A new messaging tool has been launched that mimics the design and features of apps such as Whatsapp and Snapchat, but provides high-end security to meet the needs of business.
The free PQChat app has been created by a company called SRD Wireless and has been launched for iOS devices with a version for Android in the works. It is based on the company's patented 'Never-The-Same' (NTS) encryption technology.
This is based on an encryption system called the McEliece cryptosystem, which SRD says has never been broken by modern techniques.
As such, SRD said the app is ideal for staff looking to chat and share information securely, especially when sending sensitive data ranging from health records to merger and acquisitions plans over mobile devices.
PQChat allows users to send messages, voice notes, videos and images knowing they are secure and cannot be seen by unintended third-parties using a variety of different security tools, starting with the NTS encryption.
NTS randomises the encryption used on each message, so attackers cannot recognise patterns in the encryption, while each user can set their own five-digit passcodes, mixing letters and numbers, to access the device.
Voice and video authentication tools are also available, so users can double check that they are about to send information to the right person. A 'Locker' tool also allows key information sent to be stored within the app for retrieval when required.
Users can also delete messages remotely after they have been sent, either manually or preset to self-destruct, and receive notifications that a message has been seen and read by a recipient if it is particularly sensitive or important.
Andersen Cheng, chief executive of SRD Wireless, told V3 that the product was ideal for enterprises, as staff send increasing amounts of data over unsecure platforms like Whatsapp.
"We know for example that in some hospitals doctors use Whatsapp to send pictures of X-rays to consultants. There is no accountability there or security," he said.
"With PQChat we are creating something secure and accountable so that staff can send information knowing it is not at risk."
Cheng added that the importance of keeping data secure and encrypted in the post-Snowden era is far more understood and recognised than previously, as companies sit up and take notice of how damaging data leaks can be.
The app is free to download or enterprises can pay on a per-user basis, which provides additional controls such as full message backup and audit trails. Cheng said the firm is also considering charging a small fee per year, similar to Whatsapp, for the basic version.
"We don't data mine anything sent over the platform. We don't touch that information. Because of this we can't use this data to sell to advertisers, for example, so we have to find other ways to monetise the platform," he said.
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