Menu
NSA-resistant Android application 'burns' sensitive messages

NSA-resistant Android application 'burns' sensitive messages

Silent Circle's messaging application ensures only the sender and receiver can view messages and files

Silent Circle, a Washington, D.C.-based company specializing in encrypted communications, released an application called Silent Text for Android devices on Wednesday that encrypts and securely erases messages and files.

Silent Circle, a Washington, D.C.-based company specializing in encrypted communications, released an application called Silent Text for Android devices on Wednesday that encrypts and securely erases messages and files.

Silent Circle, a company specializing in encrypted communications, released a messaging application for Android devices on Wednesday that encrypts and securely erases messages and files.

The application, called Silent Text, lets users specify a time period for which the receiver can view a message before it is erased. It also keep the keys used to encrypt and decrypt content on the user's device, which protects the company from law enforcement requests for the keys.

Silent Circle, whose co-founder is encryption expert Phil Zimmermann, abandoned its privacy-focused email service in early August following leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden detailing the U.S. government's vast electronic surveillance efforts.

The documents passed by Snowden to The Guardian and The Washington Post newspapers describe a host of programs designed to intercept email and phone metadata in a broad effort aimed at tracking national security threats. The leak also prompted a vigorous privacy debate and interest in how to better shield electronic communications from spying.

Silent Circle in Washington, D.C., also offers a subscription service, Silent Phone, an encrypted VoIP (voice over IP) application for secure phone and video calls over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G LTE over its peer-to-peer network.

The Silent Text application generates a new encryption key for each new message. The key is then destroyed "so even if your device is examined, there are no keys to be had after the conversation is complete," according to the company's website.

Only the sender and receiver can view a message. If it was intercepted in transit, it would be unreadable unless the interloper could obtain the encryption key or use brute-force computing power to decrypt the content.

The "Burn Notice" feature lets the sender set a time for a text, video, voice recording or picture to be erased from the recipient's device. The sender can also recall or destroy previously sent messages. It supports files up to 100 MB.

Silent Text's destruction feature is similar to one included in Wickr, a secure encrypted messaging application for iOS.

Silent Circle, along with Lavabit -- an email provider believed to have been used by Snowden -- shut down their email services in early August. Lavabit's founder Ladar Levison wrote he was under pressure from the U.S. government but could not describe the legal issues.

A short time later, Silent Circle, which said it had not received any subpoenas, also opted to shut down its email service as a pre-emptive move. It said it would focus instead on real-time mobile communications, asserting that the protocols email uses make it vulnerable to snooping.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitymobilemobile applicationsencryptionSilent Circle

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments