Wednesday, September 04, 2013

One Way Around

I think about secrecy a lot.
I like to think of cheap and or simple solutions that don't need a government budget to be used.
I've been thinking about my AlphaSmart 3000 recently. Mostly because it can't connect to the Internet but is in itself a basic word processor, and a fairly robust (in terms of construction) one at that. It has a four line LCD screen and so it's difficult for anyone to peer over your shoulder while you're working on it without being really bloody obvious. This means it can be used almost anywhere and is easy and practical to bump around in your shoulder bag. It's a good starting point for any text you'd like to keep to yourself or share with a select few. Each of the eight files you can store in the device can be password protected. It's weak protection but better than none. It also has an on / off button on the keyboard and when pressed off the device will hold everything in memory without a save so it's good for unwelcome interruptions.
So where now?
I plugged the AlphaSmart into my iPad today and by pressing the "Send File" button it happily transferred my text to the iPad. That's good but my iPad is far from secure so I needed an intermediary.
Getting files off the AlphaSmart is easy but could I get them in? The simple answer is Yes. A small piece of software called "Get Utility" is designed to send clipboard text back into the AlphaSmart.
One more step.
I have another piece of software called KRYPTA which uses strong encryption and copies encrypted text to the clipboard. So there is the complete puzzle.
Here's the method. (NB The netbook stays offline the whole time and the clipboard is purged before shutdown.)
1. Type on AlphaSmart.
2. Send file to KRYPTA and encrypt.
3. Encrypted content appears in Get Utility via clipboard.
4. Send encrypted text back to AlphaSmart.
5. Connect AlphaSmart to iPad to forward encrypted text.
So there it is. A simple and low cost solution for moving your secrets around. As long as your PC, Netbook or laptop remains offline (permanently) you can be 99% sure that by the time anyone gains access to your kit the message will be past its sell by date.
I hope this is useful to someone or inspires you to find work arounds to the problem of keeping your thoughts safe. If you can find holes in my method be sure to let me know.
I do like a good problem.

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