A Cryptocat Spring

Hi, this is Nadim from the Cryptocat Project. This is going to be a very over-arching blog entry about the crazy amount of things Cryptocat has been part of this Spring, which just ended yesterday with the Northern Summer Solstice. This is also the first in what I’m hoping will be a monthly series of summaries on what Cryptocat has been up to for that particular month.

A lot has happened with the Cryptocat Project this Spring.

Cryptocat goes around the world

I’ve had the honour of presenting Cryptocat over the past months all over the world. On May 24th, Cryptocat was presented at Google’s Internet at Liberty 2012 conference in Washington D.C. to some of the world’s most well-known Internet engineers, activists and writers. Here’s a video of my Cryptocat presentation:

Shortly after, I flew to Rio de Janeiro in order attend RightsCon and give a small presentation on Cryptocat there, where it was well received.

Backstage list of presenters at RightsCon Rio

Backstage list of presenters at RightsCon Rio

Both in Washington and in Rio, the Cryptocat Project met with some old friends, made some new ones, and it was a pleasure to raise awareness of the project. But there’s more traveling for Cryptocat to do: I’ll be attending the OpenITP pre-HOPE hackfest in New York City on July 9-12, and also presenting at HOPE on July 14. There is also a bunch of events slated for October, which will be discussed further in detail with time.

 mpOTR: Come help us create a new standard

During the various pseudo-hackfests that I’ve attended as a result of the above-mentioned conferences, we’ve gotten a chance to work on implementing mpOTR, which I believe is the next – and ultimate – standardized protocol for multi-party encrypted chatting. We need your help in changing mpOTR from just an abstract paper to an actual protocol. Check out our high-level overview on our mpOTR wiki on Github, and give us your input on how we can go on from there.

A new Cryptocat development branch has also been created, which migrates the codebase to the new CryptoJS 3 library (a major upgrade from CryptoJS2, with many strong syntactical and code factoring differences.) The CryptoJS3 branch has had the new library implemented into Cryptocat in a way that is intentionally geared towards making the branch suitable for implementing mpOTR in the future.

Things in development

We’ve spent much of the past couple of weeks coming up with ideas on how Cryptocat would circumvent Internet censorship threats. Much of what we have in mind is still in the works, but we’re finally ready to give you a sneak peek at the Cryptocat plug-and-connect miniservers that we’ve spoken much about in the past (and that the BBC covered:)

A Cryptocat miniserver, smaller than a deck of cards.

A Cryptocat miniserver, smaller than a deck of cards.

We’re hoping to have our hardware delivered on time to be able to start shipping those things by the end of July. They will contain the server OS on an SD card, and will be configured for immediate plug-and-play performance once they’re attached to any LAN. We’re hoping to sell them for around $90 per unit, which we believe is a very fair price-point.

In the meantime, exploding Cryptocat usage has also made us focus on plans for implementing anonymous usage metrics and a better localization platform. Here’s how our main server at crypto.cat has been doing so far (discounting custom servers, which we have no way of monitoring:)

Crypto.cat server usage

Crypto.cat server usage

The installation and adoption statistics for Cryptocat Chrome are also impressive:

Cryptocat Chrome adoption statistics (click to enlarge)

Cryptocat Chrome adoption statistics (click to enlarge)

We also haven’t forgotten to improve upon the little things in Cryptocat: things from new audio notifications to better connection handling, to improving our network’s SSL performance and dealing with weird bugs reported by users. Cryptocat is also participating in the W3 Crypto Working Group in an attempt to encourage the adoption of a crypto API in modern browsers.

More to come

I have a strong feeling that there are things I’ve forgotten to mention; there’s been so much going on that it’s hard to cover every small detail. But there’s more to come – catch Cryptocat at HOPE this July in New York City for another update on the latest things we’re working on.