Security Experts:

New Service Enables Encrypted Social Media Communications

Wave Systems, a Massachusetts-based provider of security, data protection and encryption solutions, today launched "Scrambles", a new service designed to enable users to post secure content across social media sites.

Scrambls is free and allows businesses and consumers to encrypt text over services including Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail, and define who can and cannot see the “scrambled” posts.

The service also lets developers to build encrypted messaging into their own solutions via an API.

scrambls logoIn order to use Scrambls, users on both ends must install the Scrambls Web browser plug-in which is available for all major Web browsers.

Once the plug-in is installed, the company says that with a single click, users can make posts private (encrypted), even across different groups of contacts on multiple social networks, and lets users decide what the privacy policy will be for each post they share.

To "scrambl" messages, users enable scrambls in their Web browser to encode part or all of a message before it’s uploaded to a social media site.

The service works by utilizing a "key" required for someone to read a post. The key gets stored on scrambls servers while the encoded post is sent to the service provider. When the post is later displayed, scrambls applies the key in order to  decrypt the message and make it readable again. The author owns these keys and can set the policy for whom and when to make them available.

To further protect users’ privacy, the social media services themselves are not able to see posts, as they are is encoded before being delivered to the respective service platforms.

Friends with “permission” to view posts will see posts the same as usual for them, while anyone else that was not approved to read the post will see “scrambld” text.

“Greater control enables greater use of social media,” said Michael Sprague, scrambls co-creator. “Post confidently, knowing your boss won’t see messages meant for high school friends, and permanent records of what you say online won’t come back to haunt you in the future.”

The company explains that in addition to letting users choose who can see postings, it also can control when messages appear, for how long and much more.

The company adds that if someone makes a posts something and later changes their mind change, the post can be "taken back" by changing the groups or individuals permitted to read that post.

The software developer kit (SDK) to enable third-party apps and sites to integrate scrambls, and businesses can leverage the SDK to incorporate scrambls into their existing corporate policy services.

While the service initially only supports text, the company said that scrambls would soon let users control who sees photos and videos, too.

While the service seems like a fun way to engage in communications with friends with added privacy controls, those looking to communicate more sensitive information should be cautious when relying on such services and consider a more robust, enterprise-grade secure communications solutions.

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