On the ongoing Protonmail attack

Today, I would like to take this blog’s usual content aside for a second and express how outraged I feel about the attacks that are currently ongoing on the Protonmail encrypted email service.

As of today, end-to-end email encryption as a technology is not ready for the general public, because it is much too difficult to understand, setup and use. Services like Protonmail aim to change that and bring truly private telecommunications to the masses, and this is a cause for which I have the deepest respect.

Of course, I will gladly disagree with them on the technical level :

  • Considering the amount of vulnerabilities that get disclosed in them per day, web browsers do not seem to be a safe platform for high-security applications.
  • A centralized infrastructure is not a very good fit for a service that goes against the will of nation states, because it means there are only a few people to pressure/torture in order to get control of the infrastructure, and only a few computers to crash in order to bring the service down (as we are experiencing)

But the thing is, even if they are never going to build the perfect encrypted communication tool on their first try, Protonmail have got something running, it is ready right now (or at least it was until someone powerful decided to break it), and it is simple enough that nontechnical (or at least only mildly technical) people can use it easily. From a social point of view, that is something huge.

Thus, my dearest sympathies go to the Protonmail team in their current struggle to stay afloat. And so, dear reader, if you have the financial resources to do so, please go and help them. After being unfairly pressured into paying a huge ransom that turned out to be useless, they need all the financial support that they can get right now.

EDIT: And… they are back up ! Hope their anti-DDoS protection strategy will work.


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