[cryptography] Potential funding for crypto-related projects

aortega at alu.itba.edu.ar aortega at alu.itba.edu.ar
Tue Jul 2 03:41:07 EDT 2013

> So then - what do you suggest to someone who wants to leak a document to
> a press agency that has a GlobaLeaks interface? What do you suggest to
> someone who wants to use a web email account that properly supports
> HTTPS? What do you suggest to someone who wants location privacy from
> their chat service? What do you suggest to someone who wants to buy
> themselves time and not link their entire past to some event they think
> might matter, thus attracting retroactive searches in the future?

I would suggest him to wait to authorities until better software arrives :)

> It is also why we have multiple implementations as well. There is a Java
> version of Tor that is nearly ready for release and it will solve a
> number of the C implementation concerns and exchange them for Java
> related concerns. There are a few other Tor implementations in the wild,
> each serving an interesting subset of users. Diversity is important.
> Still - having a bug in Tor as a client is a lot less likely than in
> whatever application you'll use with Tor - web browsers come to mind
> here but other chat clients, like Pidgin or Thunderbird, they also come
> to mind.

Didn't know about the java version. I agree, browsers and other clients
are the prime attack surface.

>> 2) Network analysis: Tor is vulnerable to network analysis. FBI has made
>> arrests to people that were specifically using TOR to hide their
>> activities, and their use of network analysis to unmask them is documented
>> (Jeremy Hammond, Stratfor case).
> What is public about Jeremy Hammond is worth reading. It suggests the
> FBI has the lamest of all Network analysis techniques - a very simple
> traffic confirmation attack. They appear to disconnect a person's
> internet and then they ask their snitch if the person signs off from
> their chat service.

Yet it worked and the guy is in jail. It shows that you only need a single
bit leak to get into trouble. And they were the police, the mafia may
require less than one bit.

> There are solutions - one of them is to run a second
> machine reachable by (Stealth) Tor Hidden Service with your chat client
> in gnu screen - login to that system, attach to the screen and chat away
> - sometimes, you'll get disconnected but no one will see it.
> There are social issues that are more concerning though - if you
> normally are quite chatty, only to stop chatting, they might suggest
> that not speaking is confirmation, etc. So this issue issue, like any
> solution, is partially a technical issue and partially a social issue.

Maybe software can help in this regard, to protect you from yourself.

>> Some months ago I tried to fix some shortcomings of Tor by wrapping it in
>> a higher layer and using it for simple network-analysis resistant chat.
>> The result was a protocol so slow that's almost unusable, if someone want
>> to take a look at it it's here: https://github.com/alfred-gw/torirc
> This is awesome!
> I've git clone'd it. I'm going audit it and send you
> feedback/patches/etc. Thanks for hacking on Tor related software!

Thanks you. I'm thinking of making it work with the new tor python
bindings. It's just an experiment, nothing serious.

> my first thought is that you might consider making it use OTR for p2p
> chats on the server - there is no good multi-party OTR implementation
> yet, so at that point, I might just look at the mpOTR paper from
> Goldberg et al. A number of us worked on a spec that is so far from done
> that it isn't worth linking at the moment.

Ahh that's an awesome idea. Will look into it.

> I feel OK about not having another layer of crypto on top of a Tor HS
> but in your protocol's case, I'd encourage you to use Stealth Hidden
> Services - so at least then the only people connecting are the ones who
> are cryptographically authenticated in some manner.

I used regular hidden services. Didn't know there were a stealthier ones.
Will look into it. BTW, didn't like the fixed 1024 RSA key for hidden
services. Hope it changes in the future.

> You will probably very much like Pond:
>   https://github.com/agl/pond/
> I use it daily. It is perhaps my favorite application, ever, for use
> with Tor.

Very good project. Fortunately I have no use for it yet, might steal some
ideas from it.

>> I would like to see a tor configuration flag that sacrifices speed for
>> anonymity.
> You're the first person, perhaps ever, to make that feature request
> without it being in a mocking tone. At least, I think you're not
mocking! :)
> All the best,
> Jacob

Of course I'm not mocking you :) as some people already said, low-latency
is comfortable but if you life is in danger, I'm sure you can wait a
little longer for your messages to arrive :)

Best regards,


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