Why Privus? – Because Power Corrupts

Power Corrupts

Privus makes your privacy both convenient and absolute.
– Rick Molina, founder of EZ messaging encryption service Privus

SI’s eternal, immutable law of Power posits that If you hand someone Power, he will abuse it.

Power + Humans = Abuse

Be it Narendra Modi, Jayalalitha, Manmohan Singh, Barack Obama or some faceless government agent at NSA, Pakistan’s ISI or India’s IB, abuse of Power is a certainty.

In the modern era, much of what average citizens do happens online – E-mail, texting, e-commerce, finding a bride, on demand porn, dating, banking, etc occur over the Internet.

So he who controls and/or monitors your online activity has vast Power over you.

To minimize the abuse of Power in the online arena, we need something like Privus.

What is Privus?

Privus is touted as an “uncrackable encrypted email service that’s as easy to use as Gmail, and lets you keep your existing email address.”

Besides e-mail, Privus is supposed to protect your chat and texting too.

Although encryption is freely available for consumers, most people do not use it because it’s complicated.

Privus is e-mail encryption for the average Joe or average Patel! πŸ˜‰

With Privus, all messages come with fully encrypted transmission and storage. You can still send your e-mail the regular way if you want to brighten some government’s snoop’s day by providing him details of your favorite Kamasutra position. πŸ˜‰

Privus Technology

At the heart of Privus service is the One-Time Pad (OTP) technology.

With OTP, each key is used for only one message.

Although the technology underpinnings OTP technology has been in use since World War 1, it’s apparently never been cracked.

Privus lets you use standalone OTP or in addition to other encryption protocols such as the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and RSA (Rivest Shamir Adleman) algorithms.

Use of Privus encryption requires download of a small application to your PC’s hard drive, USB device, smartphone or SD card.

The application is what provides a cipher-key management system that enables the encryption and privacy.

Privus application will also be available pre-installed on military grade IronKey USB drives.

All the complicated encryption is said to happen on your PC.

If you believe the Privus folks (mind you, a lot of tech startups over-promise on their supposedly Utopian offerings), their e-mail encryption service is simple as pie.

But if all that Privus promises is true then that’s the Holy Grail of private Internet communication in an age of widespread, illegal snooping by government agencies and hacking by whackos from Ukraine to Gardners (PA).

But I’m a bit concerned that the encrypted messages are stored in the cloud (as per Privus CTO Ryan Healey, see his video below). If you ask me, no cloud service is secure, easily susceptible to attack and access from too many third parties.

Support & Pricing

Privus says it’ll support the two most recent versions of the following browsers/mobile platforms:
β€’ Internet Explorer
β€’ Firefox
β€’ Chrome
β€’ iOS
β€’ Android
β€’ Windows Mobile

Privus requires an annual subscription, a deal breaker in my opinion. πŸ™

The Salt Lake City (UT) startup says “the major functionality has been unit and regression tested and appears to be ready for beta.”

Launch date is June 2014.

For regular users, Privus starts at $45 for a one-year “premier subscription.” There are limited-time specials available for $25-$35 for a one- year premier subscription.

Privus on Kickstarter

Privus has just launched on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter with the goal of raising $37,500.

I suspect that goal will be easily reached.

Don’t count me among the surprised if they exceed $100,000.

Prius is the brainchild of software developer Rick Molina and his team of Ryan Healey, Todd Cronin and Kurtis Constantine (for more on them, see their bios by clicking the Kickstarter link below).

Related Privus Content:
Privus Kickstarter Page

One Response to "Why Privus? – Because Power Corrupts"

  1. kreacher   March 12, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Actually OTP has been cracked during WW-II (US cracked some German messages), when the key being used was not fully random.

    If Privus can reliably generate truly random pads, the presence of the messages on the cloud shouldn’t be an issue – brute force attacks on OTPs are not feasible (the same key one-character key can yield the same one-character output for two different source texts, thereby exponentially increasing the computing time for longer messages).

    Of course, NSA might strong-arm Privus into inserting a backdoor into the pad computation, thereby rendering it predictable rather than random. There is a lot at stake for counter-espionage agencies here, since they would prefer messages to be decipherable.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. I’ve had a look at essays on OTP by IT consultants, Wiki etc – the key words here are “if used correctly.”

    Interesting Slashdot discussion on OTP – http://it.slashdot.org/story/13/05/23/1232212/one-time-pad-from-caltech-offers-uncrackable-cryptography

    Sharing of keys is another big, practical issue.

    2. Let’s see how Privus works out. They seem to have already gotten pledges for 7 or 8% of their goal and still have 57-days to go.

    All that said, the news that everything is being monitored will force people into hard-to-predict unconventional response techniques.

    My hypothesis is that like the first bombshell (Edward Snowden’s revelations) the second bombshell will also come from a White guy/gal in North America or Western Europe.

    BTW, here’s the latest on the Malware creators and disseminators: πŸ˜‰


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