Whether it’s Google sniffing through my Gmail account, or the National Security Agency tracking my search habits or phone calls, a little paranoia about how secure our personal information really is seems to be a wise course.
There Is No Security
After digging through a dozen Mac apps that can wrap up and encrypt my files, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no such thing as security.
Here’s an example. The Mac app SecureSend lets you encrypt files, tie them to a personal password, so you can send files anywhere in the world.
Does it work? Well, SecureSend will encrypt your files and tie them to a password that only you know.
Files are encrypted with AES, also adopted by the U.S. government and used all over the world. Without the password, whatever you’ve encrypted isn’t likely to be opened.
SecureSend has a free decrypter app for Mac and Windows so you can encrypt text and send it via email and have it read by someone else. It’s an easy copy and paste routine.
Sounds good, right? Sounds secure, right?
So, I ask the basic question that seems rather obvious. How secure is the encrypted file once it has been decrypted on someone else’s Mac or PC?
See? Shades of Mission Impossible’s line, ‘This message will self destruct in 5 seconds.’ Once a file or message has been decrypted it’s fair game for hackers and snoops.
It’d be great if SecureSend had a way for the email message to self destruct or to be usable only by the intended recipient. You know, eyes only.
Recently, two high profile encrypted email services– Silent Circle and Lavabit–shut down rather than cooperate with authorities intent upon spying on everyone. That tells me that the government has fingers deeper into the security pie than we may think.
Think about it. Email messages that are encrypted are also difficult to view, difficult to search through, and just plain painful to manage. Unlike many new Mac apps which have a solution looking for a problem, here we have a problem in need of a usable solution.
SecureSend seems like a good way to package up files or messages and send them to others, but there’s also a need to let others view the files or messages, and give the sender assurance that only the intended recipient has access to the file.
Easier said than done.