Dispel's Privacy as a Service Technology Emerges From Stealth

By Sean Michael Kerner  |  Posted 2015-12-10 Print this article Print
privacy as a service

Using multiple cloud providers, the service provides private connections and systems to enable user privacy.

Privately held startup Dispel (dispel.io) officially launched its privacy-as-a-service offering on Dec. 9, providing what it has branded as invisible connections and invisible computers to privacy-conscious users.

"We have built an engine that allows us to dynamically generate unattributable, encrypted and ephemeral infrastructure using multiple cloud providers," Ethan Schmertzler, CEO of Dispel, told eWEEK.

That infrastructure is used to deliver Dispel's invisible connection and invisible computer service. The invisible connection links a user's device into Dispel's network in a manner that protects the user's identity, location and content. Schmertzler noted that the invisible connection does not make use of the Tor network at all. Tor is a popular technology that seeks to enable anonymous network connections for users.

"We are a totally new proprietary technology," he said. "There are no fixed network targets and nothing is publicly listed, so users don't need to trust a random stranger."

Because there is turnover in the virtual machines that Dispel uses, an attacker cannot easily trace or log a connection back through the network to identify a user, Schmertzler added.

"There isn't a target profile created when someone connects to our infrastructure, as we use a random IP address that is rotated," he said. "We use multiple cloud providers, so no single provider has all the information and all the pieces."

In addition, Dispel is making use of cloud providers in multiple countries to route traffic.

Dispel's other service is the invisible computer, which provides users with a virtual machine that enables a virtual desktop infrastructure, including commonly used office suite tools. The virtual machine is destroyed after the user session is completed, with all memory wiped of its existence to help further protect user privacy.

"When using the invisible computer, we store the data in an encrypted format in memory," Schmertzler said.

Dispel is using Ubuntu Linux as the operating system for the invisible computer and is including the LibreOffice office suite for productivity tools, according to Schmertzler.

Although Dispel is only now officially coming out of its stealth mode, Schmertzler noted that his company already has customers as well as some very interesting use cases of how the invisible connection and computer technology is enabling privacy. For example, Dispel has partnered with an American biotech company that is doing preclinical work in the Ukraine, he said. The biotech company was concerned about intellectual property theft and, as such, is making use of Dispel to securely and anonymously transmit data to the United States.

To date, Dispel has raised $3 million in financial backing and, thanks to the institutional clients that the company already has, it is already generating seven figures of revenue, Schmertzler said.

Moving forward, Dispel could end up with more services than just the invisible connection and computer offerings.

"The nature of our engine is that you can put any kind of infrastructure into an ephemeral network, and in the coming months we'll be looking at where market demand leads us," Schmertzler said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel