Cryptnos

Android FAQ


Last updated August 6th, 2012

In addition to the FAQs on this page, please read the FAQs on the main FAQ page, as they pertain to all platforms.

Why does Cryptnos always start me back on the main menu when I leave the app and come back to it?
This is a security feature and by design. While Android supports the ability to move away from a task (or app) and return where you left of, this could represent a security issue if someone unauthorized gains access to your device while Cryptnos is paused. Thus Cryptnos stops itself whenever it is suspended, forcing you to go back to the main menu whenever you return. In our testing, we also found that most users generate their password and move on to wherever it’s needed, and by the time they return to Cryptnos they’re wanting to generate a new password anyway.
Why does Cryptnos always go back to the main menu or clear my form values whenever I change screen orientation or slide out my built-in keyboard?
Hopefully, this should no longer be an issue with version 1.2.2 and later. However, for historical purposes, here’s the original explanation: This is a caveat to the above question. Whenever you flip over your device and switch from portrait to landscape mode or vice versa, or if you slide out or close your physical keyboard, Android saves the current activity (or screen) state, closes it, restarts it in the new mode, and tries to restore its state. Since Cryptnos forces you to return to the main menu whenever an activity is suspended, that means changing the screen or keyboard state also forces you back to the main menu. We’ve managed to find a suitable workaround that should fix this issue, so if you’ve upgraded to the latest version and you’re still experiencing this, please submit a bug report and we’ll look into it.
Why won’t Cryptnos let me set the number of hash iterations higher than 500?
This value is capped for performance reasons. In our testing, values much higher than this resulted in significant pauses that made the app look non-responsive. We considered adding a progress dialog to this process, but ultimately decided that 500 iterations seemed a bit excessive. One iteration is usually enough, and anything more than ten is unlikely to be broken. So we stuck an upper limit on this rather than rewrite the password generation code. If you rely on more than 500 iterations in Cryptnos on another platform, we recommend you step that back down so both platforms are the same.
I set a password length restriction, but when I changed the hash algorithm to something else, the length restriction was set back to “None”. What happened?
The length restriction field, which was changed from a text box to a drop-down list or “spinner” in version 1.2.1, is restricted based on the length of the Base64-encoded digest generated by the cryptographic hash. For example, full SHA-1 hashes, when encoded in Base64, always end up being 28 characters long. When you change the hash algorithm, the spinner adjusts its maximum value to match the full non-truncated length of the new hash. If your previous hash selection had a longer result than the new one, your previous length restriction may exceed the new maximum length. When this happens, Cryptnos assumes anything outside this boundary means, in effect, that no restriction is necessary and resets the spinner to “None”. If you change the hash to something that is the same length or longer than the previous hash, your length restriction setting will be preserved. Don’t forget that you can always change this value before tapping Generate if you still need to limit your password’s length.
Why does Cryptnos automatically copy the generated password to the clipboard?
For convenience. If you’re using a massive gnarly pseudo-random password, you’re unlikely to be manually typing that into a form, so you’re probably going to copy and paste it anyway. We just did the copy step for you. We do recommend, of course, that once you are done with the password in question, you should copy something else into the clipboard (like text from the site you’re logging into) to overwrite the password and prevent someone from gaining access to it. Of course, if you would prefer that Cryptnos not take this step, an option to disable this feature has been added in versions 1.2.4 and above.
Can Cryptnos store the site parameters to my SD card?
No, the database is stored in the device main memory. That said, this database is very small, even if you have a lot of saved sites. By contrast, export files are always saved to your external storage device (usually an SD card).
Can I move Cryptnos (the application) to the SD card with Android 2.2 or higher?
As of version 1.2.5, yes. Originally, we felt there were security concerns involved with moving Cryptnos to the SD card, but a careful review of this feature in Android reveals that this concern is likely unwarranted. You will need to upgrade to version 1.2.5 or higher to access this feature, and of course you must be running Android 2.2 or higher and have an SD or microSD card installed.
Cryptnos won’t let me import or export!
There may be a number of reasons why the import and export features of Cryptnos may become disabled. Fortunately, figuring out exactly which reason has disabled the feature at any given time should be straightforward.There are two import/export methods within Cryptnos: Via an encrypted file and via QR code. If neither of these methods are available, the import mechanism will be disabled. Exporting may be disabled if there are currently no site parameters in the database, or if neither export method is currently available.Exporting to a file requires that the device’s mass storage device be mounted for writing. Similarly, importing requires that the mass storage be mounted for reading. Android apps cannot access the mass storage if your device is in “drive mode” and tethered to your computer. If you’re in “drive mode”, you’ll need to disconnect from your computer and mount the card before Cryptnos can see it.If you try to import from a file and get a message stating “No files could be found on your removable storage device”, that means your mass storage does not contain any non-folder, readable files. You may need to move your import file from another folder into the root folder, or install one of the third-party file managers Cryptnos recognizes in order to access a folder other than the root folder.Importing and exporting via QR code requires one of several recognized third-party bar code scanner applications be installed. If none of these apps are found, all of Cryptnos’ QR code features become disabled.

Why does Cryptnos insist on using the root of my mass storage device for export/import files?
To be honest, we were lazy. It’s a matter of code simplicity. There are dozens of file manager utilities in the Google Play Store, and we weren’t exactly looking to write yet another one. Thus, by default Cryptnos looks in the root folder of your mass storage device (usually an SD card or an internal “media storage” area) to write exports and read imports. If you want to move your export files somewhere else after the export is finished, you can always do that manually, of course. But in order to import that file later, it will need to be moved back to the storage area root.Beginning with version 1.2.0, Cryptnos checks to see if any recognized, compatible third-party file managers are installed. The current list of recognized file managers includes OI File Manager, AndExplorer, and ES File Explorer. Your preference of which file manager to use can be set in the Advanced Settings activity off the main menu. If a file manager preference is set, Cryptnos will use it to let you navigate your storage area to choose import files and export paths. This provides a lot more flexibility over the old functionality. If no recognized file managers are found or no preference is set, Cryptnos will default to the old behavior and always look in the root of the device.Why did we pick these particular file managers, you may ask? Because these applications make their “Pick File” and “Pick Directory” intents publicly available, meaning any third-party application can use them to select files and folders. If you’d like to see another file manager supported and its developer publishes public intents for these operations, let us know and we’ll consider adding it. If the developer does not publish public intents, please contact them first and ask them to do so before requesting that we add them.
My device has both an internal “media storage” area and a removable microSD card. Cryptnos keeps wanting to import to and export from one, but I want to use the other.
If your import file is on one mass storage area but Cryptnos keeps looking for it in another storage area, you will have to move the file yourself from one location to the other. Similarly, if Cryptnos will only export to one location but you want to keep the file in another, you will have to move the file after exporting your data.Unfortunately, this is a consequence of Google’s change in how it implements “external storage”. Initially, “external storage” always meant a removable device such as an SD or microSD card. Over time, manufacturers started adding built-in “mass storage” as well as providing removable storage devices. Google’s initial implementation does not handle this scenario well, meaning apps like Cryptnos that target older platforms cannot easily take advantage of this distinction. Android provides a single “external storage directory” reference, which may default to whichever storage area the manufacturer decides should be first.On way to overcome this limitation is to install one of the recognized third-part file manager utilities. These apps allow you to specify your preferred storage location virtually anywhere on your device, and Cryptnos can take advantage of that. Using one of these utilities, you can select an import file from any of your mass storage areas, or select any writable folder in any storage area to save your export files. However, Cryptnos will always default to the storage area that the system supplies as the default; if this default is not the location you would prefer to use, you will have to navigate to your preferred locatiton before importing or exporting your file.
Cryptnos seems to be only available in English. Do you have plans to translate it into other languages?
Our translation efforts have been spotty at best. There have been a number of volunteers who have stepped up then disappeared, and we’ve tried a number of different tools which we’ve tried and subsequently failed to keep up with. We haven’t abandoned our translation efforts by any means, but there have been many, many reasons why we haven’t been successful yet. If you would like to volunteer or know of a good way to help us organize our efforts, feel free to drop us a line. We would appreciate any help offered.
How do I remove all sites from my database? Tapping and deleting each one is way too slow!
We agree. So in version 1.1, we’ve added a new menu option to the Sites List activity. This is the screen that appears if you tap Regenerate, Edit Existing, or Delete from the main menu and which displays the list of sites in the database. In the Site List activity, tap the Menu hardware button on your device and a new Delete All option will become available. You will be asked to confirm this action since it cannot be undone.
What are your plans for Android tablets? For Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and above?
As with the overwhelming majority of Android applications, all versions of Cryptnos are forward-compatible and should work with any future version of Android (so long as Google does not drastically change their APIs). However, Cryptnos officially includes a dedicated table layout that takes advantage of the newer themes and larger tablet screen space. The work flow for the application is identical to prior versions; we haven’t taken advantage of Honeycomb’s new features like Fragments in order to remain compatible with earlier versions of the platform. That said, the new layouts look better on the larger screen and take advantage of the additional real estate. These changes are invisible to Android smartphone users, so the UI will appear unchanged to these users.
Is Cryptnos available in any of the third-party app markets (i.e. any app store besides Google’s Play Store, like Amazon, AndAppStore, Handango, etc.)?
Not at this time, and there are no current plans to do so. For one thing, many of these alternative stores have terms we do not agree with, such as fees far in excess of what Google asks for with the Play Store. Others are laden with malware or forgeries. While we understand that some users prefer the alternative stores to the Play Store for valid reasons, we see the Play Store as the “official” home of Android applications and see no need to pursue alternatives. If the Play Store is unavailable in your area for any reason, please remember that you can “side load” apps onto your Android device by downloading the APK files from this site and installing the app manually. You will not be notified of updates if you install Cryptnos this way, but you can always subscribe to our releases RSS feed for notifications. See the main Cryptnos for Android page for side loading instructions.
I heard you added support for importing and exporting parameters via QR code? How do I access this option?
QR code support is provided by installing one of the recognized third-party QR code or bar code scanning applications. If none of these applications can be found, QR code support is disabled. As with the third-party file managers, we targeted populate QR code apps that publish public “intents” for scanning and generating QR codes.If QR code support is enabled, tapping Import or Exportwill automatically begin the process. If both QR code and file support are enabled, you will see a pop-up dialog asking which method you’d like to use. For imports, Cryptnos will launch your preferred bar code scanner, which you can then use to scan a code generated by another compatible version of Cryptnos. If the scan is successful and the code contains valid data, the imported parameters will be compared against the existing values in the database. If the imported parameters will overwrite an existing value in the database, you will be notified and Cryptnos will ask whether you want to overwrite the old data. If the import will not overwrite anything, the parameters will be inserted into the database immediately.To export parameters via QR code, tap Export and select QR code if necessary. Cryptnos will load the site list, allowing you to pick which site you’d like to export. Tap that site and Cryptnos will fetch its parameters from the database, then launched your preferred bar code scanning app to display the code. You can then scan the code with a compatible version of Cryptnos on another device. Note that some third-party bar code scanners may require that the scanned code be saved to your mass storage device before it can be displayed, and if your mass storage is not writable exporting via QR code may be disabled. Other bar code scanners display generated codes themselves and do not have this limitation.