August 2, 2017 // 9:59 a.m.
Mozilla, the organisation behind the open-source web browser Firefox, has launched a beta for a free end-to-end encrypted, timed-deletion, self-destructing file sharing platform dubbed Send - and it's available to users of any web browser.
Announced as part of a raft of new Test Pilot beta-test programmes - including Voice Fill and Notes, which add speech-to-text voice recognition and note-taking capabilities into the Firefox browser - Send is designed to simplify sending friends, family, or colleagues files up to 1GB in size. 'Sending files over the internet is something many of us do everyday. Mozilla makes it easy to keep your files safe,' claims Mozilla's Nick Nguyen in the launch announcement. 'With Send, your files self-destruct after download, so they can’t be accessed by anyone else. Your files are encrypted during transmission. Plus, Send encrypts files on the client side, so that not even Mozilla can read them.'
The service is designed to be as simple as possible to use: Users visit send.firefox.com from any web browser, select or drag-and-drop a file of up to 1GB in size - larger files are technically supported, but may not upload correctly - and the software automatically encrypts the file then uploads it to a Mozilla server. When the upload is completed, a private link is generated which allows the recipient to download and decrypt the file - after which it is automatically deleted from Mozilla's server. Files are also deleted if they haven't been downloaded within 24 hours of being uploaded - a clever way for Mozilla to minimise the storage space required to run the service.
While the files are encrypted and decrypted on the client side - meaning, in theory, that Mozilla has no access to their data - there is no additional security: The link will allow the first person to click it to download and decrypt the file without the need to prove identity or enter a password. With files being deleted after a single download, though, it's easy to see if someone has beaten you to the punch.