Feeds

Hushmail swats code backdoor rumors

Safe as (straw) houses

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Web-based encrypted email service Hushmail has refuted rumours it stopped using software based on the source code published on its website.

Within the zip archive containing the Hush Encryption Engine is a Java executable (.jar) file called HushEncryptionEngine. But this isn't the same file found on Hushmail's mail servers, a poster to Cryptome pointed out over the weekend.

The behaviour raised concerns that Hushmail may no longer be safe to use until Brian Smith of Hush Communications stepped in to say that the wrong files were being compared. Rather than the Java executable, comparisons should be made between the applet in the source code and the applet running on Hushmail's servers. The other file contains debug information, so it does not match the file running on the website, he explained.

Although an innocent explanation for the apparent discrepancy was quickly found, it does illustrate lingering concerns about the absolute reliability of the service. For years Hushmail was considered a safe, reliable and straightforward way to send encrypted, confidential messages. But the revelation last year that Hush Communications, the Vancouver-based firm that runs Hushmail, was forced to hand over 12 CDs of decrypted data to US drug trafficking investigators has shaken this faith.

Hush Communications maintains that it only acted in response to a court order and it might be obliged to hand over clear data again, even if this meant sending a targeted user a poisoned Java applet or other such trickery. Users who needed more security ought to use the desktop version of packages such as PGP.

A section on the limitations of the service goes on to explain that viral infection on a user's PC can also compromise a user's Hushmail account. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.