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Tech Tonic

The spy files


So you have these spy-like aspirations to secrecy. Or may be you're just irrationally paranoid. Either ways, here are a few resources that are not only fun to use - especially if you reckon yourself to be some kind of espionage agent - but are also quite effective if you're intent on keeping secrets. From sending encrypted messages to creating dummy email inboxes, it's all here. Read on to find out...

>> www. qurify. com/en

You may have seen those QR (Quick Response) codes - square black-and-white boxes - in newspaper advertisements: Scan them with your smartphone camera and you're magically greeted by some hidden text or URL. Well, Qurify. com is a resource that lets you create your own encrypted QR codes to share with friends and family.

To create, type your message - not more than 255 characters in the 'Qurify my message!' box on the web site. Then, click on the "Qurify!" button. Download the QR image that's generated. And pass it on to friends and family through email, social networks, or even by printing it. It's that simple. Smartphones equipped with a QR reader will automatically be able to decrypt the code. Now, while 'Qurifying' stuff is not exactly super secretive, it's uber fun.

>> Privnote. com

'This message will self destruct in 10... 9... 8... seconds'. How many of you remember that scene from Mission Impossible II where secret agent Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise, gets a message from his spy master that self-destructs as soon as he reads it? Well, Privnote is a web message service that's not as dramatic as its movie counterpart, but follows the same principle of self destruction.

No signing up or registration process required. Just write your note, and you'll be provided with a link. Copy and paste that link into an email (or instant message) to send to the person for whom your secret message is intended. When that person clicks the link for the first time, they will see the note in their browser, after which, the note will automatically self-destruct so no one - not even that very same person - can read the note again. The link won't work anymore.

You can also choose to be notified when your note is read by leaving your email address and a reference for the note.

>> Mozaiq. org

Steganography is the science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one - apart from the sender and intended recipient - knows of its existence. The word, which means 'concealed writing', is derived from the Greek steganos meaning "covered or protected", and graphei meaning "writing".

For a brilliant internet way to create your own steganographic messages, visit mozaiq. org/encrypt /. Using the resource, you can hide a secret note within an image that will be invisible to the naked eye and undetectable to everything, except for careful mathematical analysis. Even if detected, your message will be encrypted using a password of your choice, making it impossible to read.

To create a steganograph, upload any image to the site (. png or. jpeg only), but below 128KB in size. Type your secret message, but not more than 1024 characters. Choose a password, and then click on 'Hide Your Message'.
Moziac will create a downloadable. png image file, which looks exactly like the original, but actually has your message encrypted in it. You can rename the picture to something of your choice, but other than that, no other modifications - including converting into another file format - should be made to the image.

You can then send the file to your friends who will have to visit mozaiq. org/decrypt/and follow the instructions to read the secret message. Ah yes, just make sure you intimate them in advance about the password you have set.

>> www. topsecretemail. com

Not as gimmicky as Mozaiq. org, but Top Secrete Mail is an internet service that promises to get the job done just as well. To create a cryptic message, simply click on the 'Encode a Message Now' button. Choose a Unique Key, in simple words, a case-sensitive password. And then type out your message. After you're done, click 'Encode Now'.

The site processes your text and password using complex algorithms and spews out garbled alphanumeric text, which you can then send to your friend.

On receiving the text, your buddy will simply have to type in the password and copypaste the text you sent him into the 'Decode a Message Now' box and Voila!

The good thing about this service is that - unlike the other services - there is no word limit for what you can encode, so you can send huge encrypted emails.

>> Hidemyass. com/anonymous-email /

Creating QR codes and steganographs, sending self-destructing or even encrypted messages is only a part of being a 'Secret Squirrel'. To be a complete spy, you'll need an email address that lets you hide your true identity - Cyberia's version of a dead-letter box. To that effect, you might want to try out Hidemyass. com.

The resource lets you create a fake email address that will intimate you on your real email ID whenever you have received mail in its inbox.

It's an ideal resource for the times when you have to provide an email address to web sites or persons you do not necessarily trust.

Hidemyass lets you hide your true email address and online identity. The best part, you can create temporary - ranging from 24 hours up to 1 year - self-destructing inboxes on the service, after which, Poof! It's all gone!

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