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[liberationtech] What I've learned from Cryptocat

bou bou at aktivix.org
Tue Aug 7 09:13:43 PDT 2012


On 07/08/12 09:25, Luke Allnutt wrote:
>
> With Frank's message in mind, do list members have thoughts about the
> best dumbed-down guide for activists to stay safer online? 

http://hacktivista.net/hacktionlab/index.php/Tech_tools_for_activists

of course nothing is perfect and that booklet is in the process of being
seriously updated.
>
> I know EFF, MobileActive, and Movements.org have done some good work
> in this field, but wondered whether there is a consensus on a good
> short, easy-to-understand document for activists?
>
> Luke
>
>
>
>
> *<frank at journalistsecurity.net>*
> Sent by: liberationtech-bounces at lists.stanford.edu
>
> 08/07/2012 07:19 AM
>
> 	
> To
> 	"Moxie Marlinspike" <moxie at thoughtcrime.org>,
> liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
> cc
> 	
> Subject
> 	Re: [liberationtech] What I've learned from Cryptocat
>
>
>
> 	
>
>
>
>
>
> Hey guys,
>
> I appreciate the importance and depth of this discussion. But I also
> wish to underscore that most of the people who are at risk are not
> using any tools whether they be CrytoCat, PGP, GChat or others for the
> simple reason that they either cannot figure them out, or don't have
> time to figure them out, or both. And I am talking about people at
> risk in many different nations.
>
> No doubt the functional security of tools is an indispensable,
> essential concern. Ignoring any vulnerabilities is dangerous, indeed.
> But the usability of the same tools and making them accessible to
> non-technologists is just as big a concern, in my view. I know you
> guys think that many such users including Western journalists are
> simply lazy. But many, if not most of the available tools are simply
> not intuitive, or not as much as most technologists who already know
> how to use them seem to think.
>
> How many people on this list have spent time asking non-technologists
> and other users who have tried, but have since given up even trying to
> use tools like PGP? Or have examined how new users interact with such
> tools? I have a great deal of respect for this community. But to be
> honest it seems to me that neither the technologists nor the donors
> have spent much time asking such questions.
>
> If a novice user make a mistake in PGP, for example, it's over.
> Options are not intuitive if you don't already know them. And if you
> hit the wrong button, you can end up at a deadend with no guidance how
> to get back on track. Trust me. I know. And I am not trashing PGP. I
> know well and fully appreciate it's value and I have used it and
> continue to use it hostile environments. And I also know that users
> and only users can make crucial choices during use for their own
> security. I get that, too. But most digital security tools still do
> not do a good job of laying out, let alone explaining the options. And
> I say that with respect for the value of the tools and options
> themselves.
>
> Cryptocat is one of the most user-friendly tools out there, and I
> think Nadim deserves credit for the effort. Of course, the
> vulnerabilities must be fixed before anyone should use it in a hostile
> environment. Although the level of vulnerability might also depend on
> the nature of the threat in any particular environment. But I also
> think we need to spend as much time making tools accessible as we do
> making them secure if we are going to reach the people who really need
> them. And right now few if any of these tools are having the reach
> that we all agree is needed. And that is an issue largely of usability.
>
> I think with more constructive collaboration we would achieve both. We
> need to. Thanks.
>
> Best, Frank
>
> Frank Smyth
> Executive Director
> Global Journalist Security
> _frank at journalistsecurity.net_ <mailto:frank at journalistsecurity.net>
> Tel.  + 1 202 244 0717
> Cell  + 1 202 352 1736
> Twitter:  @JournoSecurity
> Website: _www.journalistsecurity.net_
> <http://www.journalistsecurity.net/>
> _PGP Public Key_
> <http://www.journalistsecurity.net/franks-pgp-public-key>
>  
>
>  
> Please consider our Earth before printing this email.
>
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>
>
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: [liberationtech] What I've learned from Cryptocat
> From: Moxie Marlinspike <_moxie at thoughtcrime.org_
> <mailto:moxie at thoughtcrime.org>>
> Date: Mon, August 06, 2012 10:29 pm
> To: _liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu_
> <mailto:liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu>
>
>
>
>
> On 08/06/2012 06:59 PM, Eleanor Saitta wrote:
> > Except that with your harm mitigation, you push many potential users
> > back to plaintext, where they are guaranteed to be owned. What
> > percentage of potential cryptocat users would the plugin version have to
> > stop from using the tool for you to accept that there was a place for
> > the non-plugin version?
>
> Let's stop using the word "plaintext," because my understanding is that
> none of the chat services we're speaking of transmit data in the clear.
> As I see it, there are currently three possible vectors for attack with
> "existing" web-based chat services:
>
> 1) SSL interception.
> 2) Server compromise.
> 3) Server operator.
>
> The technology in CryptoCat v1 does not address any of these three
> vectors, and all of them remain possible. My position is that it's
> actually more susceptible to attack via #1 and #2 than existing
> web-based chat solutions. I believe your position is that it improves
> on vector #3 by virtue of being not-Facebook. (I'm curious how you
> measure #3 in comparison to GChat.)
>
> If we postulate that CryptoCat does improve vector #3 by virtue of being
> not-Facebook, it isn't a result of the technology, but simply that we've
> agreed Nadim has a better monitoring/interception track record than
> Facebook. If that's something you think is valuable, it actually seems
> like it'd potentially be better served by having someone like the EFF or
> Riseup host a web-based and SSL-protected chat service, without brining
> any additional cryptography confusion into the mix. A trust project,
> not a cryptography project.
>
> Unfortunately for me, I'd rather depend on cryptography than people.
> But I believe that CryptoCat is actually well positioned to drive
> changes in the ecosystem that will allow them to really improve on those
> three vectors in time. I think it's difficult to experiment in public
> with security tools, however, and that it's a sage decision to make a
> secure solution available (CryptoCat v2) and work on reducing friction
> while maintaining security from there.
>
> - moxie
>
> -- _
> __http://www.thoughtcrime.org_ <http://www.thoughtcrime.org/>
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-- 
https://network23.org/bou




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