by Vincent Chang | CNET Asia | 30 April 2012
by Vincent Chang | CNET Asia | 30 April 2012 7:43pm SGT
Almost every other day, you're likely to read about some hacking incident in the news. This CNET story even has a handy timeline of the major hacking events since July last year. Mind you, these are just the more significant ones.
For every hack that made the news, there are probably many that go unreported. Whether it's industrial espionage or governments cracking down on dissidents, there's a case to be made that you need to cover your electronic trail. Singapore-based security firm, Rune, has introduced a solution--Deadbolt--to protect your email and messages from unwanted attention. Best of all, it's touted to be unbreakable.
Deadbolt comes in either a USB thumbdrive or a portable HDD. You attach the device to your computer, enter a numeric password to unlock it and then launch the Deadbolt application that's already on it. A toolbar will appear and you simply need to select the text to be encrypted--it can be from any document or you can even encrypt an entire file. Then, copy and paste the encrypted text into your email or even in a Facebook post.
As the encryption scheme is based on a combination of the Vernam cipher (also known as a one-time pad) and OpenPGP encryption, Rune claims that it's unbreakable since the cipher is randomly generated. The only way for someone to read the encrypted text is to have physical possession of the Deadbolt device. Even if someone else were to get hold of the device, they would still need the numeric password to unlock it and enter an additional password within the application to decrypt the text.
Of course, the downside is that every user who requires access will need to have a Deadbolt device with a similar Vernam cipher. In other words, they must be customized to work together. This can be done by Rune or by users through a separate application. Deadbolt doesn't come cheap either. The portable HDD version that we received for testing cost around US$2,000.
According to Rune, Deadbolt is available through select software re-sellers, though you'll have to email the company to get the list. The company also has a Deadbolt Lite application available for download on its Web site for US$10. You won't get the Vernam cipher with this Lite version, but you'll get the OpenPGP encryption, which is good enough for the majority of us who aren't dealing in trade secrets.