Crypt21 - Crypto for the 21st Century
This ain't your daddy's crypto!
Our project is providing a set of libraries and utilities to implement a
variety of advanced cryptographic functions which are quite different
in character from most of those found on the net.
These aren't simple encrypt/sign/decrypt/verify utilities.
Nor do they provide an ever-growing laundry list of
interchangeable encryption and hash functions.
Rather, we are taking cutting-edge cryptographic protocols
and systems from current academic research and making them
available now, for people to begin using and experimenting with.
Among the utilities available or planned:
Ring signatures - These allow you to sign a file from a group
of keys, such that any one of the key holders may have issued
the signature, but there is no way to tell which one did it.
The other people in the group don't have to cooperate or even be
aware that their keys are being used in this way. If you want
a moderate degree of anonymity, ring signatures allow you to
hide in a crowd of your own selection. A simple ring signature
program was released anonymously last year but we have taken
it and extended it to support more key types and incorporate
the latest published improvements from the research community.
Timelines - A cryptographically verifiable timeline hides a
secret value in such a way that it can be provably recovered
with a specified amount of work (which can be a matter of days,
months, or years!). The recovery algorithm is inherently
sequential and can't be effectively accelerated using mesh or
large-scale distributed computing efforts. This can be used
for example to reveal a secret key at some point in the future.
It can also be used as a basis for secure signature exchange,
for auction bidding, and for software escrow.
Limited message decryption - Suppose you received a PGP message
and are now being compelled by the courts to decrypt it.
But handing over your PGP secret key and passphrase will give
the cops more power than they require. We provide a simple
program which will decrypt a specified set of PGP messages in
a verifiable way, without giving up your PGP key. The courts
can confirm that the file you provided is a true and accurate
decryption of the original message, just from your public key.
This could be a life-saver in some contexts!
Signature exchanges - You're prepared to sign a contract,
and so is your counterpart. But you don't want to hand over
your signature until you see his, and vice versa. Impasse?
Not any more. With our verifiable signature exchange software
you each first prove that you have a signature on the document
in question, then exchange the data gradually, bit-by-bit.
Neither of you can gain a significant advantage over the
other by cheating. And the signatures use perfectly legal
Credentials - Using multiple identities on the web is great -
but each one has to stand alone, for privacy. What if you
could transfer the credit and approval you've earned from one
nym onto another? That's what our credential tools allow.
You can create a new nym and prove that it has a `brother'
loaded with signatures offering approval and support. Your
new nyms no longer have to start their lives from scratch!
And you can similarly transfer credentials from one nym to
another, making the use of multiple identities far more useful
and practical than before, and enhancing the value of this
Games - Poker, blackjack, craps - all these can be played
online, securely, fairly, and with no cheating possible.
But you've never seen them. Why not? They've been in the literature
for 20 years! We're providing the crypto and communications
layers for online P2P gaming with guarantees that the cards
and dice are falling fairly. No pretty GUIs, but hopefully
others can get involved and put a nice face on the underlying
OpenPGP libraries - All these functions are going to be based
as much as possible on your existing OpenPGP keys. We are
providing a set of utility libraries to read, parse, manipulate
and create OpenPGP data structures, keys and messages.
Dining Cryptographer nets - DC nets are the gold standard
for privacy and anonymity. But no one's ever implemented
them because they were thought to be too slow and inefficient.
For low volume applications like chat or email, though, DC nets
can work well with dozens or even hundreds of subscribers.
We are developing a P2P style DC net chat program as a proof
of concept. A Python version was released two years ago but
we are updating it to C/C++ which will improve performance
and make it more widely useful.
All our projects are written in C and use OpenSSL as the
crypto library. They are being developed in Linux but should be
portable to Windows or Mac easily enough. They are command-line
based in order to demonstrate the crypto functionality.
We encourage enthusiasts to wrap GUIs around these programs
and make them even more accessible and fun for average users.
We have more project ideas in mind, plus the research community
is constantly coming up with new protocols and technologies,
most of which never make it out of the academic journals.
We are dedicated to bringing this technology to life and giving
it a real-world tryout. Stay tuned for more good stuff!