Introducing Message Vault
About a month ago, I was mulling over an issue, and thought I had a fairly decent idea to fix it. I was wondering how to pass on information about my "online life" to my wife, should I be struck by a bus and put into a coma (God forbid). All of the real-world stuff is taken care of, but my online world has some value too, and I'd like to see it cared for.
It turns out that I did quite a bit of "reinventing the wheel", mostly due to ignorance on my part - but what it led me to was a unique solution. Encrypted messages are nothing new - but usually require specialized software to read/write/encrypt. The concept of a self-decrypting archive (SDA) is also nothing new, but existing SDAs are often platform-dependent (tied to a particular operating system), and are also usually treated as an executable file (less ease of sharing). Sure, you can password-protect a Word document, but if you want to share it, the recipient also needs to have Word installed (possibly even a specific version of Word).
browser chart). They can be created/edited with either Internet Explorer or Firefox (on Mac, PC, or Linux). They are also very portable, as an HTML file can be shared via email, FTP, website, removable disk, you name it.
So, if there's a message you want to share, but only with a chosen group of people. You can use Message Vault to write it, encrypt it, and then share the HTML file with your friends, sending them the password through a separate channel. Ideas for use off the top of my head include sharing login/passwords (like my original inspiration), or Mom's famous recipe for Chicken Picatta, or maybe sales figures you want to share with a co-worker, or a diary entry meant only for your future self. Whatever you want to use it for (you may want to verify that it's legal to use 128-bit encryption in your country/locale first).
This project would have gone nowhere without the assistance of a number of very helpful contributors. First, Jeremy Ruston
and his TiddlyWiki
for the inspiration to create a robust tool that relies on the browser to read and write local files. Second, Paul Johnston (Paj)
, and the other contributors listed on that page. And last, but not least, my friend Ben Adida
, for patiently guiding me through the somewhat bewildering world of cryptography.
I hope this is a useful tool. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you have any questions or issues (or bugs). Also, if this is all rather confusing, there is a short Screeencast demo linked from the main page at messagevault.org
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