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"Files in this directory are very important Please do not delete!" wtf?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by ashleedawg, Oct 25, 2020.


This is weird, right?

  1. These files are normal and critical to Android's operation.

  2. These files are malicious and should be removed immediately.

  3. I have no freakin' clue. Sorry, I wish I could help.

  4. I don't give a damn about you or your stupid files. Don't you know there's a pandemic going on?

  5. "...but the calls were coming from inside the house!"

  6. 42

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  1. ashleedawg

    ashleedawg Lurker
    Thread Starter

    While searching "My Files" on my Galaxy S8+, I came across a strange hidden folder.

    The hidden folder is called ".privacy_safe" and it contains an empty file named "Files in this directory are very important Please do not delete!" as well as 2 sub-folders:
    • - "Videos" : contains randomly-named files without extensions.
      VLC wouldn't play them (even after add extensions mp4 or avi),
    • - "db" : contains a single file called "privacy_safe.db".
      I tried SQLite3 but it says it's not a valid database file.

    My Google searches turned up nothing about any of this.

    This is weird, right?

    It seems to me that any reputable app developer wouldn't need to maintain integrity of critical files by leaving polite notes within a hidden folder, pleading with the end-user not to delete them... (along with the Video folder which doesn't contain videos).

    Any idea what this stuff is and/or what will happen if I delete it?

  2. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    I sort of feel it has to be related to some app, a "private gallery" or some such. I don't know whether any Samsung apps have such features themselves as my only Samsung is 7 years old.

    The message does seem odd, but not beyond the bounds of imagination that it's genuine (to protect against someone who uses such a feature, doesn't know this folder is related to it, fiddles with a file manager, sees something they don't recognise and decides to delete it - I've taken that attitude with users before now ;)).
    bcrichster, ocnbrze, olbriar and 3 others like this.
  3. The_Chief

    The_Chief Accept no imitations!
    VIP Member

    This may have been an early version of the Secure Folder; but I'm more inclined to think it's part of an app that may (or may not) be on the phone anymore. Or it's a carrier app's data. Are there any contents to the /video and /db folders?
  4. Davdi

    Davdi Android Expert

    Instead of deleting the folder, why not try adding ' _backup' (Without the quotes) to the name. that way if there are any problems you can revert by renaming it to the original name.
  5. sonolucent

    sonolucent Lurker

    ”privacy_safe" is a folder created by SGallery, a Vault App, which is used to place hidden/encrypted files that you have added to your vault. The filename you mention I am not familiar with, so "privacy_safe" may be, to some degree, industry standard. The pic you posted of the files in the folder have the characteristic of encrypted files.
  6. dontpanicbobby

    dontpanicbobby 100% That Guy
    VIP Member

    I've never run into it. I'm just a user.
  7. sonolucent

    sonolucent Lurker

    Does anyone else have access to your phone? TBH, Vault apps are most often used to hide things from someone who may also have access to the device. The SGallery app disguises itself as a (working) calculator. It can also be hidden from view completely, with the only access to it being through the app settings, web browser, or phone dialer. If you bought the phone refurbished or used, it's certainly possible that these are leftover, but very unlikely. Bottom line, if you don't use a Vault App, deleting those files is harmless to you/your phone.

    Of note, if someone is using your phone to hide/encrypt videos, they likely have a back up file on your phone as well. You'll need to search for backup files in all privacy_safe folders (the backup file would be created in a folder apart from the primary privacy_safe folder, like, ".privacy_safe" [note the "."]). That backup file would be very close in size to the file containing the encrypted videos: for example, if the file containing the videos is 2gb, then the backup file will be the same or close. I haven't heard of any of these apps that compress the backups.

    Hope this helps.

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