Bluesquad – Cloak 8.0 review

hide and encrypt e-mails and files
Photo of Bluesquad – Cloak 8.0
£24

The idea behind Cloak 8.0, a small utility that amounts to a download of under 6MB, is that it will secure your personal information and documents from those who should be pointing their unwelcome eyeballs elsewhere.

It’s one of a series of applications now available to purchase and download through the Bluesquad site, and at first we wondered whether such a small program would justify the £24 the company is asking for it. The answer? Just about; the reasons for which will become clear.

Let’s first of all look at how the program works. Its abilities extend to encrypting and hiding mails, cloaking e-mails, shredding and deleting files, cleaning recent documents and removing traces of your Web surfing. All of these are accessible through a simple menu.

Once you’ve made your choice, the process is again straightforward. Encrypting a file is a case of choosing the file in question (you can only select them one at a time), deciding where you want the encrypted file to live, opting for compression if you want it and then inputting a password.

There’s no control over you putting in ridiculously easy-to-guess passwords, and that’s something that should be addressed. The whole process is incredibly simple and quick, however, and true to its word, Cloak created a file we couldn’t find any way into without the program’s decryption utility. The same applies for Cloak’s file hiding tool, which again uses 256-bit encryption to effectively remove the target file from your system, only revealing it again when the Uncloak option is activated.

The e-mail side works in much the same way, but does assume you’re an Outlook user. Users of other applications will have to do without for now, which is a pity, as again Cloak does its work with the bare minimum of fuss. It’s effective too, and keeps its promise of sending seemingly blank e-mails that magically spring into life when Cloak decrypts them.

The Internet trace features are a little more rudimentary, and Cloak seems to achieve the same effect that anyone with a little knowledge of Internet Explorer could match. There are benefits, in that you can set the program to do automatic and regular cleaning of your cookies and history, but other than that, there’s nothing vital to this feature (which only supports IE anyway – surely the security-conscious are likely to have migrated already). The same can be said of the ‘recent documents’ cleaner, which eliminates traces of recently accessed document files.

What Cloak does best, it ultimately does well. Granted, our hacking credentials aren’t worthy of attempting to break Cloak’s protection, but the tools we threw at it couldn’t smash their way through. Hence we suspect that those looking for added peace of mind will be satiated by the software in this department. Don’t buy it just for Internet trace cleaning, though, as there are far better applications to tackle that kind of work.

Company: Bluesquad

Contact: 01752 895100


Verdict
A generally positive mixed bag of tools, of which the cloaking applications work very well. It's too Microsoft-centric, perhaps, and not everything is as good as it could be, but Cloak carries out its core tasks with no fuss and delivers effective results.