You have been on the Internet awhile and things may never seem to have been so bad as today. Internet communication seems to be riddled with advertising, fake news, phishing, click-bait, and viruses. More uncertainty is introduced everyday. Email is failing and has become the primary attack vector into our computers and phones. Trust in basic document exchanges does no longer exist.
It seems we have to look around three and four corners to get anything done safely on the Internet whether it is being careful connecting to the hotel WiFi or hiding our screen from our neighbor on the airplane. Things are just getting more and more complicated and the burdon on the average user has become unreasonable.
What To Do
There is unfortunately no secret or magic wand that we can wave to make us safer on the Internet again. The innocence of the original Internet creators and their sense of wonder of building this incredible network has long faded. Now, we have to use diligence every day. However, it does not mean that we can not challenge the status quo.
By using tools like XcooBee for specific part of your Internet life (privacy and documents) you will go a long way to introducing more sanity. XcooBee protects you in quite a few different ways. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:
Cost fights Spam
Yes, cost seems like a bad word on the “free” Internet. We routinely give away our privacy, click on many “I Agree” buttons, simply to avoid cost. Thus, cost drives our behavior, and cost has a role to play. This does not necessarily mean that real dollars are involved, just the perception of cost through virtual points is sufficient. In essence, cost, whether virtual or real, impacts the use of any system.
In the case of XcooBee, we use a point system. Though everyone gets free points, the use of them drives decisions. It also introduces scarcity. No longer can participants in the system sent a billion emails without any consequences. They will run into the points barrier quickly. Thus through virtual points we are able to reduce unwanted communication, spam in other words, drastically.
Smart Access Controls
Further, with even the most basic subscription levels, users open up the access-code system. We wanted for anyone to publish their XcooBee Id (XId) on a wall with the full assurance that this would not automatically lead to more messaging and spam (Don’t try this with your email address). We invented the access code system. It is a mechanism that allows users to control who can send them documents. Any sender will need the XId and Access Code to successfully reach a user who has this system enabled. The user can generate a new code at any-time. Once, you have connected successfully you will be able to automatically talk to each other in the future without further barriers. Of course, we also have the old blocked senders lists.
Sender Validations and Spoofs
In email, anyone can pretend to be anyone else on the base technology level. In other words, email senders can easily take on the identity of someone else, maybe someone you trust, and, make you believe that the contents are legitimate more easily. In XcooBee that is not possible. Though, we allow people to use any designation they wish, we also display the validation level that that account has gone through with us. In addition, we also are working on implementing AI based behavior graphs that show you when sent documents or people are less popular or desired. Good behavior leads to better scores.
We are not saying that accounts cannot be compromised by social engineering or hackers stealing passwords. There are mitigation steps for those on XcooBee as well, of course, but, no one can pretend to be someone else on the technology level of XcooBee. And, you will always see the validation score of anyone that is sending you files and documents.
No Links or HTML
XcooBee uses plain text as the default exchange format. Remember when emails just had text instead of pictures, buttons, and tables. Yes, they were less pretty to look at, but much safer. XcooBee is bringing the safety back. Furthermore, we do not allow people to enter HTML or links in any of the inputs we provide.
When we generate messages, for example when you use the Simple Message Bee, we actually generate PDF documents. By limiting this aspect and removing HTML wherever possible, we reduce possible click hijacking inside our network. As usual, other people may send you documents with HTML and URL embedded in them. Please use due diligence.
Filtered Document Lists
Though XcooBee platform can send documents, not all documents are created equal. Some documents, are masquerading as good and can cause damage to your computers. For example, someone can send you scripts or executable files. Like many corporate systems, we will only allow specific documents to be transferred and communicated via XcooBee. A complete list of allowed document types is available on our website. We removed most of the common sources of danger used by hackers.
This reduces the common attack vectors, but as usual we ask our users to be vary of documents that are unexpected and out of character.
Automatic Virus Checking
For higher level subscriptions we are working on making a new form of Artificial Intelligence based virus checking available. This should allow all users to connect to our partners to validate that there is no known virus hiding inside. We are respectful of your privacy so our system will not send your actual file to be checked as it is done with traditional virus checkers. Instead, our approach is based on meta-data (data about your file). In other words, we are taking a specific X-Ray and inspecting it for deseases.
XcooBee makes the use of encryption easy and transparent. Every data-point whether it is flying through our network to you or is being stored in our databases and file systems is encrypted with industry standard encryption. In addition, we make it easy for you to bring your own encryption keys and manage them. So that what you send can be automatically signed with your keys and people can send you special purpose encrypted documents. In those cases not, you are further guaranteeing that not even the XcooBee network will have insight into the contents.
You can still build your workflows based on the content though. Since XcooBee is a semantic network, you can describe to us what the content is without revealing the actual details. For example, you can say it is a contract and build workflow rules that use your keys and handle contracts.
There more things that we do at XcooBee to secure your internet life that go beyond the send-receive of documents life-cycle. There are exciting things that we do surrounding signups, form handling, privacy user-data management, etc. Watch out for further articles or contact us to learn more.