Maintain Your Privacy With Self Destroying Data

by Ferman Aziz

Do you want to share a problem, secret, photo or any other sensitive information with someone via email or on a web page but don’t want the proof to remain available to be shared or leaked at a later date? ‘Vanish’ is the answer to all such problems. It may seem like something out of the Mission Impossible series but it’s real. Researchers have developed a prototype service – Vanish – that seeks to:

. . . ensure that all copies of certain data become unreadable after a user-specified time, without any specific action on the part of a user, without needing to trust any single third party to perform the deletion, and even if an attacker obtains both a cached copy of that data and the user’s cryptographic keys and passwords.

The incredible service, though still in testing and developing stages, is the brainchild of Roxana Geambasu, Tadayoshi Kohno, Amit A. Levy and Henry M. Levy of the University of Washington computer science department. The basic idea is this: Vanish encrypts your data with a random key, destroys the key, and then sprinkles pieces of the key across random nodes of the DHT. You tell the system when to destroy the key and your data practically vanishes in to thin air!

The first prototype of Vanish proved to be crack able but the team is continuing with the project to come up with a solution to the problem and achieve the ultimate secrecy tool. They built a Firefox plug-in for Gmail to create self-destructing emails and another – FireVanish – for making any text in a web input box self-destructing. They also built a file app, so you can make any file self-destructing.

In this day and age of massive information sharing on social media, it would be awesome if one could do some of the sharing momentarily, only to make it ‘Vanish’ after the purpose is achieved.

[via ZDNet]

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