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50,000 pound reward for anybody who can crack Redact

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It's rarely a good idea to underestimate the ingenuity of hackers. Calling a programme "uncrackable" seems positively foolhardy. At least the makers of a new messaging app, Redact, are putting their money where their mouth is. They are offering £50,000 reward to anybody who can crack their code.

The reward is all part of a high-profile publicity campaign for the new app, which promises to give users the kind of encryption security usually only found in highly-sensitive government departments and industrial cyber-security.

Free copies of the app are being offered to all UK MPs, directors of FTSE 250 companies and national newspaper journalists. The journalists may be particularly chagrined by the idea of a secure messaging service as decent encryption for mobile phones would have prevented most of the major tabloid exposes of the last decade.

"We are absolutely confident that our app is completely uncrackable," Redact's creators said, issuing their challenge. "We are offering a standing reward of £50,000 to anyone who can intercept and decode the challenge message which constantly bounces between two phones in our challenge location. We'll even give you the location of the phones to make interception easier."

While most apps are inspired by consumer research, Redact seems to be the first technological response to the Leveson enquiry. That investigation revealed the extent to which the press were able to intercept and decode texts and voicemail, and made celebrities and politicians sensitive to privacy issues. Redact allows users to instantly destroy a message at both the sent and received end of the chain. It is claimed that Redact stores no user information or message content and does not use central servers.

If it takes off, Redact would seem to be the obvious app of choice for celebs and security-conscious politicians. If that proves to be the case, anyone who manages to crack the encryption might find their knowledge is worth rather more than £50,000.

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