Dub 20

Law Enforcement Shuts Down Blackberry PGP Communication Network

Source: bitcoin


The war between law enforcement and encryption is far from over by the look of things. Yesterday afternoon, the Dutch police and government officials shut down a communication network using PGP encryption. According to the official statement, this system was used by criminals, although it remains to be seen whether or not his is the case.

Also read: Bitcoin Wallets of the Future: Secure Hardware Needed Sooner Than Later

PGP Network and Dedicated Encrypted Smartphones

With all of the recent focus on governments trying to break consumer encryption to prevent “terrorist attacks”, it only seems normal people are starting to take their privacy more seriously. This creates new business opportunities for companies as well, as one company – called Ennetcom –  located in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, started selling smartphones which supported PGP encryption for all communication.

Additionally, several new communication networks have been created based on PGP encryption, allowing users to communicate freely with each other. This has been a thorn in the eye of the Dutch government for quite some time now, as they strongly feel such platforms facilitate criminal activity. The smartphone company used their servers for this type of encrypted communication, keeping all information safe from prying government eyes.

However, it didn’t take all that long for law enforcement to dig deeper into these servers, and they have – allegedly – uncovered a substantial amount of information related to criminal activity. Moreover, law enforcement officials claim this PGP encryption service had over 19,000 registered users, all of whom have been notified regarding the pending police investigation.

To make matters even more enticing, the Ennetcom company owner – who sold these PGP encryption devices for up to 1,500 EUR each – has been arrested and money laundering claims have been made against him. At the time of writing, no further details were released to the public regarding these allegations.

What we do know is how the Dutch law enforcement collaborated with the Toronto Police to shut down this PGP-encrypted network. One of the servers was located in Canada and has been taken offline by Canadian officials. It appears these efforts were part of the ongoing “war’ against Blackberry users who keep their communication encrypted. Just last week, news broke how Canadian law enforcement agencies acquired a BlackBerry master key to decrypt ping-to-ping messaging.

What are your thoughts on these actions by law enforcement to shut down encrypted communication networks? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Tweakers (Dutch)

Images courtesy of Blackberry, Roger Wendell

The post Law Enforcement Shuts Down Blackberry PGP Communication Network appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Law Enforcement Shuts Down Blackberry PGP Communication Network

Led 05

Blockchain Commuication Could Replace Email, IM, add Trustless Security

Source: bitcoin

Blockchain Commuication Could Replace Email, IM, add Trustless Security

Government surveillance has become a fact of life for anyone communicating digitally these last few years, and it’s been a bumpy transition for those that value privacy. Even with the adoption of PGP keys and VPNs, options for secure day-to-day communication are scarce. End-to-end encryption is a clunky mess for email and IM, and the commercial services that automate the process rely on the assumption that they won’t be subpoenaed or broken into.

Also read: Will There Ever Be A Gold Platform That Performs Like Bitcoin?

Enter BitMessage, an open source project that has re-implemented Bitcoin’s block-and-transfer system to decentralise and automate encrypted communication. This protocol solves the biggest problem in secure communications: trusting a third party to safeguard your data.

If you’ve used a bitcoin wallet, PyBitMessage (the default BitMessage client) will feel eerily familiar to you. You generate a key and passphrase on your first startup, instead of a transactions page you have an inbox, and your contacts have unique strings that look like bitcoin addresses. Everything is encrypted end-to-end on the network, and messages are handled like transactions on Bitcoin’s blockchain. The main departure is that transactional mixing is a natively implemented feature – meaning that even capture of the encrypted data you send is incredibly difficult for potential eavesdroppers.

Each alias has a unique public key attached to it, and you can create as many as you need.

Sending messages in the “vanilla” program also feels like dealing in cryptocurrency. You have long alphanumeric strings in your contact list instead of handles or email addresses, and you need proof-of-work to get your messages sent. You can set a different key and passphrase for each of your aliases, and create as many as you want. Contacts are not automatically labelled, and there is no peer discovery system, lending to the protocol’s overall security. However, these same features may turn the uninitiated user sour on the idea of using BitMessage, as they run counter to what are considered common conveniences in modern text communication.

The Raspberry Pi doesn’t have enough power to use BitMessage for IM

Its real utility, though, comes from its extensibility. Bitmessage is a communication protocol, not an all in one package. There are more and more services popping up that connect it to traditional communications networks: bitmessage.ch and bitmail allow users to link a BitMessage alias to an email address, offering seamless end to end encryption out of the box. And as of version 0.3.5, the protocol supports “chans,” anonymous bbs-style mailing lists that are next to impossible to take down or censor; they are a permanent part of the ledger, accessible to anyone who knows their address.

While it is a solid communication proof of concept, BitMessage is barred from the mobile space. The current proof-of-work implementation is too computationally intensive for most SoC devices: I was able to get it working on an overclocked raspberry pi 2, but the processing delay between writing a message and upload made it unusable for instant messaging. As BitMessage comes out of alpha we may see this change, but whether the developers want to get the protocol working well on mobile platforms remains to be seen.

Currently, BitMessage is a secure drop in replacement for email, Instant messaging, and IRC. Though the alpha builds have  limited scope and a somewhat arcane interface, we may well see support for hooks into XMPP, SMS, and other popular chat and text APIs as the protocol develops. For now, though, It’s most useful for desktop applications. Those interested in having a trustless solution to web privacy, BitMessage is a project to watch.

What do you think about Bitmessage? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Blockchain Commuication Could Replace Email, IM, add Trustless Security appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Blockchain Commuication Could Replace Email, IM, add Trustless Security