Feeds

McAfee chap is back in crypto-wrap chat app back flap

Claims airtight messaging security for tap-happy youth

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Antivirus pioneer and one-time fugitive John McAfee has backed Chadder, a new instant-messaging app for smartphones that promises "the highest degree of security and privacy."

The app is being marketed by Future Tense Central, a J.McAfee-owned company that claims to be headquartered in Silicon Valley, although McAfee himself was last spotted in Portland, Oregon.

As far as we can tell, however, Chadder was actually developed by Etransfr, a company formed by a group of programmers from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in New York. The official Chadder Google+ page says McAfee "discovered" the Etransfr team, and that they are in a "partnership" with Future Tense Central.

"The social media industry is built around the consumer also being the product," Etransfr founder Lexi Sprague said in a canned statement. "Chadder is here to prove that young people want privacy just as much as adults do.  The application is simple and straight forward with a lot of power given to the user."

Chadder offers security by encrypting and decrypting all messages on the endpoint devices. Although all messages must pass through Chadder's servers, only the encrypted text is ever stored. Etransfr can't read users' messages, the company claims, because only the intended recipient of a message will have the key needed to decrypt it.

In practice, however, the Chadder app is still in a rough state. Reaction from users so far has been mixed, with some criticizing its lack of features and even calling its security into question.

"This application is in beta!" reads a disclaimer on the app's page in the Google Play store. "We published it quickly and there is not a lot of features. The team thought everyone should have access to private messaging."

In addition to Chadder, Future Tense Central also publishes DCentral1, an app that scans the software on your mobile and reports on which permissions each app has been granted. This is not to be confused with D-Central, a similar-sounding gadget that McAfee said he was working on in 2013 but that has yet to materialize. As a press release issued on Monday said, "numerous other privacy and security solutions are under development."

Youtube Video

McAfee, 68, rose to prominence in the 1980s as the founder of McAfee Associates, but later disavowed the antivirus software that bore his name after selling off his stake in the company. Intel has since retired the brand, and McAfee the man has been known more for his bizarre antics than for software in recent years.

Chadder is available today as a free download for Android and Windows Phone, and Future Tense Central said an iOS version is under development and will be released in the coming weeks. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.