Executives at Sony Pictures must be feeling little nervous about what they put in their emails these days.
Following the recent and highly publicized hack where data including thousands of Sony emails was posted online – with some of the messages containing less-than-flattering comments about actors and others in the movie industry – the studio, and no doubt many other major companies across the U.S. and beyond, is now taking a close look at the security of its computer systems in a bid to stop a similar incident from happening again.
Clearly not one to miss a trick, a New York City-based startup this week published an LA Times ad (right) aimed directly at Hollywood for an app that lets users send private messages that self-destruct once they’ve been read.
Related: DT goes hands-on with Confide
A consumer version of Confide has been available for iOS and Android users since earlier this year, though recent events in Hollywood have given the startup the perfect opportunity to push a corporate version, which it says it’s been working on for a while and is due to be released soon.
The ad is an open letter to various Hollywood players – Sony among them – that have recently suffered at the hands of hackers.
How it works
Confide works much like a standard messaging app, with a few key differences. Fire off a message to one of your contacts and it’ll land on their device with the words blanked out. Run your finger over the blocks and the message is revealed one word at a time. Once you’ve finished reading it, it self-destructs, Snapchat-style.
After the message has been read, the sender receives a notification that the message has been viewed. The sender is also notified if the recipient takes a screenshot of it, but with only one word showing at a time, such images reveal next to nothing.
Confide for Business is an enhanced version of the original app, bringing with it extra features such as automatic integration with your company’s address book, and the ability to send PDF, Word, Powerpoint, and Excel documents , as well as images, that are encrypted, ephemeral, and hard to capture via screenshot.
While some users concerned about privacy will likely be taking a closer look at what Confide and apps like it have to offer, the challenge facing startups is convincing people that their software is as safe as they say it is. After all, Snapchat was widely believed to be as secure and private as a one-on-one chat in a park until the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year found it to be misleading consumers on the matter, while several hacks related to the app have also dented confidence.