In terms of how people use computers and communicate information to one another through them, I cant help but feel as though copy and paste internet services are some of the most underutilized and/or underappreciated resources on the internet. Perhaps this is because I am a self-taught computer geek who first got his start inside the digital world of underground hacking, but even outside the hacking world you might be surprised to learn that there are a number of everyday uses for these types of programs – especially in the corporate work force.
For those of you who do not know how they work, online copy and paste services work much like emails, only there is no logging into any accounts and instead of sharing information through an email message, you share it through an online hyperlink. Simply write a message out, copy it with your mouse, go onto a web service, press paste and enter the information, then copy the URL address that’s generated and you are ready to share with the world – it’s literally that easy.
Benefits of Copy & Paste Services
Sending information to large groups of people in team chats or online groups. If you are working for one of the more innovative companies or organizations around the world, then you entire workforce or office should have made the switch over to a team chat service, such as Slack or Chatbox. If not, perhaps you should get on that. Copy and paste services are ideal for large chatroom’s like these because they offer a faster and easier platform to share information with a large number of people. Much easier than emails, for example. Say your company consists of 50 people and you have them all organized inside a team chat, rather than send a message out by linking up 50 different people through their individual email addresses, a copy and paste URL posted to chatroom reaches all 50 people at the same time, at a fraction of the time/effort.
Hyperlinks save everyone time and effort. For the reader, copy and paste URL’s save time by allowing people to receive messages/information without having to log into or browse through an online account. Instead, all they need to do is click on one link. For the sender, copy and paste URL’s also save a great deal of time. Copy and paste services allow you to create and share messages with an unlimited number of people with literally two clicks of a mouse, whereas drafting an email message requires you to type up and/or link to multiple destinations.
Hyperlinks are public and have unlimited exposure time. Unlike personal emails and email accounts, which have to be logged into and are sealed from the public eye, copy and paste URL’s can be accessed by anyone on the internet at any moment in time, no matter where they are or what accounts/Apps they are using – all they need is an internet connection. Most copy and paste services have the option to create public or encrypted posts, allowing the user to control who can see the information and for how long.
Sharing information through hyperlinks is good cyber security practice. If you are wondering why hackers in particular turn to copy and paste services to share information with one another, this is done for two reasons. First, these services allow you to share an unlimited amount of text without the need for file sharing – which is invaluable asset when dealing with people you do not know or can’t necessarily trust. Sometimes, when sending individual messages in texts or online, there is a cap on the amount of words/data you can send in one window or box, making it inconvenient to share/release large amounts of information all at once. Often times, if a message is long enough, the solution would be to create a .doc, .pdf, or .txt file to hold all the information. However, consolidating this information through a copy and paste service and turning it into a URL offers an easy way around all of this, while preventing the need for file sharing between users. This is critically important to understand because it is not that hard to maliciously manipulate files with hidden, secret or embedded code to corrupt your systems once downloaded.
Second, it allows you to share information without revealing your personal information, such as your personal email account(s). Not only can this protect your privacy, but when dealing with the wrong people or advanced cyber threats it also protects your personal IP Address and computer/device itself. Not only is this invaluable while working within the digital underground, but this could also be an invaluable practice on the corporate or business level just as well. If you do not need to share your email address with others, don’t.
The Best Services Providers To Use
Back in 2016 I interviewed the founder of Ghostbin, Dustin L. Howett, to get a sense of who he was and what he had created, because at the time Ghostbin was becoming perhaps the most widely utilized tool inside different hacking circles. Howett told me that he created the service as a side project, really, while he was away at college. Explaining that he simply he didn’t like the fonts, format, coloring or layout of traditional paste services, such as Pastee or Hastebin, so he just went ahead and wrote his own source code one day and threw it up on the internet.
At the time, Howett wasn’t even a publicly disclosed figure and his service, Ghostbin, had only received its name for going out of its way to protect user privacy, by disabling IP logs of any/all visitors using the the site to post content – though this policy has changed over the years. Along the same lines, the service has now evolved to allow users to create their own individual accounts, allowing them to edit or delete the postings they’ve made – a feature which wasn’t available in years past.
As for the service itself, comparatively to others like it, Ghostbin is rather generic and straight forward – a net plus in my book. Posts can either be encrypted or unencrypted and you do not have to be a registered user to make any posting if you don’t want to be. The site disables all advertisements, and has the simplest interface you can possibly imagine. Again, a net plus in my book – not a negative.
Try Ghostbin: https://ghostbin.com
Pastebin is without a doubt the most famous, popular and widely used copy and paste service on the internet. Unlike its competition, Pastebin offers a whole host of editing and connectivity options that other services do not – including customized URL’s for individual postings and the ability to share directly to social media. Pastebin is also a little easier to use than some of the others, and compresses all text into one easily readable page/window. Other copy and paste platforms, such as Ghostbin, do require you to format text as you enter it and the longer the text is, the more formatting is required – something which isn’t an issue with Pastebin.
The only downsides to Pastebin, at least in my opinion, are that the site enables advertisements which can be distracting and the service itself can be unreliable from time to time. Due to its popularity, Pastebin often comes under heavy cyber/DDoS attack, and periodically suffers from internet blackouts because of this.
Try Pastebin: https://pastebin.com
Admittedly, I did not hear about PrivNote until the other week – shout out to GSH for the tip! PrivNote is really unique in that it allows users to create hyperlinks which “self destruct” the first time after they are used/read. Meaning that you can set a hyperlinks settings to completely disable itself as soon as it is clicked, protecting information and ensuring privacy/confidentiality – hence the name of the service. On top of this, users have the ability to encrypt each note they create, adding a duel layer of security.
While these features may sound a bit extreme or advanced, the service itself actually has one one of the cleanest interfaces I’ve seen. In fact, I dare say PrivNote might be the easiest copy and paste service to use if you’ve never done this before. For that very reason alone the site deserves a visit.
Try PrivNote: https://privnote.com
Honestly, it has been a couple years since I last used Hastebin and the service has changed significantly since I’ve left. Today, Hastebin looks a lot like and operates much the same as Ghostbin – only far simpler and less secure. Hastbin has the same generic layout as Ghostbin, but it does not offer as many different fonts, formatting or heading options. As for why I say it is less secure, that’s because Hastebin comes with a built in feature which lets readers or recipients of the URL edit the text of the message itself after it is sent- something which is not available on other services. This may be good for joint collaborative efforts, but isn’t necessarily ideal for owners of specific information.
Try Hastebin: https://hastebin.com
Categories: Cyber Security