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Protect yourself from hackers and the NSA

Mike Elgan | Feb. 9, 2015
Two communication apps called Confide and Dstrux, are "ephemeral" message services, but unlike Snapchat, they are aimed at professionals.

Confide is also working on a paid version called Confide for Business, which the company says will ship in "early 2015." Confide for Business will have address book integration, distribution lists and other features. Confide is also working on a desktop version.

When you send a message to someone who doesn't have the Confide app installed, a button on the recipient's message opens the Apple App Store or Google Play Store on the Confide page so he can download it.

Dstrux

Dstrux is similar to Confide. It's a way to send messages and documents that are both encrypted and self-destructing. It enables sharing over Facebook or Twitter, but only a link to the secure content in the cloud is shared.

It can be viewed, but not printed, copied, saved or captured with a screenshot.

Before sending a message with Dstrux, you decide how long the message will last before it self-destructs; the length of time can be measured in days, hours or minutes. You can choose to blur content and allow or disallow forwarding. The attachment or picture can be accompanied by a message.

As is the case with Confide, a Dstrux message sent to someone who doesn't have the app prompts the recipient to install it. Once the app is installed, the recipient has to work to see any picture sent. Swiping a finger across a picture shows only what's under the finger, and only for a second or so. It's like finger painting on the screen. If you want to see the full image, you have to rapidly swipe all over the screen, then look fast before it vanishes.

One cool feature of Confide is that both the recipient and the sender have the ability to delete a message. And the sender can change the amount of time a message will last before it self-destructs. So if you initially set a message to be viewable for a week but change your mind after sending it, you can shorten its life span remotely — you can even choose to instantly delete it.

So which app should you choose: Confide or Dstrux?

My recommendation is to download and install them both. They're free. Their feature sets are different enough to merit an "all of the above" selection.

In general, Confide is more elegantly designed and somewhat easier and more pleasant to use for basic communication. Dstrux gives the sender more options and control, but is slightly less appealing to use.

The most important thing is that you download and use one or both of these apps. They're both easy to use. And if you ever find yourself hacked or snooped upon, you may decide that they were worth the trouble.

 

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