Feeds

Cryptocat WIDE OPEN, new version a must

'Decryptocat' launches broadside against devs

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The encrypted online chat service Cryptocat is urging users to install a new version, following the revelation that its encryption could be cracked by brute force.

Making the announcement here, Cryptocat says the vulnerability existed in the way key pairs were generated. It claims that the bug existed in any 2.0 version prior to 2.0.42, a period of seven months.

Steve Thomas, who describes the bug here, gives the issue a longer lifetime, saying his Decryptocat software “cracks the ECC public keys generated by Cryptocat versions 1.1.147 through 2.0.41” – from October 2011 to June 2013. And while Cryptocat has thanked him for his input, his assessment is less polite: “Cryptocat is run by people that don't know crypto, make stupid mistakes, and not enough eyes are looking at their code to find the bugs.”

His lengthy critique goes on: “The bug that lasted 347 days was the confusion between a string and an array of integers. This made the ECC private keys ridiculously small because they passed a string of decimal digits into a function expecting an array of 17, 15 bit integers. Each character was considered an element in the array. So each of those "15 bit integers" were only the values 0 to 9 (3.32 bits). Also the least significant 3 bits are zeroed giving you a key space of 2*10^16 (2^54.15).”

The bug only applied to group chats, Cryptocat asserts, not one-on-one chats, and its SSL keys were not compromised.

“For some reason, there are rumors that our SSL keys were compromised. To the best of our knowledge, this is not the case. All Cryptocat data still passed over SSL, and that offers a small layer of protection that may help with this issue. Of course, it does not in any way save from the fact that due to our blunder, seven months of conversations were easier to crack,” the group says. “We are continuing in the process of auditing all aspects of Cryptocat’s development.” ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.