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April 18, 2012

Cryptocat — easy encryption for the rest of us

Excerpts from a story by Jim Dwyer in today's New York Times:

A project called Cryptocat... has a simple, countercultural goal: people should be able to talk on the Internet without being subjected to commercial or government surveillance.

Cryptocat and a few other services disguise the content of chat messages so that they look like gibberish to anyone who does not have the encryption key."

[21-year-old Nadim] Kobeissi started building Cryptocat a year ago in his bedroom with the goal of making it simple to encrypt an online conversation. He had help last weekend from the Guardian Project, a group of developers who are trying to make mobile phones secure. They figured out a way to encrypt a chat on an Android phone by shaking it, taking advantage of the motion detectors in many smartphones. This will generate the digits that are part of the encryption process.

Up to 10 people can speak privately to one another at a time in a Cryptocat chat room, a feature that distinguishes it from other encryption chat services. It is not ready for use by people in life-and-death situations, Mr. Kobeissi said, but it can give people a place to avoid everyday monitoring of routine conversation.

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April 18, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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It's important to note that encrypted communication does *not* look like gibberish. It looks like encrypted communication. Whomever may be trying to listen in may not immediately know what you're saying, but they know you are saying something you don't want them to hear/see.

Posted by: Andrew | Apr 18, 2012 2:50:43 PM

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