Confide debuts business product, offers it free to Sony

The Snapchat competitor is the first company so far to capitalize on the Sony hacking

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 23, 2014
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Now that the Sony hacks have been in the news for a while now, it's time for us to evolve on the issue. We need to go from the "I'm curious to see what was leaked, while also slightly outraged that this happened" mode to the "ok, so are they actually going to do anything to fix this?" stage. 

Frankly, I'm a little surprised it took this long, but we finally have a company that is looking to capitalize on the incident. Where's our American ingenuity when we really need it?

Snapchat competitor Confide, a provider of self-destructing messaging app that it is "bringing off-the-record conversations online" launched a new business version of its product on Tuesday, along with an offer for Hollywood: free services for life.

Confide for Business, as it is called, will have all of the features of Confide, "plus several enhancements," the company wrote. That includes address book integration, which sync Confide with a company’s address book.

It will also come with distribution lists, so that users can create and manage Confide distribution lists for groups within their company,  and the ability to send PDF, Word, Powerpoint, and Excel documents , and images , that are encrypted, ephemeral and screen-shot proof.

According to Confide, the company has been asked many times over the last year for an enterprise version of its app, calls which only "increased and intensified over the past few weeks."

"When we started Confide nearly a year ago, we wanted to fundamentally change the way professionals communicate online — both as individuals as well as within their companies. We created a secure, efficient way for people to share sensitive information digitally," the company wrote. "We created a platform free from the vulnerabilities of the Internet’s permanent digital record and the cloud, and protected from hacks, leaks and even recipients."

Even if the idea for creating a business version of Confide didn't simply spring up overnight, the company is not letting a good opportunity and timing go to waste. To coincide with the launch, the company also took out an ad in the LA Times on Tuesday, announcing that it will be offering this service for free for the major entertainment studios, labels and networks "in support of the Hollywood community."

The letter, which is addressed to Sony Entertainment, as well as Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton (two of the most well-known victims of the iCloud hacking in September, which resulted in the leaking of a slew of naked celebrity pictures) starts out by sympathizing with their situations, noting that each one "has been a victim of a vicious attackfcall," one that Confide blames on the cloud.

"As you now all painfully understand: everything you write digitally, every picture you take, every document you send - all ends up in the cloud, archived forever, across vast numbers of servers you have no control over," the ad continues. "The cloud is like a crazy copy machine spewing copies of your private conversations everywhere. And your recipients retain a permanent copy in the cloud, easily accessible even decades later."

And so it revealed that it is offering Sony, "and all other entertainment studios," a free lifetime contract for its new Business product. 

There is no word yet on whether or not Sony will be taking Confide up on its offer. VatorNews has reached out to Sony to find out and we will update this story if we learn more. 

Here is the ad, in it's entirety:

What is Confide?

Confide is a lot like Snapchat: both allow people to send encrypted messages that self destruct after a certain period of time. Snapchat, though, has come under some amount of fire for not being as secure as it proclaimed to be. 

That became a big issue when Snapchat was hacked, resulted in the release of a bunch of naked pictures of a lot of non-famous people.  Snapchat was not responsible for the leaking of its images (a third party site took the blame for the hacking) but it still serves as a reminder that the things we think are safe may not be.

So what makes Confide different? Here is what it says on its FAQ page: "We employ end-to-end encryption to ensure conversations remain confidential and are private to you. Even we at Confide cannot decrypt or see any messages. Yes, after messages are read once they disappear."

The service even tries to prevent screenshots from being taken.

"We have two forms of screen shot protection. We alert you (and the recipient) if the recipient attempts to take a screen shot. Plus, messages are concealed until you "wand" over them with your finger. This ensures that only a limited number of characters are revealed at any one time."

Founded in 2013, the New York City-based company raised a  $1.9 million seed round in February, led by WGI Group. Other participants include Google Ventures, First Round Capital, SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, CrunchFund, Lakestar, Marker, BoxGroup, Jeremy Stoppelman, Doug Ellin and Billy Bush.

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