Send Self-Destructing Messages To Your Minions With Burn Note

Justin Pot 10-03-2012

self destructing email“This message will self-destruct…”. If there’s one thing every kid watching spy shows dreams of, it’s exploding messages that disappear forever. The explosion is cool, but so is the idea that you can send a message to your friend without anyone else ever being able to read it afterwards.


Burn Note gives you exactly this functionality, albeit without the exploding tape or piece of paper. Write a message and send a link to your friend. They can read the message, but not easily copy it. A certain amount of time after they open the message, it is deleted forever. You can even add a password, if you want additional security.

It’s not quite as impactful as a message that literally explodes, but it gets the job done if you want to send a self destructing email without it lasting forever in someone’s inbox.

Sending A Secret Self Destructing Email

Head over to BurnNote and you can start writing your message immediately. There’s no formatting or pictures: just good old-fashioned text.

self destructing email

As you can see, I’ve composed a deeply serious, top-secret message. I simply cannot let this fall into the wrong hands. So I head to the options.


self destructing message

I can set how the message will be displayed, and for how long. The message can be displayed as plain text, which can be copied, or in short phrases that cannot (easily). I can even add a password, if I’m feeling particularly paranoid.

Once I’m done, I get a link to my message. The message will be deleted in 72 hours, regardless of whether it’s opened or not.

self destructing message


I’m now ready to send this to one of my loyal minions. I can send the link via email, instant message or carrier pigeon.

Reading A Message

When my minion gets the link, they can open the message. The countdown to destruction does not start until they open it.

self destructing message

So far, so good. When the message is opened, it looks something like this:


self destructing email

Since I chose “short phrases“, it is shown a few words at a time and cannot be copied easily, outside of several precisely timed screenshots.

My minion is particularly vigilant, so they will click “BURN IT” the moment they are done reading. This way no nefarious members of the public will get a chance to read it, and they can commence the operation – meeting me for lunch downtown.

Okay, so my personal mission isn’t as secret as I let on. It’s still a cool site though, isn’t it?



If you need to securely send a message over the Internet never use email or IM. They simply weren’t designed to be secure forms of communication, and could easily end up in the wrong hands. That’s why I’m glad Burn Note exists. It lets me send messages over email without leaving a long-term record of the contents.

If you’re concered about the security of Burn Note itself, check out the Burn Note FAQ page [No Longer Available]. It nicely outlines when and how your messsages are deleted and is well worth a read if you want to rely on the service for serious, non-lunch related missions.

Are you looking for alternative ways to send secure notes? Linux users can try sending encrypted emails with Evolution How To Send Signed & Encrypted Email With Evolution [Linux] In today's technological world, sending encrypted messages between people has become an increasing standard. In order to secure your email communications, you need to sign and/or encrypt your emails. In Linux, this is an easy... Read More . But if you’re not a Linux fan, you could check out these secure and encrypted email providers online The 5 Most Secure and Encrypted Email Providers Fed up with government and third-party surveillance of your emails? Protect your messages with a secure encrypted email service. Read More . None of these solutions automatically delete the contents of your message, but they’re still worth trying out.

Do you know of other services for sending secure messages? If so, share them in the contents below. Also, please don’t tell my wife I’m referring to her as my minion now.

Related topics: Email Tips, Note-Taking Apps.

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  1. sally
    August 21, 2017 at 1:51 am

    good idea, but the person can take a snap shot of the note before it disappears, with a digi camera or snipit software tool or the key pad on your key board called "prt scr sysrq" and then open up paint and then hit the past button and save it if they want too

  2. swayaminfotech
    March 12, 2012 at 4:49 am

    The explosion is cool, but so is the idea that you can send a message to your friend without anyone else ever being able to read it afterwards.

  3. swayaminfotech
    March 12, 2012 at 4:47 am

    Write a message and send a link to your friend. They can read the message, but not easily copy it.

  4. Dhawal D
    March 11, 2012 at 8:12 am

    LOL, and what if the other person takes a screenshot? 

    • Suhel
      March 11, 2012 at 9:40 am

      the other person's PC will burn up... *scared*

    • Ctownbos
      March 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      The article discusses that.

      • jhpot
        March 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm

        Yeah, screenshots could do the trick, but it's not altogether easy to do. Less effort just to memorize the message.

        • Guest
          March 11, 2012 at 7:19 pm

          How is it not easy to do? You press one key on the keyboard.

        • jhpot
          March 11, 2012 at 7:26 pm

          Only one part of the message is shown at a time, and you can't control when which part is shown when or pause the message. The timing is somewhat randomized. Were the message split into five pieces, you'd need five screenshots. You'd need to time them well. In Windows, taking the second screenshot would overwrite the first, meaning you'd need to somehow paste the screenshots somewhere before taking the next. You can only look at the message a limited number of times.

          Simply put: it would be hard.

        • Guest
          August 25, 2012 at 4:21 pm

          @jhpot there are softwares that auto-saves screenshot. no pasting necessary. it's not hard.

        • Justin Pot
          August 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm

          Not hard, but something the vast majority of computer users wouldn't be able to do.