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Crack our 'military-grade' email encryption and we'll give you 5% of our firm

Hungarian startup tries novel bug-testing system

photo by phylevn/ licensed under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Vulnerability testing is commonplace these days, and a lucrative business for some, but a Hungarian biz is offering an unusual prize for anyone who manages to crack its email encryption system – a five per cent stake in the company.

The upstart, MySecureZone, has spent the last 22 months potting together a browser-based encryption system for email, instant messaging, VoIP and VPN traffic that it claims is bulletproof. In the case of email, for example, messages are encrypted and then sent to the firm's servers in Switzerland and Luxembourg, after which the recipient can pull them down and read them using a passphrase agreed with the sender.

"The goal of our company is to help people protect their online privacy and to bring the highest grade user-friendly IT security to the public. For ultimate security, our system rests on the strong foundations of open source," said Istvan Balazs, MySecureZone's CTO.

"We know that, on the Internet, the user login process is one of the most vulnerable areas of personal information protection. That's why we have created a state-of-the-art, web-based, two-factor authentication solution that is unique and innovative. This will ensure that, even with a weak password, your private messages will be safe and secure."

The competition, which began on Monday, challenges people to decrypt one of these emails and get hold of the message contents. Participants can apply to the firm for access to the encrypted email and the first person to break it open can claim a five per cent share of the firm; it's also running an Indiegogo campaign to raise $50,000 to get a commercial 'military-grade' version of the system up and running.

As publicity stunts go it's an interesting idea but, as one El Reg hack noted, if you've broken the encryption would you want a stake in the firm that's trying to sell it? ®

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