PortaBase data files can be encrypted in order to protect sensitive information like passwords. Each encrypted file is accessed by providing a password specified by the file’s creator. (This password can be changed later from the File menu‘s “Change Password” action.) Because this password must be relatively easy to remember, this is the weakest point in the encryption scheme; therefore, it is important to choose a good password. Passwords should meet the following guidelines:

  • At least 6 characters long; the longer, the better (no upper limit)
  • Contain a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation symbols
  • Should not consist of data (or misspellings thereof) that would be likely to be in personal records (friend/relative/pet names, contact information, etc.)
  • Easy to remember; if you choose a password that is “good” in the above senses and forget it, your data will be virtually impossible to retrieve

For security and implementation reasons, the entire content of encrypted files must be held in memory at once; thus encrypted files cannot scale to large sizes as well as non-encrypted files. Files of a few hundred or a few thousand rows should still perform well, but files containing many thousands of rows of data probably won’t (at least on Maemo; desktop computers with lots of memory can handle quite large encrypted files).

For more information about encryption in PortaBase (including details on the algorithms used), see the PortaBase homepage (http://portabase.sourceforge.net).