Let's make it Our Secret

Send "secret messages" containing hidden files with this free utility.

People sometimes don't exercise the best judgment when exchanging personal photos and messages. Human nature being what it is, the answer isn't to stop doing it, but rather to use software to do a better job of hiding it. Our Secret is a free tool that lets you attach, hide, and unhide images, videos, songs, and other files to send to "that special someone" who has the password to unhide the files. While it seems to be the perfect solution for classroom note-passing, it can hide and unhide any private or sensitive files or messages. But before you hit Send, just remember all those politicians caught literally with their pants down due to attachments they thought would remain private.

Our Secret's compact interface is divided into two halves, Hide and Unhide, each with a small window for listing files and a few clearly labeled buttons. The first step involves selecting a carrier file, which can be nearly any kind of file, apparently, though we chose an ordinary JPEG. A simple wizard walked us through adding files, folders, or messages to our carrier file. We simply browsed to our files, added them to the list, created a password, and pressed Hide. Our Secret did the rest. Unhiding files is just as easy: Browse to the target file, enter the password, and click Unhide. Unhidden files opened normally in their usual applications. A Web-based Help file failed to open from the interface, but we merely had to click the adjacent About button to access the developer's Web site and instructions for using Our Secret, including a step-by-step demo.

Remember one thing about the "secrets" you share with Our Secret or any software that promises security: secrets are irresistible. They're only good as long as they're kept, and few are. Sooner or later, beans are spilled, cats escape bags, lips loosen, and tongues wag. Before you send an all-too-personal image or file, remember that, protected or not, it's out of your hands and your control but maybe not out of your life. Don't share your monkey business unless you want all the monkeys in on it.

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