Encrypted messaging service seeks funds

Open-source model creates messages which are “encrypted end-to-end” so that “even the service provider” cannot access their content

Cryptocat founder Nadim Kobeissi: “The technology is already there” for encrypted video and voice messages, Kobeissi told The Irish Times, “we just have to make it usable and integrate it into the existing Cryptocat applications”.

Cryptocat founder Nadim Kobeissi: “The technology is already there” for encrypted video and voice messages, Kobeissi told The Irish Times, “we just have to make it usable and integrate it into the existing Cryptocat applications”.

Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 01:05

An encrypted instant messaging service which secures user data via servers placed in a Swedish nuclear bunker is looking for funds to help expand the model to voice and video messages.

Cryptocat founder Nadim Kobeissi said the relatively modest $45,000 (€33,000) Kickstarter campaign to get funding is due to the fact that “we don’t think the leap will be particularly difficult” to expand the current model.

“The technology is already there” for encrypted video and voice messages, Kobeissi told The Irish Times. “We just have to make it usable and integrate it into the existing Cryptocat applications.”

The open-source model creates messages which are “encrypted end-to-end” so that “even the service provider” cannot access their content. “This is not true for [Google] GChat messages,” said Kobeissi, “where all content is accessible and storable by Google. ”

With the application already available over iOS (though it was initially rejected by the App Store last December before getting the go-ahead for distribution this March), the funding will also be funnelled towards creating an Android version of Cryptocat as well as “server costs”.

Hitesh Tewari, co-founder of Irish encryption-based cloud collaboration tool CipherApps, said “open-source apps and those based on open-source crypto libraries are the way forward”.

However, he did add that “end-to-end encryption is hard and there are not many apps that do that today”.

“Encryption is even harder on mobile devices as one [device] may not have the same computational power and access to crypto libraries on [the] platform.”

General manager with IT security and unified communications provider Commtech, Gerry Harvey said he “wouldn’t touch” the idea of investing in the Kickstarter campaign.

He noted that the Cryptocat site states that its service “does not anonymise” the user, rather it is their communications which are encrypted.

Harvey said as the service uses the off-the-record (OTR) messaging protocol for messaging it opens itself up to not being protected from prying eyes.

“As long as you adopt or adhere to a standard by its very nature it can be cracked,” said Harvey.