Archive for February, 2012

Ethan Hunt – this message will Self-Destruct in 5…4…3…2…

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Now you can be like Ethan Hunt! (or James Bond, whatever your fancy).

Want to send a secret message to someone
that will self-destruct after it’s read?

Actually covert missions and gimmick aside, this actually has some real-world uses.

With regular email, even if you send someone an email using an SSL/TLS connection so that it’s encrypted “in transit”, this email message likely isn’t going to be encrypted data “while at at rest” on their hard drive.   Even if they are using disk encryption on their computer, the message is viewable in their email client as clear text whenever they are logged into their PC.

The bigger problem is really mobile devices, which download email messages and store them on the device. So your email may end up on many different computers and devices.  So if you send an email to someone who checks mail on their phone, and they don’t properly secure their phone (for example, requiring a password or pattern to unlock the phone for each use), then if they lose their phone or if it gets into the wrong hands your message may be viewed by other people.

So how can you send a message securely & ensure it will be deleted once it’s read?

Enter a new online tool called OneShar.es  (https://oneshar.es).  The service is free and extremely simple – you are presented with a page with only one text box where you enter your message:

 

Secret Message

After clicking the “Create Link” button, you are presented with your one-time use link:

 

Secret Link

 

You can then email or text message this link to your recipient, and they will be able to view your message (only once).

 

Secret  Message

 

If the page is refreshed or if they try to click the same link again (or if someone else finds this link and tries to access it), it will not display the message:

 

Sorry

 

There is also a version available for iPhone/iPad and Android devices for $0.99, a great deal if this is something you’ll use more than a few times.   Text message, like email messages get stored on the phone so using OneShar.es instead of SMS is definitely a good idea for sending sensitive messages via mobile devices.