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[liberationtech] RetroShare / Anonymous, Decentralized and Uncensored File-Sharing is Booming

Michael Rogers m-- at
Tue Mar 6 09:54:49 PST 2012

Hi Robert,

I really like RetroShare and I'm glad it's getting some attention. For
low-risk file sharing it certainly has better privacy properties than,
say, BitTorrent or MediaFire. For riskier situations where you have to
worry about active attempts to identify and arrest the users, I'd be a
bit more cautious. At the very least, keep your shared folders in a
TrueCrypt volume.

A few disorganised thoughts:

* Connections between peers use TLS with a PGP-secured handshake. It
might be possible to identify or block RetroShare connections by
examining the handshake, as used to be possible for Tor.

* Peers use the BitTorrent DHT to find each other - again, the traffic
could potentially be identified or blocked, especially if the adversary
doesn't mind blocking BitTorrent.

* I'm not sure whether messages are encrypted on disk. Shared files
aren't, unless you're using a separate program like TrueCrypt.

* The privacy implications of sharing, browsing, uploading and
downloading files aren't clear - it seems quite easy to share a file
with people other than the intended recipient.

* Likewise, the privacy properties of group chat, chat lobbies, channels
and forums aren't clear - who can see what I write? Who can link it to
my real identity?


On 05/03/12 04:29, Robert Guerra wrote:
> Curious to know what people on this list think of the RetroShare
> tool. Should I recommend it to those who need a safe file sharing
> solution?
> ---
>  Anonymous, Decentralized and Uncensored File-Sharing is Booming
> The file-sharing landscape is slowly adjusting in response to the
> continued push for more anti-piracy tools, the final Pirate Bay
> verdict, and the raids and arrests in the Megaupload case. Faced with
> uncertainty and drastic changes at file-sharing sites, many users are
> searching for secure, private and uncensored file-sharing clients.
> Despite the image its name suggests, RetroShare is one such
> future-proof client.
> RetroShare is a Open Source cross-platform, private and secure
> decentralised communication platform. It lets you to securely chat
> and share files with your friends and family, using a web-of-trust to
> authenticate peers and OpenSSL to encrypt all communication. 
> RetroShare provides filesharing, chat, messages, forums and channels
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