Privacy and security startup based in Boston Coveredtoday launched its apps that allow users to create unique proxy emails, phone numbers and passwords for online accounts.
The company, which has been in private beta for the past two years, is now making its solution available to everyone through its web app, Chrome extension, and mobile apps (available for Android and iOS).
Founded in 2020 by brothers Arjun and Abhijay Bhatnagar, Clocked allows users to create “identities” consisting of usernames, passwords, email addresses and phone numbers. People can use these identities for different categories of websites such as e-commerce, social media and newsletters, where they can avoid exposing their actual data.
The service costs $10 per month or $100 per year, with a 14-day free trial. This subscription gives users the ability to create unlimited identities.
While Clocked has all the password manager features built into the app, the startup is aiming for much more. As well as Apple’s Hide My Email, it masks your real email – Cloaked also lets you customize email addresses. Additionally, if you don’t want emails to be forwarded to your ID, Clocked can act as your inbox Firefox Relay, which just hides your email address. Additionally, Cloaked allows you to automatically fill out various forms online using various identities you store, including one-time passwords that are sent to the service’s inbox.
You can also create Google Voice-like virtual numbers that you can use for texting or logging into services. Currently, the virtual phone number feature is only available in the US
The co-founders said that under the hood, Cloaked behaves like a phone company.
“We don’t use Twilio or any of these things, we’re actually a real phone company that works with a top-notch wireless carrier. We purchase, acquire and manage all telephone number routing. Likewise, we handle all email routing rather than creating thin email aliases,” they said.
With the launch of its apps, Cloaked is also introducing a feature called “Auto Cloaked,” which essentially masks your existing credentials with a set of proxy credentials by automatically changing your password after you log in with the saved password. The company stated that this feature is only available on a limited number of websites and users have full control over whether to enable or disable Auto Cloacked.
Focus on safety
The company that increased $25 million in funding to date from investors such as Lux Capital and Human Capital, said they had been thinking about security before developing the product.
“The main hypothesis we wanted to follow was that we do not ensure data protection for everyone. Our product is aimed at people who don’t care about privacy but have an idea about it,” said the co-founders.
“We don’t want you to change your behavior online. But we don’t want you to hand over your phone, your email address and ultimately your credit cards anywhere.”
The co-founders told TechCrunch that they store each customer’s data in separate encrypted databases so that even if their server is attacked, hackers cannot access users’ data. This is intended to avoid a LastPass-like security breach situation where hackers gained access to customer data including password vaults.
Additionally, Cloaked uses a concept called “data poisoning,” where a phone number is assigned to multiple people. Depending on who a company or website wants to serve with content, it then forwards the text to the right person. In this way, data aggregators do not know who exactly is using the proxy number. However, when a person signs up for a service like Signal, Cloaked does not assign that number to anyone else for privacy reasons.
The company said it is working on a zero-knowledge architecture so that the master password that users use to unlock their Cloaked profile never reaches the startup’s servers. Cloaked noted that it does not have one-way access to customer data.
Along the road
After launching its apps, Cloaked is working to introduce family and group identity sharing by the end of this year. The company also plans to integrate credit cards with identities. This allows users to generate virtual cards that they can use instead of revealing their real card numbers. The founders said that users can generate an unlimited number of cards and set a limit for each card.
Cloaked isn’t the only company working to make privacy management easier for users through simple design and user experience workflows. Uno, supported by a16z, launched at the beginning of May a design-focused password manager.