Feeds

DIME for your TOP SECRET thoughts? Son of Snowden's crypto-chatter client here soon

Hardened email platform should be ready for Xmas

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

DefCon Lavabit founder Ladar Levison will within six months carve out a military-grade email service from the ashes of Ed Snowden's favourite email client.

As many of you will remember, Levison killed the service to prevent his clients' information from getting into the clutches of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

The popular thorn in the side of the US spy apparatus updated the 2,000-strong audience of security hacks and privacy pundits on the Dark Mail project announced late last year.

Levison shot to fame in tech circles after he responded to a FBI demand for access to the private SSL certificates used to encrypt all traffic on Lavabit by printing the keys on reams of paper in a 4-point font described by one prosecutor as "largely illegible".*

The move frustrated the Feds and he was subsequently slapped with a $5,000-a-day fine until he provided the keys - which he did, shortly before shutting down the email service.

Dark Mail has since expanded to include the Magma email server and the Volcano Mozilla Thunderbird desktop client, and has been re-badged as the Dark Internet Mail Environment (DIME).

The platform broke up email headers encrypting each piece before it was sent and was built so that no single service could hold all of the data - a bid to shake off further Lavabit-style requests from government spy agencies.

It aimed to overcome user difficulty with encryption by adopting cryptographic profiles, dubbed "signets", that could be shared with trusted users to operate much like PGP. It also adopted three escalating security levels: trustful, cautious and paranoid.

Yet for all the effort put into the project by Levison and fellow security and crypto luminaries Phil Zimmerman, Jon Callas and Mike Janke, users could still be pwnd by setting bad passwords.

"If your password is 'password', nothing I can do will save you," Levison said at the DEF CON presentation this week.

"I’m not upset that I got railroaded and I had to shut down my business ... I'm upset because we need a mil-spec cryptographic mail system for the entire planet just to be able to talk to our friends and family without any kind of fear of government surveillance".

The new service was hoped to be ready in time for the Chaos Communications Congress in Germany held days before New Year's Eve.

Dozens of software and services have emerged to fight spying in the wake of the Snowden revelations. One of the more promising of these was the planned Invisible.IM chat platform which would use the Tor network to distribute chatter wrapped in OTR encryption with disposable and quickly scrubbed keys. ®

*

For those of you who are not typographers, here's a repeat of that paragraph printed in 4 point type:

Levison shot to fame in tech circles after he responded to a FBI demand for access to the private SSL certificates used to encrypt all traffic on Lavabit by printing the keys on reams of paper in a 4-point font described by one prosecutor as "largely illegible".

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Free virtual appliance for wire data analytics
The ExtraHop Discovery Edition is a free virtual appliance will help you to discover the performance of your applications across the network, web, VDI, database, and storage tiers.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.