Keynesis Lockngo is a portable application that encrypts and hides your portable drive on Windows AND Mac without any installation. The only thing required to activate the solution is an Internet connection and a portable Flash drive or hard drive you wish to protect – the size of it doesn’t matter with the Professional version of the solution, but as file systems are concerned, only NTFS, FAT32 & FAT are supported.
The machine I used for this review is a MacBook with a 2.13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB of memory and running Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.2).
Lockngo only needs to be activated once, and it is completely irrelevant if you do it on a Mac or a PC. I chose to do it on my Mac.
After downloading the software and saving it on my no-name USB Flash stick, I double-clicked on the application to run it. After inserting the asked for activation code, this window pops-up:
Sure enough, a backup folder is created and I can put it anywhere I want on my computer. To lock another portable drive, just copy the two files (lockngo.app and lockngo.exe) on it, and proceed in the same way that I’m about to describe presently.
After the backup folder is created, you are faced with the following window:
The password is, of course, entered by you. The number of little stars under the fields rises as the “strength” of your password increases – or so it should be in theory. In practice, it increases with the number of characters in the password – no matter which type they are. It could be argued that the longer the password is, the stronger it is, but the “recognition” of numbers and special characters would also be helpful.
Anyways, back to the locking process. In the aforementioned window, you are given two options: “Hide the password” (use it if you are surrounded by people or are somewhere where a camera can capture the screen while you type), and “Use instant lock” (if you tick off this option, Lockngo will bypass the lock screen from now on and use your current password for locking). Don’t worry – the option of turning this last feature off will be given to you every time you unlock the drive:
When the drive is locked (encrypted with 256bit AES encryption), only the two Lockngo files are visible and accessible:
When it’s unlocked, you can see and access all the files:
Notice that the lable of the drive changes to “Locked” when it is locked, and back to the original (“No Name” in this case) when it’s unlocked.
Know also that the full version will operate only on the removable media from which you ordered the full version. You may transfer your license to another drive, but simultaneously it can work only on one physical drive. So that’s it – two drives in total. If you try to copy the application files on a third drive, you’ll get this notice:
If you accidentally delete the two application files from a locked drive, you will be able to restore them from your backup folder and unlock the drive again. Or, at least, you will be able to do it in the Windows environment – I tried it a number of times on the Windows machine, and always succeeded:
I had some problems in the Mac environment though, where I was repeatedly faced with error messages:
There is a workaround for this that involves unlocking the disk from the command line.
Here is how the software looks like on a PC – the locking and unlocking process remains the same:
It is worth mentioning that the drive doesn’t automatically lock itself when you eject it from the computer, so you have to be responsible for the security of your files and remember to lock it yourself. Also worth mentioning is that there are no backdoors to the content of the drive – if you forget the password, you can forget about accessing the content.
I like the look of Lockngo on my Mac machine – not so much on my PC. Still, looks are not that important when the software is easy to use and does the job it’s supposed to do and does it almost flawlessly. The whole locking process couldn’t be simpler, and the lack of unnecessary options should make novices happy.
If you’re interested in trying the Mac version out, you can download the demo here.