Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 04, 2016, 06:38:10 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Last post Author Topic: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service  (Read 17044 times)

Edvard

  • Coding Snacks Author
  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,888
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Just found this, and signed up to receive an invite.  Let's see how this pans out...
Quote
Our Story

ProtonMail was founded in summer 2013 at CERN by scientists who were drawn together by a shared vision of a more secure and private Internet. Early ProtonMail hackathons were held at the famous CERN Restaurant One. ProtonMail is developed both at CERN and MIT and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. We were semifinalists in 2014 MIT 100K startup launch competition and are advised by the MIT Venture Mentoring Service.

...

So, what we got here looks like:

  • Based in Switzerland and backed up by the Swiss Federal Data Protection Act (DPA)
  • Fully free and paid accounts
  • Anonymous access (they don't track IPs)
  • Browser-based UI
  • Two-factor security (one password to login, another to encrypt emails)
  • Transparent encryption/decryption (they claim no private/public keys needed)
  • Other features like SnapChat-style self-destructing messages (don't know how they manage that one)

Sounds legit...


from CodeProject News
« Last Edit: May 19, 2014, 11:24:51 PM by Edvard »

lanux128

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,258
    • View Profile
    • Coding Snacks by Lanux128
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2014, 01:00:07 AM »
thanks, tried to create an account but their severs are overwhelmed atm.

Innuendo

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 2,255
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2014, 07:09:19 AM »
Signed up for the beta. I'll wait for the invite when they have room for me in the beta program.

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,137
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2014, 06:01:37 PM »
@Edvard: Thanks for posting about this. I too am now signed up for the ß.

The subject line says "...yet another secure email service". Could you say what others you are aware of that are like this one?

Edvard

  • Coding Snacks Author
  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,888
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2014, 08:09:49 PM »
They seem to have popped up here and there after Lavabit shut down.  Silent Circle and Lavabit devs teamed up to create Darkmail, and Startpage/Ixquick announced their encrypted email service Startmail a while back, and beta tester accounts were activated sometime in March (for whatever reason, I never activated mine...).  Those are the only ones I personally knew about, as I had used their services (Lavabit, StartPage) in the past.  Protonmail came up on my radar recently from reading CodeProject News, and was the only one I found that had free accounts.  After doing a few discrete searches, I found a couple more:

Lavaboom:
https://lavaboom.com/en/
Free accounts offered.  Currently a waiting list for beta accounts.  'Zero-knowledge' key handling, 3-factor authentication (for paid accounts, free accounts have 2-factor)

Hushmail:
https://www.hushmail.com/
Apparently, these folks have been around a while.  Free accounts are web-interface only, 25MB of storage, and you must login at least once every 3 weeks.  Paid accounts have POP/IMAP access and 1-10 GB storage.  Not so popular with the hardcore crowd because their terms of service stated they would comply with authorities if you were found to be doing something illegal.  Reading through their TOS today, it looks like they've omitted that language and simply state they will terminate your account.

... and a few services that aren't email providers, but do promise to provide easy-to-use encryption:

Virtru:
https://www.virtru.com/
Works with Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook.com, and provides some cool features, such as revoking read permissions after sending (wat?).
Check out lifehacker's write-up: http://lifehacker.co...-see-if-i-1572789184
Lead developer has a background in the NSA; make of that what you will...

Sendinc:
https://www.sendinc.com/
Send an encrypted email right from your browser or mobile device, or their Outlook plug-in.
How it works: http://www.sendinc.c...m/about/how-it-works

There were others, but these looked the most interesting.

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,405
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2014, 09:13:45 PM »
https://beta.startmail.com/

Beta signups are over, though.

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,137
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2014, 09:21:49 PM »
@Edvard: Many thanks for all that info.

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,405
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2014, 05:33:14 PM »
Well, it appears that ProtonMail is going crowdsourced to keep up with the demand.  Just received this e-mail today...

Quote
Dear ProtonMail supporter,

Thank you for patiently waiting for the activation of your account while we increase capacity. Since ProtonMail beta launched one month ago, a huge number of people from around the world have requested ProtonMail accounts. The world is ready for privacy.

We want to provide free ProtonMail accounts to everyone so we have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for additional servers. If we hit our target, we should be able to accommodate everybody on our waiting list by the end of July.

If you would like to contribute to our Crowdfunding campaign, you can visit it here:
https://www.indiegog.../projects/protonmail

This is how real change happens: every contribution, no matter how small, gets us closer to enabling privacy for everyone. Online privacy and freedom touch each and every one of us. If we all stand together, we can build the future we want.

Thank you for supporting our fight to restore privacy.

Your ProtonMail Team
Andy, Jason, and Wei


===============================
We sent you this email because you are on our waiting list.
If you no longer need a ProtonMail account, consider taking yourself off the waiting list to make room for others:
https://protonmail.c.../invite-settings.php

This email was sent by:
ProtonMail, Case postale 575, Geneva 1215, Switzerland

One might wonder, however, if the initial invites were to generate a critical mass, which this is taking advantage of...

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2014, 06:34:43 PM »
My problem is that something like this makes it so easy for all the world's intelligence services to be able to target a single nexus for e-mails that actually might have something worth hiding in them. Why not just paint a bullseye on the server farm while they're at it.

Zero access? End to end encryption? Great on a technical level - and in theory.

Unfortunately, here's how signal intelligence tends to work in the real world.

security.png

It's a whole different world now. Governments no longer play by the rules or respect the law. Not even their own when it doesn't suit them.

Reminder: this is not a tech challenge we've got here. It's a people problem. :huh:
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 06:41:37 PM by 40hz »

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2014, 07:35:29 PM »
My problem is that something like this makes it so easy for all the world's intelligence services to be able to target a single nexus for e-mails that actually might have something worth hiding in them. Why not just paint a bullseye on the server farm while they're at it.

Zero access? End to end encryption? Great on a technical level - and in theory.

Unfortunately, here's how signal intelligence tends to work in the real world.
 (see attachment in previous post)
It's a whole different world now. Governments no longer play by the rules or respect the law. Not even their own when it doesn't suit them.

Reminder: this is not a tech challenge we've got here. It's a people problem. :huh:

I'm almost 100% in agreement there. The problem now is that cryptography has advanced yet once again making the $5 wrench quite obsolete.

With multi-signature in Bitcoin, you no longer have that same single point of failure. Sure, you can turn over your private keys, but that won't help when more than 1 key is needed.

So the thugs then need to go out and kidnap someone else and get their private keys as well.

It's certainly not perfect - but it makes the single point of failure a thing of the past, and makes breaking into encrypted data just that much harder.

Red Queen anyone? ;D

It's a whole different world now. Governments no longer play by the rules or respect the law. Not even their own when it doesn't suit them.

Reminder: this is not a tech challenge we've got here. It's a people problem. :huh:

+100%, but let's go a bit further still. ;)

Which reminds me of this:

people-are-bad.jpg

Or a more artistic version that expresses the idea a bit better:

circular-300x300.jpg

Or a variation on that (rather large):

Spoiler
tumblr_mlise7cnOR1rt6ykvo1_1280.jpg


Yet again more arguments for decentralised systems that are guaranteed to freak out a lot of people who are very much attached to centralised models (which we know are fragile and catastrophic when they fail). But, y'know... screw logic because tradition. ;)

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2014, 10:11:47 PM »


Yet again more arguments for decentralised systems that are guaranteed to freak out a lot of people who are very much attached to centralised models (which we know are fragile and catastrophic when they fail). But, y'know... screw logic because tradition. ;)




It's an interesting idea. Sorta like the old Discordian principle which states that Discordian cabals need to "stand apart with each" other if the day of liberation is ever to come - or the eschaton immanentized - whichever comes first.

That said, I'm not ready to say that DAOs (and all the other decentralized/double-blind/distributed/neocurrency/cryptography and network ideas) by themselves will bring us into Paradise. No matter how well-designed a system, ways can be found to game it. And somebody inevitably will.

Which brings us back to the "people problem" and the need for "men/persons of goodwill" to really make it happen.

The thing that makes me wonder how likely that will be is listening to the people you usually find involved in launching these "new" systems. They're hardly men of goodwill. Their attitude towards others is not very cordial. They love to casually refer to the general population as fucktards, sheeple, clueless, and stupid - secure in an unshakable belief in their own intellectual and moral superiority. Most I've met or talked to are unapologetically out for themselves - although they'll cloak it somewhat under the banner of "enlightened self-interest" and argue that "a rising tide floats all boats." Funny how much that way of thinking mirrors that of the old "trickle down" economic argument.

So...instead of the benefits trickling down, under the new system they'll now trickle up?

Hmm...not getting warm fuzzies over any of this.

With multi-signature in Bitcoin, you no longer have that same single point of failure. Sure, you can turn over your private keys, but that won't help when more than 1 key is needed.

So the thugs then need to go out and kidnap someone else and get their private keys as well.

Um...how is that a significant problem or challenge with the resources the average national government has at it's disposal?  Arrest one person or sweep up a hundred. Sign an order to waterboard one person (or twenty) - it's all in a day's work for some apparatchik.

Talking about doing things that would make life more difficult for thugs tells me (on some level) that the person saying it still believes there are enforceable rules in effect. Well..I got some bad news for him/her: There aren't.

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2014, 10:39:53 PM »
Which brings us back to the "people problem" and the need for "men/persons of goodwill" to really make it happen.

You won't get many arguments about people being the problem from me. ;)

The thing that makes me wonder how likely that will be is listening to the people you usually find involved in launching these "new" systems. They're hardly men of goodwill. Their attitude towards others is not very cordial. They love to casually refer to the general population as fucktards, sheeple, clueless, and stupid - secure in an unshakable belief in their own intellectual and moral superiority. Most I've met or talked to are unapologetically out for themselves - although they'll cloak it somewhat under the banner of "enlightened self-interest" and argue that "a rising tide floats all boats." Funny how much that way of thinking mirrors that of the old "trickle down" economic argument.

So...instead of the benefits trickling down, under the new system they'll now trickle up?

Hmm...not getting warm fuzzies over any of this.

I'm entirely missing your point. Really. I'm not trying to be difficult.

I don't think there's any debate over whether or not decentralised systems are more resilient than centralised systems. That's pretty much a given. So I'm not sure what you're getting at there...

With multi-signature in Bitcoin, you no longer have that same single point of failure. Sure, you can turn over your private keys, but that won't help when more than 1 key is needed.

So the thugs then need to go out and kidnap someone else and get their private keys as well.

Um...how is that a significant problem or challenge with the resources the average national government has at it's disposal?  Arrest one person or sweep up a hundred. Sign an order to waterboard one person (or twenty) - it's all in a day's work for some apparatchik.

Like I said...

It's certainly not perfect - but it makes the single point of failure a thing of the past, and makes breaking into encrypted data just that much harder.

Yes - it can be overcome. But, it's much harder now.

Consider the case where you and I hold the keys required to access some resource. We're not in the same country, or even on the same continent. That certainly complicates the efforts of either government where we live to extract information from us as neither of us alone can unlock it.

This is a significant improvement over the previous single-key system.

Can it be overcome? Absolutely! Is it as easy? No.

Again... Red Queens all over the place here. 8)

Talking about doing things that would make life more difficult for thugs tells me (on some level) that the person saying it still believes there are enforceable rules in effect. Well..I got some bad news for him/her: There aren't.

You will get exactly 1 argument from me about that. ;)

I don't think there are any enforceable rules. I merely believe that the amount of effort required is now more than it was previously.

It's the exact same thing as replacing the lock on your front door with a lock that is resistent to lock-picking. There is no significant difference in the cryptography case above - in each case, some element is introduced to further complicate/frustrate efforts to "get in".

Will the thugs get in? Maybe. Maybe not. It is entirely dependent on just how determined they are to get in.

Please don't think that I have any faith in government or that I believe in any illusory integrity that some would ascribe to them. I don't. ;)

My comments above were merely to point out that multi-signature cryptography has created the possibility to make accessing resources much more difficult than in the past.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,137
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2014, 02:45:52 AM »
I received the same email (circular) from ProtonMail as @wraith808 has apparently received.
The email basically seems to be indirectly advising that there are now strings attached to the acceptance of your request to join ProtonMail.
I'd recommend a healthy dose of skepticism. From experience, introducing/attaching such strings at a late stage, where there were no such strings before, is something that can often precede the execution of a con trick.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2014, 08:53:00 AM »
^I also have trouble accepting another "we had no idea the demand would be so great" excuse from a startup.

If true, it indicates a dangerous and unacceptable degree of naivety on the part of these folks. In the wake of the Snowden revelations, and the shuttering of Lavabit, they had no idea? Seriously?

And if not true, then IainB's suspicion about a potential scam in progress inches closer to a certainty in my book.

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,405
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2014, 10:57:33 AM »
Indeed, both of your posts indicate what I was thinking of when I posted.  I didn't want to be too cynical in my posting, however. ;D

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2014, 11:09:28 AM »
Indeed, both of your posts indicate what I was thinking of when I posted.  I didn't want to be too cynical in my posting, however. ;D

Oh, go ahead! Voice your most cynical thoughts freely! You're in good company here. DC is one of the most optimistically pessimistic (or pessimistically optimistic if you prefer) communities you'll ever have the pleasure of conversing with.  ;D :Thmbsup:

That's why I keep coming back. (That and they haven't kicked me out yet. ;))
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 01:33:49 PM by 40hz »

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,405
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2014, 11:12:14 AM »
This image never gets old...

apocaloptimist.jpg

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2014, 11:16:59 AM »
 

      p2.png

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,405
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2014, 11:37:31 AM »
 :Thmbsup: ;D

Edvard

  • Coding Snacks Author
  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,888
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2014, 07:52:34 PM »
And I thought I was alone in thinking the same thing...

I'll try Lavaboom and see how that turns out.

Edvard

  • Coding Snacks Author
  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,888
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2014, 07:54:29 PM »
Well, that was quick...  (still on the waiting list, though).

Quote

Welcome to Lavaboom.

Thank you for signing up to Lavaboom. You’ve just confirmed your place on the waiting list!

We’re rolling out invitations on a first come, first served basis. You should receive another email soon inviting you to join the service.

What now? Invite your friends to join Lavaboom, check out our privacy blog and stay updated by following us on Twitter at @lavaboomhq.

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2014, 08:16:44 PM »
This image never gets old...
 (see attachment in previous post)

Hahaha! I'd not seen that before! (Or don't remember. Same diff.)

I kind of just wish SHTF would hurry up so that the corrupt roots can get pulled up and we can get on with rebuilding something slightly sane.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,137
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2014, 09:14:00 PM »
...I kind of just wish SHTF would hurry up so that the corrupt roots can get pulled up and we can get on with rebuilding something slightly sane.
_______________________
Amazing. And what exactly do you think happened that led up to the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution, and then the current US state? Or, to put it another way, Mao's revolution and the current Chinese state? Or, to put it another way, etc.... (i could go on, but I won't, as you will get the general drift.)
One inference that could be drawn from all of that is that it might be difficult to distinguish/separate the "corrupt roots" from ourselves and our inherent nature as a species.
I blame it all on coming down and from the trees in the first place.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2014, 10:13:00 PM »
One inference that could be drawn from all of that is that it might be difficult to distinguish/separate the "corrupt roots" from ourselves and our inherent nature as a species.

This. :Thmbsup:

It is in the nature of all things human to go from bad to worse - and (given sufficient time) from worse to merde.


Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2014, 12:00:57 AM »
@IainB & @40hz - straying off topic
...I kind of just wish SHTF would hurry up so that the corrupt roots can get pulled up and we can get on with rebuilding something slightly sane.
_______________________
Amazing. And what exactly do you think happened that led up to the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution, and then the current US state? Or, to put it another way, Mao's revolution and the current Chinese state? Or, to put it another way, etc.... (i could go on, but I won't, as you will get the general drift.)
One inference that could be drawn from all of that is that it might be difficult to distinguish/separate the "corrupt roots" from ourselves and our inherent nature as a species.
I blame it all on coming down and from the trees in the first place.


I don't think I'm quite as pessimistic as you on that.

But, I didn't phrase that very clearly either. I wanted to avoid the Basement. But, you're kind of forcing my hand here... so... I want anarchy in the literal/etymological sense (1530s, from French anarchie or directly from Medieval Latin anarchia, from Greek anarkhia "lack of a leader, the state of people without a government" (in Athens, used of the Year of Thirty Tyrants, 404 B.C., when there was no archon), noun of state from anarkhos "rulerless," from an- "without" (see an- (1)) + arkhos "leader" (see archon).). By "pull up the corrupt roots" I mean the crumbling/tearing down (dissolution) of the state. By "something" I do not mean "state".

One inference that could be drawn from all of that is that it might be difficult to distinguish/separate the "corrupt roots" from ourselves and our inherent nature as a species.

I'm not that pessimistic. Thomas Hobbes and "Lord of the Flies" aren't accurate representations -- but they do well point out the outliers in human behaviour. The problem is that the outliers tend to love forming states and being politicians, etc.

It is in the nature of all things human to go from bad to worse - and (given sufficient time) from worse to merde.

Maybe it's just me, and maybe I'm simply too optimistic, but I think that this kind of pessimism mixes up "the nature of all things human" with those psychotic outliers that constantly seek control and domination over others. That power-lust is part, but not all. The willingness (laziness?) to be dominated over is part, but not all. I think that we can rise above that, but that it takes effort.


Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker