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Encryption Cloud Communications Privacy

Lockbox Aims To NSA-Proof the Cloud 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-can-you-NSA-proof-yourself dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Lockbox, a tech startup founded in 2008, just received $2.5 million in seed funding for its end-to-end encryption cloud service, Client Portal. So, how does end-to-end cloud encryption work? Lockbox encrypts and compresses files before they are uploaded to the cloud. Only a person in possession of the corresponding key can unlock, or decrypt, the files. This means that the NSA, malicious hackers, business competitors, and even crazy girlfriends and boyfriends won't be be able to peer into users' most sensitive and private files."
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Lockbox Aims To NSA-Proof the Cloud

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  • I like the idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bondsbw (888959) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:22AM (#44729085)

    But I prefer that my encryption tool and my cloud storage service be completely separate. (How do I know Lockbox isn't sending the keys to the NSA, or whoever?)

    • Re:I like the idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Garridan (597129) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:25AM (#44729107)
      Yup. It's only secure as your OS, and the NSA pwns that. Always airgap your private key, or it's theirs.
    • Re:I like the idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe&jwsmythe,com> on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:27AM (#44729117) Homepage Journal

      A friend of mine offered that kind of service quite a few years ago.

      It was a backup service. The user had the key. It was encrypted on the user's site, and only encrypted data sent up to the server.

      It's not novel. It's a slashvertisment. {sigh}

      • by toQDuj (806112)

        Yes, most of the online backup services offer this. Crashplan does the same. I have the keys, they don't.

        • Re:I like the idea (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 01, 2013 @04:00AM (#44729445)

          Tarsnap should also be mentioned in this context. It's a business started by Colin Percival, noted cryptographer and BSD developer. The client is 100% open source and runs on your machine. When Colin developed Tarsnap he found existing key derivation functions lacking, so he developed his own memory hard scrypt, which has found wide applications in other areas.

          The major problem with "encrypted cloud" solutions is that encryption severely limits what can be done in the cloud. You can basically do encrypted file storage. You can't run virus or spam filters on your data, you can't index it and search it etc. So all the useful features we have in a Gmail session need to awkwardly and inefficiently be re-implemented on the client side.

          The providers have very little incentive to do this and transform ad supported free services into paid ones (since data mining no longer works, ad revenue drops dramatically). While I would love encrypted email for everyone, it just won't happen for economic reasons. The NSA affair will be quickly forgotten and people will return to business as usual.

          • Re:I like the idea (Score:5, Interesting)

            by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @04:36AM (#44729545) Journal
            Full homomorphic encryption is really hard. Homomorphic encryption allows you to encrypt your data, do some computation on the result, and then perform some operation on the output to get the same result as doing the operation on the unencrypted data. Current solutions are at least a factor of 1000 slower than doing it on unencrypted data, but that's only for general case. There are ways of encrypting data that preserve certain properties so you can, for example, perform simple database operations on it in the encrypted form and only interpret the results if you hold the keys. The down side of these approaches is that they increase the size (effectively doubling it for every primitive operation that you want to support), but with storage becoming cheap they may become interesting...
        • by rvw (755107)

          Yes, most of the online backup services offer this. Crashplan does the same. I have the keys, they don't.

          I use CP as well, with a private key. How do you know that they haven't sent that private key to their servers? I don't, but I'm pretty sure they won't do this by default. If it comes out, it's not good for their business. But how about an obfuscated command that tells the local backup program to send the key to them? It would only be used rarely, so it won't be discovered quickly. Can you assure me that such an option does not exist? I can't.

          • Even if you don't think the devs have put a backdoor in yet, can you be sure they won't comply with a secret order to insert one into their system?
      • Re:I like the idea (Score:4, Informative)

        by Shemmie (909181) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @07:54AM (#44729979)

        Another service offering:

        SpiderOak uses AES256 in CFB mode and HMAC-SHA256. SpiderOak uses a nested series of key scopes: a new key for each folder, version of a file, and the individual data blocks that versions of files are composed from. Having keys with such limited scope allows for selective sharing of chosen portions of your data while keeping the remainder private.

                Most importantly, however, the keys are never stored plaintext on the SpiderOak server. They are encrypted with 256 bit AES, using a key created from your password by the key derivation/strengthening algorithm PBKDF2 (using sha256), with a minimum of 16384 rounds, and 32 bytes of random data ("salt"). This approach prevents brute force and pre-computation or database attacks against the key. This means that a user who knows her password can generate the outer level encryption key using PBKDF2 and the salt, then decipher the outer level keys, and be on the way to decrypting her data. Without knowledge of the password, however, the data is unreadable.

                SpiderOak accounts also include a 3072 bit public/private RSA key pair. This is currently not used for anything, but is included with all accounts with the expectation that SpiderOak will add multi-user private collaborative and sharing features which would necessitate the use of the the public/private keys.

        https://spideroak.com/ [spideroak.com] .

    • Re:I like the idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mysidia (191772) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:27AM (#44729119)

      It would defeat the point. You can probably safely assume they are not sending them right now.

      The problem is: in the future, when more than 2 people start using their service --- the chance gets higher and higher over time, that NSA agents will descend upon them, and provide a legal order requiring they insert backdoors into their service, or protocol, or otherwise: provide the NSA with the resources required to get at the content, AND requiring they tell nobody.

      In other words : No US-based cloud service can really fight the NSA; unless they are prepared to shutter the service and go to jail for the cause, which is not likely.

      An overseas service is even better for the NSA getting a better chance at capturing the data -- because the things that are legal for them to do expand; gathering intelligence on overseas communications falls within their government mandate; and the techniques they employ could espionage, infiltration into the organization providing the service; and include compromise of computer systems and implanting malware bugs.

      • Re:I like the idea (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 0111 1110 (518466) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:50AM (#44729215)

        I don't think an overseas service is better for the NSA. They don't have to even pretend to have ethical or legal constraints, but they are limited by international politics. They are stuck asking for cooperation. Or trying to bribe the right people. Within the US they have the full force of the US government behind them and can simply put uncooperative people in jail.

        Nevertheless things have reached a point where you might get idealogically motivated people starting anti-NSA encryption systems and there isn't much the NSA can do against someone willing to risk prison or flee the country or shut down their entire company rather than deal with the devil. The NSA and the government in general are used to dealing with people who are easily controlled with nothing more than money.

        But, yeah, the NSA can at least shut down pretty much any US based centralized system intended to fight them. Outside of North America and Western Europe it's a different story though. They don't have any legal power to shut down anything over there.

        • "Nevertheless things have reached a point where you might get idealogically motivated people starting anti-NSA encryption systems and there isn't much the NSA can do against someone willing to risk prison or flee the country or shut down their entire company rather than deal with the devil. The NSA and the government in general are used to dealing with people who are easily controlled with nothing more than money."

          "Might get"???

          Haven't you been reading the news?

        • Re:I like the idea (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Zemran (3101) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @03:28AM (#44729357) Homepage Journal

          If you go outside of North America and Western Europe, the NSA have big wallets and a bribe is more likely to work. You may think that somewhere like Venezuela hates the US enough to allow a business like this but I guarantee that the average sys admin in Venezuela could be bought for a few hundred. I would opt for a European country with more a sensible legal system like Switzerland. It will take years for the NSA to get in and the fight would be public. I know that they got into the banks but we all knew about it long before they got there. There are still other option with more effective privacy options and zero corruption but outside of Europe you know they are easily bought.

          • It's been done already:

            For half a century, Crypto AG, a Swiss company located in Zug, has sold to more than 100 countries the encryption machines their officials rely upon to exchange their most sensitive economic, diplomatic and military messages. Crypto AG was founded in 1952 by the legendary (Russian born) Swedish cryptographer Boris Hagelin. During World War II, Hagelin sold 140,000 of his machine to the US Army.

            "In the meantime, the Crypto AG has built up long standing cooperative relations with custom

        • Re:I like the idea (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Andtalath (1074376) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @03:37AM (#44729381)

          Tpb was raided due to a threat from USA regarding an embargo towards Sweden.

          So, well, if bloody Hollywood can put that type of pressure on a country, I believe a branch of the government can as well.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 01, 2013 @05:45AM (#44729695)

            if bloody Hollywood can put that type of pressure on a country, I believe a branch of the government can as well.

            Hollywood is a branch of the US government!

      • by icebike (68054)

        That's not Exactly true.

        If a service provides an open source encryption routine, and also, perhaps, but not necessarily required, an open source transfer routine for the already encrypted files, you could air gap the encryption task from the transfer task, and even with a court order and a shot gun to their head, the company couldn't give you data away.

        Spideroak has promised to open source their client for exactly this reason. So far they haven't delivered.

        • Re:I like the idea (Score:4, Informative)

          by mysidia (191772) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @03:20AM (#44729339)

          you could air gap the encryption task from the transfer task, and even with a court order and a shot gun to their head, the company couldn't give you data away.

          The order could say to covertly insert a backdoor of the NSA's choosing in the "open source" client; or provide the NSA operatives root access to the server that distributes the client binaries, and the keys to push out a new release of the software.

          Someone maintains the code that the users are using. And the maintainers could very easily be subject to a gag order; to not discuss the covert backdoor, even if it's visible in the open source code ----- it doesn't have to be, though: most people will just download the project's (NSA-patched) binary builds of the release.

          • by icebike (68054)

            When someone is buying a security product, and buying one that specifically bills itself as open source you can bet there will be many many sets of eyes on the code. It only takes one person to spot something like that, and you would be able to add your own layer of encryption on top of what was already in the open source.

            So, no, open source is not as easy to beat as you suggest.

          • It's harder to covertly insert a backdoor into an open source client because people can watch the changes. It's much easier to insert it before it's open sourced, because then people have to review the entire code drop at once. That said, adding a back door into OpenSSL would be comparatively easy because no one understands the convoluted twisty maze of code paths in it.
      • Re:I like the idea (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vux984 (928602) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @03:29AM (#44729361)

        In other words : No US-based cloud service can really fight the NSA;

        The key to fighting the NSA is to provide a completely transparent API.

        And then rely on 3rd parties to deliver software that uses the API.

        Even if the NSA knows that I have account with the cloud service, they don't know what client I use, (and even if i do, the client is on my equipment not "service based" there is no easy target to send a gag order too.

        Essentially, dropbox, skydrive etc are all perfectly suitable cloud services.

        What we need is them to do isopen them up wide open to 3rd party client development.

        • I think I have some insight into this as I have an end to end encrypted cloud service called coinlock.com [coinlock.com] My slashvertisement on the subject was ignored though ;) millions in funding tends to get people noticed.

          Anyway on this particular subject I think you have hit the nail on the head. The key to long term security is to completely open up the API and separate the client side components so that third parties can use te service with their own sotware or with the software that you have provided them dire
      • Re:I like the idea (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Dunbal (464142) * on Sunday September 01, 2013 @08:10AM (#44730009)
        Drop "US-based", because the US government has already made use of foreign police (Sweden illegal server raids, New Zealand illegal server raids, extradition of "hackers" from the UK, etc) to shut down foreign sites claimed to be violating US laws. Perhaps it's better to say "No cloud service in a US friendly country can really fight the NSA". So you can always go for storing your data in an UNfriendly country. But since they're unfriendly what makes you think your data would be safer there? Quite the conundrum.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        In other words : No US-based cloud service can really fight the NSA; unless they are prepared to shutter the service and go to jail for the cause, which is not likely.

        Seems like a dandy way to make enough money to leave the USA, though. Start cloud service, collect money, put it in offshore banking like all the actual criminals in government. Eventually the NSA serves you an order, you leave the country and then shutter the service and publish the order, spending your days drinking Mai Tais in a non-extradition country.

    • Re:I like the idea (Score:5, Interesting)

      by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Sunday September 01, 2013 @03:28AM (#44729359)

      But I prefer that my encryption tool and my cloud storage service be completely separate. (How do I know Lockbox isn't sending the keys to the NSA, or whoever?)

      It's pointless anyway against the NSA. Seriously. Every single modern operating system (including on routers) has tons of unpatched exploit vectors. There's even a black market for them. The NSA can just infect your machines and ex-filtrate your data and/or the encryption keys... See the previous story:

      [NSA] Budget documents say the $652 million project has placed 'covert implants,' sophisticated malware transmitted from far away, in computers, routers and firewalls on tens of thousands of machines every year, with plans to expand those numbers into the millions.

      Hell we have multiple celebrations of insecurity every year called "computer security conferences" where without fail new systems are compromised. How can you even look at stuff like Pwn 2 Own, and not have your brain melting in cognitive dissonance as you try to believe there are network attached scenarios where your data is safe from the NSA?

      You want your data kept secret? Use whole drive encryption on machines that are never connected to any networks -- And even then there's the Ken Thompson Microcode Hack [bell-labs.com], so your systems could be theoretically pre-hacked from the factory... I won't buy a CPU that has remote cellular capabilities... Like Intel's Sandy Bridge [techspot.com]. Laughed my ass off when I heard about that! "Security Feature" indeed. At least if the machine can't get on the networks there's a much lower chance of your data escaping if it's pre-hacked.

      I don't know of any hacker worth their salt -- black, gray or white hat -- that doesn't have a directory of unpatched zero day exploits.
      I keep mine in: ~/with/great/power/comes/great/responsibility/
      Me having to navigate the directory structure has saved many a newb... The NSA has no such sensibilities.
      If the data's encrypted, they assume it could be from a foreigner, and thus give themselves license to get at it, and they can.
      This is what happens when you let Threat Narrative run amok.

      • Hehe, oh... I mean, the company is named "Intel" FFS, haha ha!
      • by Alef (605149)

        It's pointless anyway against the NSA. Seriously. Every single modern operating system (including on routers) has tons of unpatched exploit vectors. There's even a black market for them. The NSA can just infect your machines and ex-filtrate your data and/or the encryption keys...

        If you are individually targeted by the NSA, then yes, you probably don't stand much of a chance. But they couldn't use that kind of attack vector en masse without it being discovered fairly quickly, so it still helps against dragnet fishing.

    • by Nikker (749551)
      Compressed cypher text should be quite easy to crack shouldn't it?

      Most compression algorithms use a dictionary, if you knew approximately the dictionary was in the data stream it should make it fairly easy to guess the key wouldn't it?

      Compressed English for example would have many similar dictionaries amongst most digests. Knowing the most common dictionary entries statically analyzing the cypher text would result in a clear text digest which in turn would be trivial to reveal the message.

      Of cours
    • by rvw (755107)

      But I prefer that my encryption tool and my cloud storage service be completely separate. (How do I know Lockbox isn't sending the keys to the NSA, or whoever?)

      I use Crashplan for online and local backup. They have two options for encryption. The program itself can generate a key, which is shared with CP. When you lose the key, they can get it back, and your files are still save. You can create your own key, which is only saved locally on your computer. If you lose it, all backups are lost. I've thought about this many times, and there is no way of knowing that this key is being sent to CP, for me at least. And probably this key is never sent, but then there is no

    • With the recent "revelations" (they're not), it would be obvious that xkcd was pretty far off the mark here. The NSA is engaging in a far-reaching fishing expedition that is not practical to conduct with wrenches.
      • by jamesh (87723) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:42AM (#44729183)

        With the recent "revelations" (they're not), it would be obvious that xkcd was pretty far off the mark here. The NSA is engaging in a far-reaching fishing expedition that is not practical to conduct with wrenches.

        But on the other hand if their "far-reaching fishing expedition" doesn't give them the information they want, and they want it badly enough, a wrench always works.

        • by rvw (755107)

          With the recent "revelations" (they're not), it would be obvious that xkcd was pretty far off the mark here. The NSA is engaging in a far-reaching fishing expedition that is not practical to conduct with wrenches.

          But on the other hand if their "far-reaching fishing expedition" doesn't give them the information they want, and they want it badly enough, a wrench always works.

          Some people simply won't give in, even if you use that wrench on their loved ones.

          • by jamesh (87723)

            With the recent "revelations" (they're not), it would be obvious that xkcd was pretty far off the mark here. The NSA is engaging in a far-reaching fishing expedition that is not practical to conduct with wrenches.

            But on the other hand if their "far-reaching fishing expedition" doesn't give them the information they want, and they want it badly enough, a wrench always works.

            Some people simply won't give in, even if you use that wrench on their loved ones.

            Yes but that's the sort of person the NSA really is interested in. My secrets, i'd give up in a hearbeat in that situation.

      • Even so, this service does not protect an individual against wrenches.

        • by rvw (755107)

          Even so, this service does not protect an individual against wrenches.

          Indeed it doesn't, but a wrench is not guaranteed to work either.

          • by Urkki (668283)

            Even so, this service does not protect an individual against wrenches.

            Indeed it doesn't, but a wrench is not guaranteed to work either.

            If the wrench does not work, you're holding it wrong.

    • by jon3k (691256)
      1. Require a password and a private key file stored on computer to decrypt files (Two factor authentication)
      2. Two sets of logins: One set of credentials is to your normal account, the other has a login/startup script that wipes the private key and DoD wipes the free space
      3. When the NSA asks for your password, give them the wipe password

      Congratulations, the NSA can beat you with a wrench all they want, it's not possible for you to give them the encryption key anymore.
      • I believe standard practice is for police to back up your hard drive before they start forensic stuff. So you give them a wipe password, then they go for the real one.
  • Whatever the encryption is, you can bet your bottom dollar bill that the NSA is at least two decades ahead of it.

    • by BlueStrat (756137)

      Whatever the encryption is, you can bet your bottom dollar bill that the NSA is at least two decades ahead of it.

      That's why, if you want it really secure, you leverage their own security.

      Hack an NSA/TLA network, and store your encrypted data right alongside of their data.

      You could hide your data on Obama's Blackberry servers, or on Gen. Alexander's, Valerie Jarret's, or Clapper's machines.

      For extra happy-fun-time, make sure to include some CP, bestiality, and snuff films in separate files/folders, and then out them publicly. Sauce for the gander. :)

      The US government has by their own actions declared a de-facto no-rule

  • ... exists. But as mentioned by bondsbw, you can't control wether it sends your keys to a third party.
  • They will just attach to your PC 'end point' and get their data before you encrypt.

    There is no hiding at this point of the game. Well, really its been that way for a bit now, just most people who knew this were called tin-hatters and paranoid. Its nice to be vindicated, sometimes..

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      In the old days a gov would go after the coders, hardware makers, publishers or even create a 'trusted' front company.
      The big telco and computer brands handed over clear text making life much more easy but old methods are still waiting for anyone.
    • by jon3k (691256)
      Explain to me how they attach to my "PC 'end point'" on my linux workstation.
  • Great idea but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zemran (3101) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:30AM (#44729137) Homepage Journal

    ...based in California - cannot trust the security... ...UK - what is security? ...Australia - the FBI asked us nicely...

    • by munch117 (214551)

      ...based in California - cannot trust the security... ...UK - what is security? ...Australia - the FBI asked us nicely...

      You have some fine words there, now you just need to put them in order to form a sentence :-)

      They're actually Australian-based, according to this press release [lock-box.com]. Not that it helps much - with a strong US presence they are still vulnerable to national security letters.

  • by ReallyEvilCanine (991886) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:39AM (#44729171) Homepage
    Without known-secure hardware and and OS to run it, all the fucking encryption in the world don't mean squat. And before the fanbois scream, "Lunix is Teh Shiznit Seckyoor!" remember that you have to know the compiler is safe as well (*cough*Ken*Thompson*cough*).
  • by marienf (140573) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:56AM (#44729233) Homepage

    Can we stop pretending that "The Cloud" has actual meaning, technical relevance, etc..?
    Do we really have to go back to the fracking mainframe with all our eggs into one (someone else's) basket,
    and at the mercy of whatever corporate greed du jour? Your Brains! They are SOOOO CLEAN!

    We have so much computing power and bandwidth in the home and office that it should be perfectly feasible
    to go exactly the other way, do away with the stupid client/server model and go 100% P2P, keeping
    one's own data on one's own hardware in one's own home.

    ISP's that go symmetric and neutral will survive.

    • While I'm not a huge fan of cloud services, they *do* provide me with one huge benefit: the sync/backup service I use provides live versioning, so when something goes horribly wrong on a document that I don't notice until several saves have gone by, I can easily restore it. The only comparable programs I've found either tapped my drive/CPU near-constantly enough to slow the system down or required extensive manual configuration.

      • by marienf (140573)

        Sure, ok, but that only means you have a well-designed backup service, and that has nothing to do with where it stores its data: It could be saving to your own device, or to devices at one or more trusted parties *of your choice*. In essence, towards devices managed by people that you have a mutual agreement or a true definable trust relationship with.

        I'd like to hear *one* example of a useful application that is better off in "the cloud" than implemented with other schemes, even a bunch of VM's in your own

        • by rvw (755107)

          I'd like to hear *one* example of a useful application that is better off in "the cloud" than implemented with other schemes, even a bunch of VM's in your own data center. All I can think of are one-off raw-power activities using only publicly available data. And even those could be distributed if you have an adequate web of trust.

          The usefulness is not so much that the cloud is better, but it's much cheaper and much more available for clients with smaller budgets. Having a 200GB backup service for $10 a month, or my own server for $20 a month, with high availability, high speed upload and download. I can't offer that here at home (slow upload, no offsite backup) or elsewhere (much more expensive, more difficult handling the hardware in case of trouble).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In this months Free Software Foundation news Bulletin the FSF points to what appears to be a similar offering that is free software friendly:

    https://leastauthority.com/press_release_2013_07_30

    I took a quick look at lockbox and nothing I saw screamed free software. I could be wrong. Maybe they are even using the same underlying software as LeastAuthority. However they haven't advertised that clearly enough (on front page). I'd be concerned in using a service that is more concerned about looks, isn't clear, a

  • Trusted client? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    What's to stop the intelligence agencies from compelling the company to produce a compromised client? For example, logging the encryption keys somewhere, or subtly introducing flaws into the algorithm... I mean, right there on their website, "Only naive users would trust their cloud vendor" - so instead trust us - we *promise* we won't let the NSA sneak anything into our software...

    About the only way you could have any real confidence in this is if you write your own client to manage all the encryption and

  • Until they are served with a secret order telling them (i) to install key escrow backdoor and/or (ii) until NSA starts implanting torjans onto the suspects' computers (like FBI did with some of the Tor users recently, exploiting an unpatched vulnerability in the TorBrowser - http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/08/04/2054208/half-of-tor-sites-compromised-including-tormail [slashdot.org] ).

  • One would hope they do the compression first otherwise there's very little point.
  • the cloud is dead (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0111 1110 (518466) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @03:18AM (#44729329)

    At best the service will simply be shut down by the NSA if they cannot compromise it. Lockbox claims to use client side encryption. If the system is executed perfectly and all of your data is fully encrypted before it leaves your computer this might be difficult, but if the service is shut down you will probably lose your data anyway. Which means you will need a local backup which would seem to ruin the point. I think it's about time to admit that saving any data on a remote server in the US, UK, or close allies of either has to be considered to be stored by the NSA/GCHQ and forwarded to other law enforcement agencies if deemed appropriate. And international cooperation in this regard among close allies cannot be ruled out.

    In the sort of privacy-hostile environment currently faced in the US, UK and much of the world going full tin foil hat is the only way. Any information you want to remain private has to be encrypted by a system fully under your control before it leaves your computer and your passphrase has to not just be secure, but NSA/GCHQ secure. And it wouldn't hurt to toss in some multifactor authentication and steganography as well.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Yes they have your tame mainstream OS/cell OS and every hardware "keystroke" before encryption and any needed knowledge of the OS.
      Also recall many nations have sent their officer class to the US. They will recall the best years of their lives while working in the telco/security sectors...
      Then comes the "just this once" telco/OS favour ....
      Close allies or cold war friendships - or a nations law enforcement - its not your cloud.
    • The NSA couldn't shut down PGP (though they did try unsuccessfully to restrict the public's access to it), and Snowden said it's still secure.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        They have the cooperation of the average users OS, its code and plain text input. Forms of onetime pads, PGP and other amazing encryption has always been an issue. The solution was Tempest, later weak/cheap global standards and now plain text as entered.
  • by thephydes (727739)
    Why would you put your personal data in "the cloud". It seems to me that there are plenty of just-as-secure options in NAS, or have I been duped by that as well?
  • by TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @03:53AM (#44729423) Journal

    SpiderOak [wikipedia.org] has had client-only encryption/decryption using 2048-bit RSA & 256-bit AES for its sync/backup/versioning service for years -- I believe ever since they opened in late 2007. That sure sounds like what this newcomer is touting, except that SpiderOak also has free 2GB accounts with live versioning, and uses binary executables on all platforms to do the encryption/decryption (Lockbox uses a Java web client, which I thought was a security no-no).

    FWIW, I don't get jack out of pointing out SpiderOak. I've just been really relieved that it has restored documents that I completely fucked up (live versioning FTW) and think it's seriously overlooked/underrated.

  • We already have PGP, which is open-sourced. Will this be better and easier to use?

  • by toygeek (473120) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @04:19AM (#44729491) Homepage Journal

    Pick one

  • by bradley13 (1118935) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @04:21AM (#44729497) Homepage

    Seriously. If they want to be taken seriously as offering a service proof against the NSA, they need to not be an American company and to not have any physical US operations. Otherwise a secret FISA order (e.g., issue a client update that sends the encryption keys along with the next batch of data), and their customers are screwed.

    No cloud service (or any other service) in the US can be trusted.

  • by Skylinux (942824) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @06:02AM (#44729741) Homepage

    This is how LastPass.com works. Very good idea and works well but I must trust that future updates are not modified by an "NSA Patch" or some sort of court order.

    One way to somewhat "NSA Proof" it would be to separate the encryption and storage software.
    Storing an encrypted Linux container on a service like crashplan.com works well

  • I don't see the value add of Lockbox. It sounds like what I'm doing now with the Truecrypt/Dropbox combination.
  • If someone wants it bad enough, they will get it. Not only does it apply to cryptography, it also applies to traitors like Edward Snowden.

    He will be found, prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned.

  • I think they underestimate the sheer power of the NSA's cloud. If they decide to sic it on a particular encrypted file, they *will* gain access. We're talking about tens of thousands of servers working to decrypt a file.

    Sure they can't do it for every piece of data they're interested in, but if they want something badly enough, they will decrypt it.

    • by cheros (223479)

      Yawn. Yet another tech answer to what isn't a tech problem to start with. I suspect there will be gazillions more coming your way over the next few months because all the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs want to milk that market before people realise they've been had: IT IS NOT A TECHNICAL PROBLEM.

      For a US based company it is 100% pointless to install any defence mechanism if some random official can walk in and ask for corporate data - the owner has to offer the data., unlocked.

      For any organisation outside t

  • The Root Problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by some old guy (674482) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @07:41AM (#44729957)

    The root problem, appalling pun gleefully intended, is political, not technical.

    Between unlimited resources and questionable legal tactics, the NSA and other sigint agencies can and will always compel or bribe that which they cannot hack. Software crowbars, legal hammers, and moneybags of grease are everything they need. For every new solution, they will create a new problem.

    The only guaranteed solutions are either the (don't hold your breath) complete abolition these government entities, with no successor remakes, or the courts and Congress must hamstring them with crystal-clear transparency (still possible, but politically unlikely).

    To believe otherwise underestimates the present unfettered powers, technical, legal, and financial, of the government.

  • £500 a year for 20 users, and 15 GB?

    Really?

  • convenience. No modern OS should be used, no modern hardware, and no internet connection. I'm going to dig out my old 386 computer, stack of OS/2 floppies, and an old copy of PGP that I have on a floppy from when it first came out. The encrypted files will be stored on 5" floppies in my off-site safe and if they need to be shared with others, it will be done by sneaker net.

    Wait, isn't that what Al queda does? Wait, if that is what Al Queda does, why is the NSA monitoring everything on the internet? Wha

  • You deploy an app that is actually capable of NSA-Proofing the internet. How long do you reckon it'd be before someone pulls up next to your car at a light and shoots you in the ear? I doubt they'd actually be that unsubtle, but you know what they say... "Accidents happen ALL the time... to people who try to NSA-Proof the Internet."
    • by jon3k (691256)
      Naah they'd just snatch him up, tie him to a chair in a room and explain very carefully how he was going to backdoor his software. If you just kill him someone will just pop up next week doing the same thing. Better to just have a silent backdoor and let everyone go on thinking it's "safe".

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