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[liberationtech] Mailvelope: OpenPGP Encryption for Webmail

Andy Isaacson adi at
Tue Dec 11 08:54:47 PST 2012

On Mon, Dec 10, 2012 at 10:07:23PM +0000, StealthMonger wrote:
> "Fabio Pietrosanti (naif)" <lists at> writes:
> > for whose who has still not see that project, i wanted to send a notice
> > about MailVelope, OpenPGP encryption for webmail:
> > It's a client-side, plug-in based (similar to CryptoCat), OpenPGP email
> > encryption plugin available for Chrome and Firefox.
> To compare it with CryptoCat is unfair to MailVelope.  As I understand
> things, CryptoCat has an ongoing reliance on server integrity.  On the
> other hand, MailVelope is self-contained once securely installed,

I'm not sure why you claim that.  It was true for Cryptocat v1 which was
a browser app and could be compromised at any time with new JS from a
compromised server.  Cryptocat v2 is a downloadable + installable plugin
which at least doesn't immediately execute code served to it.

In both the JS and plugin versions, Cryptocat (with uncompromised code)
does not depend on server integrity for message confidentiality.

Now, both CryptoCat and MailVelope probably have an upgrade
vulnerability where a compromised server can tell the app "there's a new
version available, plese ask the user to install it".  And since the
compromised server could refuse to provide service to the secure version
of the app, there's a powerful functional reason for the user to accept
the upgrade.

Ah, perhaps you're referring to the fact that MailVelope layers on top
of another server (Gmail) for its transport layer, rather than depending
on a "MailVelope server" which could selectively deny service to the
uncompromised version of the product.  In that respect, MailVelope might
be more secure-by-design than Cryptocat.


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