Chalk it up to Wikileaks, Edward Snowden, whoever or whatever you like, but there’s more emphasis on Internet security than ever before.
Snapchat played on this by building a company on the idea that you should be able to send self-destructing picture messages. And it was a total hit. The company recently turned down a $US3 billion offer from Facebook, and there’s all kinds of debate as to whether that was intelligent or not.
But Snapchat still mostly feels like something for younger people. Not all of us care to send annotated photographs to friends when a quick blast of text will do. So here comes SecretInk, an app for sending and receiving self-destructing text a la Snapchat, and letting you do so for free.
We conducted the following email interview with Jeff Kupietzky, CEO of PowerInbox, the company behind SecretInk.
BUSINESS INSIDER: Seems like the easiest way to describe your app is “Snapchat for text.” Is that about right?
JEFF KUPIETZKY: We share similar mechanics with SnapChat but we feel SecretInk is more useful as you can convey more precise information in text format (passwords, accounts…). We also want to leverage user’s existing communication channels (email, sms) instead of forcing them and their recipients to install a new app that the messages go through.
BI: Talk about the security that goes into making these messages self-destruct and otherwise stay private.
JK: All messages are sent fully encrypted over the network using HTTPS. No plain text or message content ever goes through third-party servers. We also remove the message from our servers as soon as it’s opened. No copy is retained or backed up in any way. Messages are never retrievable after they’ve been opened by the intended recipient.
BI: How does this compare to other apps in a similar space? (Wickr come most readily to mind.)
JK: We leverage existing communication channels instead of forcing users to create a new one or forcing their recipients to install an app. With SecretInk you can send secret messages for free over email and SMS without setting up a new account or using a new system.
BI: What was the impetus to create SecretInk? Any personal motivations for wanting to communicate secretly?
JK: With all of the NSA and Google account access news, we wanted a way to send messages to each other and KNOW that they are not viewable by third parties. We’ve used the app internally to help share passwords and account information as we’ve developed the app. Plus PowerInbox’s mission has always been to make email fun again and SecretInk fits well with our other interactive email experiences.
BI: IS IT NSA-PROOF?!?!
JK: It is in as much as we encrypt all the messages as they go over the wire. If the NSA was determined enough, they could hack your local machine (or your recipients) and watch all your activity. In that sense, nothing is NSA-proof.
The video below walks you through what it’s like to open a SecretInk message on the web: