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Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches

German service pays tribute to Lavabit

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Lavaboom, a German-based and supposedly NSA-proof email service, will go into private beta this week. Its mission is to spread the Edward Snowden gospel by making encrypted email accessible to all.

Although it has been referred to in various parts of the interwebs as an heir to Lavabit, the now-defunct encrypted email service used by Snowden, the new service's name is a tribute to its predecessor and nothing more.

Lavaboom is a free service with a 500MB mailbox limit made secure by three main principles: end-to-end encryption; “zero-knowledge privacy”; and “three-way authentication”.

The firm said its aim is to make encryption as “simple as sending regular email” so anyone can use it.

Three-way authentication is offered for Lavaboom’s “more security conscious users” as follows:

In addition to your key-pair and password we can either send you a randomly generated code or you can use the OTP-feature of a YubiKey. Or even both. We strongly recommend using YubiKey.

The firm also recommended users submit their public keys to a key server, adding the following by way of explanation:

We only use trusted, Open-Source key-servers such as the SKS-Pool and the MIT-Pool. These services are used for public key submission as well as public-key retrieval. You can add your key to a key-server or exchange public key hashes and then manually import them into Lavaboom.

Although the service is free there are additional Premium and Plus plans for those who want additional storage space.

Lavaboom was founded by Felix Müller-Irion in Germany, so presumably it stands a reasonably good chance of staying as NSA proof as possible.

In the end, Lavabit founder Ladar Levison was forced to pull the plug on his service last year in a last ditch bid to stop the US authorities getting their hands on user emails.

Aside from fleeing "traitors" to the United States, Lavaboom may also be of interest to cryptocoin users, and Bitcoins will be accepted as a payment option.

For those who need more info there’s a detailed FAQ here and a brief Reddit conversation with Müller-Irion and CMO Bill Franklin here. ®

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