It’s happened to the best of us. You hit the “send” key on a document, image, or video, and then have that sinking feeling you shouldn’t have. Don’t worry. A new service called DSTRUX claims to give you complete control over who sees your files. That’s even to the point of making those files self-destruct, if necessary — even if they were shared by email!
DSTRUX allows you to track your files in real-time to see their location and status. When a recipient opens the file, they will be unable to forward, alter, copy, download, or print it. So any confidential business documents are safe from being passed on. (Unless someone were to take a paper and pen and copy the information down the old fashioned way, that is.)
When uploading a file to the DSTRUX servers, you can set a time limit on how long people can see the file before it disappears for good. You can specify who can see it, and who can’t.
Links to these files can even be placed in Facebook updates or in emails. One thing to note, however, is that the service currently doesn’t support Microsoft text files.
So how can you stop files from being copied, forwarded, altered, downloaded or printed? What strange black magic is at work here?
In actual fact, no magic is involved at all. The file is not actually on the recipient’s machine. Instead it is streamed via DSTRUX.
When the file is opened, it will be blurred, and only those with the permission from the file or document’s creator will be able to view it. Those with permission can click down on their space bar to see the document. Let go of the space bar and it becomes blurred again. It may all sound very cloak and dagger, but if you have information that can sink your business, it pays to be smart and have some security.
In an interview with Small Business Trends, Nathan Hecht, CEO and Founder of DSTRUX explained:
“Everyday small businesses put themselves at risk when they share information online. DSTRUX will give them the ability to stay in complete control of these communications. No longer will small business owners have to worry about their intellectual property being compromised. They now have the ability to designate exactly who sees their documents, and track in real-time the location and status of them. This level of control is unprecedented in the digital age.”
For the next three months, DSTRUX is free for all users. So you can test drive the service and kick the tires without cost. The company says it expects to offer only one plan at a yet to be determined price. But the price is expected to be based on the number of files sent using the service each month. The more space you need on DSTRUX servers, the more you will be charged.
The service is also available outside the U.S. Hecht says that he is seeing numerous users popping up in the UK, Germany, Israel, and India.
As for the future, the company has plans to enhance the service. For example, you can now place links to information on the DSTRUX server in an email. So far, you can control who can click through and see the material or how long it will be available. But DSTRUX says it will eventually be possible to control the email itself, or an instant message or other online communication.
That’s quite neat but can this work on e-mail or social messages? After all, these are the places where you usually share stuff that you shouldn’t. It would be great if you can also do this on SMS.
The links that DSTRUX generates can be copied and pasted anywhere the file owner wishes to paste them. And when the time limit ends, the link becomes inactive and useless. If you have a smartphone, you could also copy and paste into SMS messages I guess.
DSTRUX sounds quite cool, but I think where’s there a will, there’s a way – for example, couldn’t someone use his/her smartphone to take a picture of the shared document if they really wanted to?
Good point! DSTRUX, over to you!
I think at best DSTRUX will make it more difficult for a recipient to copy a file (if the sender doesn’t want it copied), but not impossible.
I think if you put a digital camera or video camera on a tripod and either take digital pictures or video tape the content of any message, there’s no way any technology can stop that.
The problem with all of these disappearing technologies is at the end of it, human eyeballs have to see it. It’s the reason they were never able to stop music piracy – because human ears have to hear it. Once data has to be decoded by human ears and eyes, it’s over as far as privacy or security goes.
If ANDROIDS were the ones receiving the data – yeah, I can see it being secure. But since it’s humans, forget it.
This is just a fad… like SnapChat or Angry Birds or Instagram or Twitter. At least those apps have cute names DSTRUX sounds like some old Soviet Era tank that’s steamrolling down the internet.
It’s easier than that. I was able to capture the image in Firefox’s client window using IrfanView. They do manage to block PrintScreen; but there are other ways.