Make your email disappear

Disappearing Email is developed by Disappearing Inc., which already offers a version for corporations. That product lets system managers set email policies and includes several sophisticated features.

The free edition for Outlook, which becomes available this week, focuses on simplicity. When you download the Disappearing Email for Microsoft Outlook plug-in (about 350KB) from Disappearing's website, it's automatically installed and a "Send Disappearing" icon appears on the Outlook toolbar. (The plug-in doesn't currently work with Outlook Express.)You use Outlook in the normal way to compose messages. If you want to set a time limit on the message, you click the Send Disappearing icon. The plug-in encrypts your messages using the 128-bit Blowfish algorithm. It accesses Disappearing's key server through a secure link, assigns a unique decryption key, and sends the message on its way. (A drop-down menu lets you set a time limit for the message, but the default is 45 days.)The simplicity of the system is underscored on the receiving side. The recipient doesn't need a plug-in or any special software to read your message. Your mail can be read by any mail client that handles HTML, including all major email programs and browser-based email such as Hotmail or Yahoo. When the recipient opens the email, the message retrieves the decryption key from Disappearing's key server and it's displayed in decrypted form.

But after the time limit specified by the sender, the decryption key is erased from Disappearing's key server, making the message unreadable and effectively destroying it, even if the recipient stored it.

Unlike some other mail encryption utilities such as SigabaSecure, introduced last week, Disappearing Email doesn't attempt to authenticate the recipient's identity.

This leaves the onus on the sender to make sure the message isn't sent to the "wrong" people. Anyone who receives it can read it during its allotted life. But that's not the program's primary function, according to Maclen Marvit, Disappearing's chief executive officer. Rather, Disappearing Email for Microsoft Outlook is designed to solve what he terms one of the biggest problems of electronic communications: "messages hanging around."

The free version of Disappearing Email doesn't offer some of the more sophisticated features of the corporate version. The free version can't call back a message before it's read, or track when messages have been read.

Company representatives say they're working on a Disappearing plug-in for Lotus Notes, and expect to soon release free plug-ins for other popular email programs, such as Outlook Express and Eudora.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stan Miastkowski

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?