Self-Destructing Emails: Mission Impossible?

January 14, 2015

Unless you were hiding under a rock at the end of 2014, you will have heard of the Sony hacking scandal. Big news in the tech world. The hackers, who went by the name of “the Guardians of Peace”, were able to hack into private data belonging to Sony Pictures employees and their families – including confidential emails between employees. The brazen hackers then went on to demand that the movie The Interview – a comedy about a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un – was cancelled.

But would there have been a way of avoiding the embarrassment that ensued after the world was given a preview of their private emails? Imagine if those emails could have self-destructed, Mission Impossible-style?

As it turns out, it could have been avoided. I first heard of DSTRUX when it launched last April, but it’s really been propelled into the limelight following the Sony scandal. In fact, Nathan Hecht, founder and chief executive, has reported that their numbers have doubled in the wake of it.

So how does DSTRUX actually work? How is it possible to back-track after the “send” button has been pressed? *if only this worked for texts too…*

To put it simply, DSTRUX is a cloud-based system that enables users to control the viewing of their emails. The viewer will never be able to hold on to or copy a document before it is virtually “shredded” – for good. Files are uploaded to what can be described as a “neutral space quarantine” system, and viewed by the recipient at a specific URL. Any part of the message that is not being actively scrolled over and read is blurred to avoid capturing screenshots, and the print function is disabled.

Snapchat-style, you can set a time limit on your email (from an hour to a month), and then track every recipient who viewed it and forwarded it.

One of the reasons DSTRUX appeals to me is because it brings back an element of control. Usually when something is shared on the web, you lose control of it. With DSTRUX, you leave zero digital footprint. When they’re gone, they really are gone.

Added bonus: the service is (for now) free. The company hopes to eventually make its money from offering bulk mailing service to corporate clients.

From a marketing perspective, I also like the idea of knowing who is opening my emails. Along with the “poof and it’s gone” element, this is one of the biggest draws. What’s your opinion on DSTRUX?