Feeds

Boffins boast self-destructing cloud data

Prototype auto-vanishes sensitive email

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Just in time for the evolution to cloud computing, boffins at the University of Washington have developed a tool that makes electronic data self-destruct automatically after a set period of time.

The technique is designed to protect people against sensitive information that may linger on computer networks and later come back to bite them in job interviews, lawsuits, or in other unintended ways. It encrypts messages with a secret key, which is then divided into dozens of pieces and distributed over random computers that belong to peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.

Over time, parts of the key are automatically lost, and when enough key segments are inaccessible, the message becomes unreadable forever. Users can designate the length of time they want before the data expires.

A prototype of the service, dubbed Vanish, is available here as an extension for the Firefox browser. To work, both the sender and recipient must install the software.

Of course, Vanish won't protect data if the recipient cuts the protected data and pastes it elsewhere, or otherwise allows third parties to see it while it's in the clear.

But the tool could provide a valuable level of protection in the cloud, when emails, pictures and other potentially sensitive data can literally live on dozens of hard drives that are dispersed all over the globe. As security and regulatory wonks continue to wrestle with the implications of such a system on data-retention policies, tools like Vanish may provide a useful approach.

More about the tool is available here. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?