Re: p≡p foundation and Enigmail

Phillip Hallam-Baker phill at hallambaker.com
Wed Nov 22 21:15:52 UTC 2017


Rather than supporting one particular email security solution right
now, could I suggest how TB could make it really easy to plug
different email security solutions in?

The situation I see in the email market is that we have three types of proposal

1) Completely open specification and services, anyone can provide either.

2) Specification, protocol are open but there is really only one
service that you can use if you want to talk to other people.

3) Completely proprietary.

Right now the only scheme that fully meets criteria 1 is SMTP and it
is open to everyone, including hackers. OpenPGP and S/MIME are both
open but a complete and utter pig to configure and sometimes to use.

If someone has to click a button to decrypt a message, the developers
are doing it wrong. If a scheme only works for plaintext email, they
aren't solving the real problem. There are unfortunately far too many
folk in the secure email world that think users should learn to like
the 1970s technology they like as the price of security.

I have developed an entirely new email security scheme that uses very
different cryptography to any other system proposed in an Internet
Draft: Proxy Re-Encryption. This allows email messages to be
end-to-end encrypted to mailing lists without the senders knowing the
membership of the list and without requiring the mailing list server
to be trusted. Our slogan: Mallet is my Sysop.

That is a pretty radical proposal and will take a little while to get
deployed. But the Mathematical Mesh, the infrastructure I am using to
manage the keys for Mesh/Recrypt was originally developed to manage
SMIME, OpenPGP, SSH keys etc and email configuration files and
passwords. Basically, if you have 5 devices and connect them all up to
your Mesh profile, they can all share the same S/MIME or OpenPGP keys.

All I would need to be able to hook this up to Thunderbird at this
point is some instructions that would allow me to install and
configure the client from a command line script. Ideally this would be
the basic client with no modifications.

The way Mesh configuration scripts work is:

1) Generate a new random password (150 bit)
2) Pull the private keys from the users Mesh profile and save in a
file encrypted under the password
3) Install in the client
4) Forget the password.

This approach means that the keys remain safe even if the process is
stopped mid way through.

If someone knows how to do this, I can get the Mesh connected up and
we can start making the built in S/MIME client really easy to
configure almost immediately.

The original plan was that we would be getting free S/MIME
certificates from my employer but we just sold off the CA. I am pretty
sure I can persuade the new owners but I would like to have the code
before asking.


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