A leak in a recent Panama political election, Edward Snowden and BlackBerry Messenger don’t appear to have much in common, but all played a role in the creation of the latest secure messaging app called Criptext.
Co-founded by Mayer Mizrachi, Criptext was unveiled just last week in New York City as a communication app designed for security and privacy. Like other messaging app, Criptext has disappearing text messages and emails where users only have a select amount of time to read them. Unlike other those other apps, however, Criptext has several additional features and is not geared for users like you and me.
Criptext is designed for large, Fortune 500 companies, organizations and government entities. All current and new users for the foreseeable future have to reach out directly to Criptext, set up a security plan and then have Criptext create network for the company prior to gaining account access.
“We actually operate under the idea that any encryption can be broken,” Mizrachi said in an interview with MacRage. “We focus on intelligence rather than encryption. … You want to basically cover the majority of the risk, the diversifiable risk.”
Criptext does not just have screenshot notification, like Snapchat, Cyberdust and similar apps, it is screenshot proof. Mizrachi said the company has a patent pending for its screenshot proof feature.
With the leaks by Snowden, who revealed secrets of the NSA spying and the standstill that is BlackBerry messaging technology Mizrachi said the market is ripe for companies to want better, increased security for private text messages and emails.
While the outdated BBM and Snowden are central to the inspiration of Criptext, it was a recent election in Panama that served as the light bulb moment for the company. According to Mizrachi a (unnamed) candidate operative was working on a coalition with an opposing party in Panama when the messages between the two parties leaked.
“It tarnished the entire party and ultimately ended up failing the coalition,” Mizrachi said. “If you can’t communicate securely, where do you do it then? Obviously encryption was not solving (the problem).”
From that moment Mizrachi said it was apparent that a more secure way to communicate was necessary. BBM, he said, had initially was a great messaging function but it never evolved with technology.
Criptext works by granting an account administrator at one organization with full control over whom within the organization/company has access to specific functionalities. Remotely the administrator can add, temporarily suspend and delete users within seconds.
Like other messaging apps, a window of how many seconds a message appears is shown. However with its patent-pending technology, a screenshot cannot work to gain information from a text using Criptext, Mizrachi said.
Mizrachi said while hackers are an issue, most leaks comes from human error and human interaction. It can be a simple as leaving a phone on the table or accidentally sending an email to the wrong person.
Each message, he said, is "untraceably encrypted," which protects the user’s identity. Texts and emails received on Criptext are not tied to the sender's name and all information is deleted after 15 seconds. A private network within the app means emails/text can't be sent to members of the press, personal email accounts or accidentally sent to someone outside the company.
“You’re protecting the confidentiality of an entire organization,” Mizrachi said. “You can’t control what people say and in large organization and what people say can effect negatively the entire organization. You can, however, control the medium in which they say it.”
Companies that will gain access to Criptext’s services will have to be approved by Criptext first. Mizrachi said this, and the fact the services are not free, means the app will be more likely not to be misused and to protect the integrity of the app. Mizrachi said mobile users wanting secure messages need to beware of free messaging apps.
When he meets potential clients/investors Mizrachi said he always asks them what app they use and if they paid for it.
“I usually get no,” he said. “If you’re not paying for the product then you are the product. When it comes to your security, are you wiling to put your information at risk? If you are not paying for it, can you really rely that your information is not used for monetization in the near future?”
For more information on Criptext, visit criptext.com.