most of the data will still be accessible on a card reader. As I said before, I don't know if encryption will help this issue, I have yet to try it out. Also, since the Razr Maxx HD doesn't have a removable battery, that is less of an issue, but they can still probably force it to turn off before the wipe is complete. But even if data is still left, the thief would need to work pretty hard with the right software to access the data if it were encrypted.

    On the same subject, I have a question for users who use encryption. I use an app called Dropsnap that transfers my photos to Dropbox whenever a new photo is taken. I want to encrypt my device, but worry about what happens when the files get uploaded to Dropbox. Will they be encrypted? If they are encrypted, it's pointless to have the backup at all. If anyone knows about this, let me know. Or if you have encryption on your device and are willing to try it out, that would be awesome.
  10. Network13

    Network13 Member

    Encryption is a security layer. Anything under that layer is encrypted, anything you take out from under that layer is not. Files on your drive technically are not encrypted, the device is. And if you take files off the device, they are no longer encrypted.
  11. mudking

    mudking Well-Known Member

    I use PGP whole device encryption on my PC too, so I have an understanding of how WDE works. I was just wondering about how it works with background items because the pin or password must be put in to unlock the device for on the fly decryption. Now that you explain it, though, I guess it is no different than my old Blackberry sending emails while it was sleeping. The emails didn't go through and come out encrypted. Not sure why I didn't look at it that way before.

    However, I contacted Motorola about the article you mentioned. this link:

    They verified that the Razr Maxx HD has no portal application. Thus, copying files from the phone to the PC is impossible. The only way is if the files are sent from the phone to PC in something like an email. Also, decryption of SD card or phone are both impossible too. The feature isn't much of a feature at all. In fact, the Motorola representative actually advised me several times against using it at all. I know that sounds like a joke, but I'm not kidding.
  12. DeathBySnooSnoo

    DeathBySnooSnoo Well-Known Member

    Motorola told you that you can't move files from the phone to a pc when is connected via usb? Or did I read that wrong?

    My work phone (maxx hd) was fully encrypted at one point and I could transfer files via usb.
  13. mudking

    mudking Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's exactly what they told me. Also, the first person told me that there is a decryption option for the phone, but not for the sd card. I looked and found that there is actually no decryption option for the phone, it says right before you do it that the only way to decrypt the phone is to wipe it. So I chatted again and asked if I got bad information since the first girl told me that there was an option to decrypt. The second person verified that there is no way to transfer files from the encrypted device or sd card to a PC.

    Now you're saying it is possible on a Maxx HD? If that's true, that solves all my problems. I spent all day uploading files to dropbox to test out Foldersync since I thought it would be my only option to get files onto my computer. Foldersync is working, backing up my entire sd card, but it would have been much faster to just plug the phone in with USB. I guess I should try encryption and see how it works, since it worked for you.

  14. DeathBySnooSnoo

    DeathBySnooSnoo Well-Known Member

    It blows my mind someone told you that. The phone actually gets decrypted at boot time via a PIN you choose when you setup the encryption.

    But, to be safe go ahead and back everything up first.

    My work phone is no longer entirely encrypted. They force the policy via active synch in order to hook up you exchange. I decided to tinker and discovered that if I use the email app touchdown that I can just encrypt the email data which i did instead. Active sync has no idea that just the email data is encrypted.

    But when it was all encrypted I was still able to access all the data on the phone as long as it was powered on.

    Good luck.
  15. mudking

    mudking Well-Known Member

    And I even contacted them again and asked someone else, they told me the same thing. Although, that person never said that they advise against using encryption, they just verified that the info I got was correct. Crazy!

    One thing I may have misunderstood about the encryption process. On my computer with PGP, it works almost the same. It's WDE that decrypts on boot with a password. Once the computer is on, it's "decrypted". If my computer falls asleep, I can make it so it asks for the OS user password, but if the computer is on, it's not really protected with PGP at the point, only when you turn it off. I guess this is pretty much the same thing as the phone, huh? At boot, it will ask for the key to decrypt the device, then if I turn the screen off, the only thing securing it is the screen lock and whatever sort of pin/password I have on that? So, if someone steals or finds my phone while it's on, does the encryption actually provide any sort of security for the device? Because I thought that it used the screenlock pin/password as a decryption key, is that wrong? I'm asking because I'm pretty sure you can bypass a screenlock with ADB without debugging being enabled, which makes it pointless if you think someone with basic tech skills might get hold of your device. I guess the less skilled attacker might want to take out your sd card and plug it into a card reader, which the encryption would still defend against, but that's it.

    Nice little trickery you did with your email. :) Was the encryption causing you issues that drove you to stop using it?
  16. DeathBySnooSnoo

    DeathBySnooSnoo Well-Known Member

    I changed the encryption just because I wanted to tinker around.

    Yeah it would be best not to run with usb debugging turned on. I don't think ADB access is possible without it being enable which provides you the security you need when the device is turned on.
  17. DeathBySnooSnoo

    DeathBySnooSnoo Well-Known Member

    So it looks like I was wrong with this encryption thing. Once the phone is encrypted you cannot access the storage via a usb cable hooked up to a pc.

    I started thinking about it and encrypted my phone again and sure enough no luck. I could have sworn I accessed my videos and pictures this way but hell I guess not.

    Looks like a perfect app for someone to write to create the bridge we need between the two.
  18. mudking

    mudking Well-Known Member

    Wow, that sucks. Thanks for letting me know here, though. While that is a bit of a disappointment, I have actually been very pleased with Foldersync as a backup solution. I have it set to backup all the files on my SD card while I'm sleeping and it's on the charger. Even an entire nandroid backup of stock 4.1.1 only takes about 25-40 minutes. So, it runs for about 10 minutes a day and everything is backed up to dropbox. So, I have all the files on my computer without needing to connect it at all! I am waiting to encrypt my phone until I get some help on another thread to enable pattern for the screen lock, then I am going to encrypt it and let Foldersync do it's job. I recommend it to you if you plan to keep encryption and want to backup files.
  19. hansangb

    hansangb Well-Known Member


    What about Airdroid. Can you give that a shot?
  20. DeathBySnooSnoo

    DeathBySnooSnoo Well-Known Member

    I have unfortunately already wiped my phone and restored it to an unencrypted format.
  21. finndo77

    finndo77 Well-Known Member

    I appreciate the information provided here, so have considered encryption, mostly so I could use my RAZR HD for work purposes, but also for security. It would be too easy for someone to tick me off if they got access to my phone and Google account, considering you never have to sign in to access Google anything once setup on your phone.
  22. Network13

    Network13 Member


    That makes no sense. My phone has been encrypted since day one and I copy things to and from it via USB exclusively.

Share This Page