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I Can See Everything You Email

Feb 3, 2008
I had an opportunity recently to attend a convention of hackers and crackers. Yes they do get together and share secrets.

I wanted to get a first hand pulse on privacy and security on the web. I think it can pretty much be summed up by this comment from one of the hackers I ran into: "I can read anything you send in your email."

Well my email is pretty boring, and yes, I know you can read my email, even my own government can read my email, that's why I decided to figure out how to protect my own privacy. I want to share my results with you.

At the convention, I started asking the question "How can I communicate with my business partners in a private environment?" My partners and I share many items in a given day and some of them are critical to our success. We need a way to talk to each other in a secure environment.

The answer was straightforward: "Use an encrypted email program."

Yes, but I don't want to invest in any more software. I like my current email program. I'm a fan of Google's Gmail service. Encrypted email programs are just band-aids. What if I'm on the road? What if I need to communicate with a business partner right now?

On the way home, I decided that email was not a safe communication method if one wanted to protect certain business ideas and concepts. Sending a letter would be pretty safe, but very slow. Instant messaging would work, but alas, instant messaging is more vulnerable to outside attack that email. I wanted a full proof, private communication method, in real-time.

And don't tell me to pickup the phone. That's the most tapped system we have!

A Google search turned up nothing. That's when I decided to invent my own service exclusively for my business partners.

This is what we came up with: a 128-bit encrypted, real-time messaging service that doesn't use port-to-port communication like instant messaging. Our private service looks and feels like instant messaging but it stays completely away from the engineering design that makes instant messaging so vulnerable to attack.

Furthermore, our private service destroys all messages once the parties leave the site. Thus, no trace that anybody was there.

Why 128-bit encryption? Well, the only thing you really need to know is security experts agree, there isn't enough energy left in the sun to power all the computers needed to decrypt a 128-bit encrypted message.

After using our private service for a few months, we all decided that it would be acceptable to open the service to other businesses and individuals. So now, Private Business Chat is available to the public.

There are many reasons why a person would want to use real-time encrypted chat: legal matters, business concepts, personal matters. These days, you just don't know who is monitoring your phone, mail, email, or conversations. Why take the chance?

I realize the United States has bona fide reasons to be a surveillance nation, but I have my reasons to protect my business ideas and communication with my partners. I think Private Business Chat is a nice compromise.
About the Author
John Hart is founder of Private Business Chat.
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