Tech Insight : Sharing Files That Self-Destruct

In this insight, we take a look at some of the many options available for sharing files that self-destruct.

Why?

Many business IT users have occasions where they need to send sensitive information, e.g. passwords and other private work data and files but would feel uneasy about simply sending it via the normal email system, thereby leaving them sitting around inboxes and on servers that may be vulnerable to being compromised. There are, however, apps and websites that enable users to send files that self-destruct after a given time period, giving the sender extra peace of mind. Here are some examples and details of some of the more popular ways to send files that self-destruct.

Keeper Password Manager

Keeper Password Manager incorporates a secure, digital file vault, giving the user the option to set any links they share from there to work only once, and to expire after a set period. As well as incorporating a self-destruct timer, Keeper also offers message retraction, both of which enable the removal unwanted or sensitive messages and files without a trace. Keeper’s time-limited protected sharing of an item with both Keeper users and those who don’t have a Keeper account also means that sensitive items can be shared safely with contacts such as with co-workers, classmates, or family.

WeTransfer

WeTransfer is a popular, easy to use file-sharing app where users can share files up to 2GB for free which expire automatically after seven days. WeTransfer Pro allows users to send and receive up to 200 GB and gives 1 TB storage per person.

pCloud Transfer

pCloud’s app and web interface ‘pCloud Transfer’ allows the sharing of files with pCloud users or those who don’t have a pCloud account. Files sent through pCloud Transfer are available for only 7 days, with the sender and recipient both receiving a reminder email notification before the expiration date. pCloud Transfer is free, no registration is required, and users can send files up to 5 GB either directly via an email from pCloud Transfer or using a secure link. Users can also choose to encrypt their files adding password protection.

Dropbox

Among its many other file sharing features, Dropbox allows users to share a link to a file or folder that is limited to view-only access, and the sharer can add password protection to a shared link, set a link expiration date, and disable downloads.

Privatty

Privatty is an easy-to-use website to send notes or files, using a variety of methods, that will self-destruct. Privatty doesn’t require any personal or login information to use it. Users can write notes or upload files which are then converted into a secure link that can be emailed to the recipient. Users can choose how much time should elapse before the message self-destructs, e.g. in 1, 3, or 24 hours, or in 7 or 30 days. When the contact receives the link, they are given a notification that opening the link will result in its destruction.

SafeNote

Like Privatty, SafeNote it is a free, simple file sharing website-based service that doesn’t ask for any personal information to use it. SafeNote says its ‘SafeNote upload file’ “is the best option when you want to upload a temporary file to share it anonymously.” Users of the service only need to upload a file, share the secure link, and after it is downloaded, the file is completely deleted. Users can set an expiration on the file, and it is deleted within a certain amount of time, even if it was never downloaded. SafeNote says that all files are encrypted when stored on their servers.

Other Ways

Other ways to send self-destructing files include:

– The Telegram app’s ‘Secret chats’ feature.
– WhatsApp’s Disappearing Messages feature.
– The ‘Vanish Mode’ feature in Messenger in Facebook Messenger.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Businesses now need to be security conscious in all aspects of their work and communications and the sophistication of cyber attackers and sheer proliferation of those attacks means that many businesses no longer take the risk of sending sensitive files as attachments to normal emails. Self-destructing file sharing apps and websites provide an easy, fast, mostly free, and much more secure way to share sensitive files and gain the peace-of-mind of knowing that the lifespan of those files can be limited. This also gives much greater control to the sharer/sender in mitigating future risks, e.g. the recipient’s email or other systems being compromised further down the line. There is now a very a wide choice of different apps and websites offering self-destructing file sharing, some of which many businesses may already use other features of, e.g. Dropbox.

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