Keybase: deliver public key cryptography to the mass user

    Venture fund Andreessen Horowitz , which was already written about today , has invested $ 10.8 million in Keybase startup . The company is trying to make the Internet more secure by popularizing public-key encryption. One of the startup board’s board members will be Chris Dixon, a partner in the fund .

    Almost every day you can read about another high-profile hack. The latest examples are hacking Sony's confidential business correspondence (as a result of which it was made public), as well as hacking Apple iCloud (as a result of private photos of celebrities flooded the Internet).

    Crackers are becoming more sophisticated, revealing resources and security systems designed for obsolete threats, as easily as a jar of sprats. Because of this, many people (however quite justifiably) are beginning to doubt their trust in technology companies that store and process private information.

    All this happens, despite the fact that a technology that solves this problem has existed for a long time, and this is how you probably already understand public-key cryptography . Public key encryption was invented by mathematicians and programmers in the 1970s. Today it is difficult to overestimate the significance of this invention.
    Public Key Cryptography
    A public key cryptographic system (or asymmetric encryption, asymmetric cipher) is an encryption and / or electronic signature (ES) system in which the public key is transmitted over an open (that is, unprotected, observable) channel and is used to verify ES and for encryption messages. The essence of public key encryption is that one key is used to encrypt data, and the other is used to decrypt (therefore, such systems are often called asymmetric).
    A key benefit of public key encryption is independence from telematic service providers. On the side are mail services, instant messengers, social networks, search engines, Internet providers, mobile operators, politicians, legal agreements and much more. Using this technology requires only confidence in mathematics.

    Why is this technology not used universally? To one degree or another, various forms of cryptography are used in almost every popular Internet service, however, hacking and data compromise continues. This is mainly due to the imperfection of the built-in cryptographic protocols, specially introduced software errors, employee errors, production savings, legal restrictions and incorrect management decisions.

    The ideal solution would be to use clean technology so that there is no need to doubt third-party suppliers. Today, in this way technology is used only by the most technically savvy network users. Fusion journalist Kashmir Hill, for example, tweeted her public key:

    However, to send an encrypted message, you must use software tools that are usually too complex and cumbersome for ordinary users. As a result, technology remains the refuge of a small circle of technically advanced enthusiasts.

    Keybase’s core idea is to make technology accessible to ordinary users. Essentially, Keybase is a database. Here for example a co-founder profile Keybase Stripe Patrick Collison ( Patrick Collison ):
    Patrick collison
    All data in the profile monitored by the user.

    In addition to banal sending messages, public-key cryptography can be used in a wide range of tasks, from file sharing to software verification and control of source code modification. It is quite possible to use it for authentication on websites, which may make unnecessary both simple password protection and two-factor authentication, which is now widely implemented ( remember Slack hacking ).

    In addition to its core storage functions, Keybase is developing a set of native applications for various platforms.

    The key principle of Keybase is that you do not need to trust the service, since all the necessary software is open source, which makes it possible both for independent verification and development of forks, however as well as Keybase itself. So everything that requires at least the slightest trust is verifiable. Based on all this, it is clear that whatever happens with the platform itself - this will not affect the security of everything that Keybase uses.

    Founders Keybase - Chris Coyne ( by Chris Coyne ) and Max Krohn ( Max Krohn ), met at Harvard, where they studied mathematics and computer science. The first joint venture, SparkNotes , started there , followed by OKCupid , which was acquired by in 2011.

    Public key encryption has been a long imprisonment in niche technology communities. Too long. It is time to spread it to the whole world. This is the mission of the Keybase team. We wish them good luck!

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