back to article CERN and MIT chaps' secure webmail stalled by stampede of users

A bunch of CERN alumni has taken time out of the weighty world of particle physics to take another shot at cracking the e-mail encryption nut. Their offering, Proton Mail, has gone into public beta, and proved so popular the group has had to suspend new registrations while it upgrades its servers. As a concept, encrypting e- …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This sounds like a plan...

    Thumbs up from me!

  2. Eugene Crosser
    1. phil dude
      Thumb Up

      thank you..

      that link was interesting to read.

      I really get the code injection comment though. I have done it myself to , err, sidestep webpages!!!

      P.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But what if there is a Stasi Backdoor within the hosting browser?

    What do you do then?

  4. frank ly

    Anybody who is 'sophisticated' enough to use this ...

    ... and to feel that they need this, would be capable of using a standard encryption utility on a .txt file and sending it as an attachment, surely? The recipient has to be able to decrypt the attachment, yes, but if the recipient can't do that, they are probably not clued up enough to be able to use this service anyway.

    1. nematoad Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Anybody who is 'sophisticated' enough to use this ...

      I agree that PGP is within the grasp of most people on this site but that's missing the point. This looks like it is aimed at those who regard computers as a tool and want the quickest and easiest way of getting their job done. If this encourages the widespread uptake of this technology we will be approaching a state of "herd immunity"

      Definition from Wordnik:

      herd immunity

      n. The protection given to a community against an epidemic of a contagious disease when a sufficient number of the population are immunised or otherwise develop immunity to it.

      I think that we can all agree that the threat posed by the activities of NSA and GCHQ comes close to a definition of "contagious disease" So anything that helps us fight off such threats is to be welcomed and this development is giving us the chance to keep such threats at bay.

    2. Peter Prof Fox

      Re: Anybody who is 'sophisticated' enough to use this ...

      In a community (unless you send emails to yourself) everyone in that community needs to be able to use the same system. Perhaps different front-ends if that's what suits, but the basic system has to be usable by everyone in my terrorist cell/environmental activist group/money laundering network.

      IMHO authentication is the big email problem.

      1. Robert Helpmann??
        Childcatcher

        Re: Anybody who is 'sophisticated' enough to use this ...

        IMHO authentication is the big email problem.

        Actually, it seems there are several "big problems" with e-mail including authentication. Rather than attempt to solve them all at once, attacking them individually would seem to be a reasonable approach, so cheers to the boffins. Also, I don't believe that everyone needs to be able to use the same system, just that their respective systems are compatible and all involved understand (and perhaps care about) the level of risk involved in dealing with each other. Really, the biggest issues I see in any security discussion are that those who are supposed to use it understand it and care that it is is used. People are always the weakest link.

        BTW Eugene Crosser, thanks for a nice Friday read. Have an up-vote.

  5. nematoad Silver badge
    Happy

    The price is right.

    Now I'm a tight-fisted bastard and need a lot of persuading that paying for something IT is justified but this looks like it might just prise open my wallet.

    If this proves to be what it claims to be then paying such a paltry amount to stick it to the man is money well spent. As soon as they re-open the site I'm going to have a look.

  6. anatak

    time frame ?

    is this a daily / weekly / monthly / yearly fee ?

    I can hardly imagine it is a one time fee.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: time frame ?

      From what I read it's a monthly fee for extra storage (per Gigabyte). The basic service is meant to be free but I imagine that will be determined by the numbers that pay for extra storage.

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    Uh-oh

    Proton Mail runs full disk encryption in its Swiss data centres (Switzerland was chosen as offering the best available privacy legislation)

    "Stay the fuck out of the EU?"

    Luxembourg currently tries to position itself as datacenter go-to country, in particular by passing various legislation about cloudy services. Will there be fighting in a Gallic Village?

  8. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    For the clueless: The idea here is that you can be as computer literate as Seymour Cray and still send secure e-mails to your 80 year old grandmother - who isn't.

  9. adeater
    Big Brother

    something of a howler

    "Some of the developers remain at CERN, while others are now at MIT."

    The second meeting took place in October 1988 at a summer resort in Western Virginia, sad and grey this particular autumn. The Americans turned up in force. Bill Bostwick, from the Department of Energy was the Chairman, Barry Leiner from the Department of Defense and Vint Cerf were present. The European representatives were thin on the ground: a German and British representative plus Francois Flückiger.

    In 1991, 80% of the internet capacity in Europe for international traffic was installed at CERN, in building 513.

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