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[liberationtech] Mailvelope: OpenPGP Encryption for Webmail

Ali-Reza Anghaie ali at
Tue Dec 11 22:06:05 PST 2012

You just jogged my memory w/ the clipboard bit..

Another project in the mix. -Ali

On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 12:38 AM, Uncle Zzzen <unclezzzen at> wrote:

> The reason why FireGPG no longer ships with tails is that the DOM of a web
> app is not a safe place for plaintext
> Any architecture where plaintext is stored inside a web app's DOM is
> dangerous. Especially a webmail app that can be expected to save drafts,
> but not only. Web apps can be MITMed, XSSed, etc. If it came via the web,
> it's a suspect.
> I'd expect a crypto add-on to only accept plaintext (and other sensitive)
> information via separate GUI that can only be launched manually (not via
> javascript in an app's DOM) and has a hard-to-imitate look-and-feel (to
> discourage phishing). The only communication between this add-on and the
> rest of the browser should be via the clipboard. Users who can't handle
> copy/paste shouldn't be trusted with a key pair :)
> From what I see at the slide-show, it seems to
> provide even more shooting-yourself-in-the-leg firepower than FireGPG.
> On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 3:21 AM, Nadim Kobeissi <nadim at> wrote:
>> Cryptocat is a local browser plugin served over SSL, installed locally,
>> loads/executes no external code, and communicates only via SSL. It does not
>> rely on server integrity with regards to these parameters.
>> Regarding Mailvelope — does its operation depend on the Gmail DOM? What
>> happens if the Gmail DOM is modified, can that be used to damage the
>> integrity of Mailvelope operations? There's a reason Cryptocat operates in
>> its own browser tab separate from other sites.
>> NK
>> On 2012-12-11, at 6:54 PM, Andy Isaacson <adi at> wrote:
>> > 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.
>> >
>> > -andy
>> > --
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