“This message will self-destruct in 10 seconds…”

In the TV series Mission Impossible, the team leader, one Mr. Phelps, received his instructions on a cassette tape that destroyed itself after one listening (mighty inconvenient if a jet happened to roar overhead just as the tape was telling Phelps who his team was supposed to take down, but I guess the meetings were never set up near airports).

Now you can make your emails (and really, any other kind of data stored in “the cloud”) automatically self-destruct using a program called Vanish from the University of Washington. Leveraging the power of peer-to-peer networking, your data is encrypted and the key is broken across the P2P network. How does it work?

…the user never knows the encryption key. This means that there is no risk of the user exposing that key at some point in the future, perhaps through coercion, court order, or compromise… Vanish creates a secret key to encrypt a user’s data item (such as an email), breaks the key into many pieces and then sprinkles the pieces across the P2P network. As machines constantly join and leave the P2P network, the pieces of the key gradually disappear. By the time the hacker or someone with a subpoena actually tries to obtain access to the message, the pieces of the key will have permanently disappeared.

Read the entire press release here.

Discovered via ChattahBox.com

By icesnake

Icesnake, known to Law Enforcement the world over as Rich Tietjens, retired from the US Army in 1992 and has spent the intervening years attempting to die with the most gadgets, and thus, win. To this end, he has written software both as a freelance programmer and a paid consultant, tested network products and built driver disks for Intel, operated a Web hosting service for ten years, built more personal computers than any sane man would ever want, collected seven cats, and finally settled down in Oregon as the Information Technology Training Coordinator (fancy talk for "help desk and PC tech") for a small manufacturing firm. Rich started playing Dungeons and Dragons in 1976 and has never given up the RPG habit, progressing through Diablo, Everquest, Asheron's Call, Diablo 2, and World of Warcraft. Most evenings you can find him on Trollbane-US playing his mage, Icesnake - who is an Engineer and is trying to collect all the cool gadgets in Greater Azeroth... And so it goes.

1 comment

  1. I’d do it, but only if I could install a little sound going “Pff…” with a little exploding animation to pop up over it. Hehehe. That’d be awesome. =)

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