Too Many Friends

What a problem for a man to have.

Not mine exactly, but it made for a more catchy title. Too many ways to talk to friends, enemies, random people. Too many different messaging systems, incompatible with each other, with different operating systems and devices, accounts, some can be used on one device, some on two, some five, some you need to remember to sign out. Some are encrypted well, like Signal, some claim end to end encryption (like Facebook Messenger’s “Secret” mode), but are actually either flawed or have a backdoor in them (yes, that’s aimed directly at Facebook, I’ll follow up a little later.)


Firstly: me. Want to contact me? In a bit of a state of flux and upgrading at the moment, but as of July 12, 2019, until likely July 31, 2019, use these contact details:

Phone: 0432 342 584 (+61 432 342 584 from outside Australia) – since 2003

Signal encrypted messenger: 0432342584 (same as phone, preferred over SMS)

Wickr: michael131991 (not checked as often)

Email: [email protected]

Website with this and PGP key: http://michaelanthonyralph.xyz/ (PGP also at bottom of this page)

As of July 13, https://michaelanthonyralph.com/ , main official homepage is online just fine.


What else is out there?

Well, you can phone people over a cellular network. Insecure. SMS and MMS over cellular is similar but easy. Signal and in some cases, WhatsApp, are tied to a phone number which may or may not be tied to your identity. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and THEIR PRIVACY RECORD SUCKS. Facebook Messenger is insecure and even their “encrypted” “secret” chats can be unlocked by Facebook via a backdoor or sorts if law enforcement asks nicely (or maybe a skilled cracker, or a jealous Mark Zuckerberg.)

Email has many points of failure. PGP encrypted based email services like Tutanota and specifically Hushmail have proven to not be trustworthy – Hushmail was at the centre of a case where they used a key of their own to unlock a customer’s past emails for law enforcement. PGP/GPG itself is great; just type the password in yourself on your local computer. That cuts out probably 95% of the weaknesses. Most of the remaining 5% involves your kneecaps and a hammer.

Speaking of that, steganography. Veracrypt is the best encryption software out there, hands down. Found better? Show me. Veracrypt started as Truecrypt, and runs on Mac, Linux, and Windows. Supports encrypted file containers, disks, partitions, and full disk boot encryption on Windows (please bring it to Mac!) It supports many ciphers and hash functions to protect the password, as well as multiple key files or phyislcal USB keys that must be present and plugged in in conjunction with the password to grant access. The encryption algorithms used, at least AES, Twofish, and Serpent, are currently unbreakable (save torture), are currently unbreakable with a long password (long means a minimum of 30 characters.) Click here to go to the Veracrypt website, and if you’re running an oldschool computer, Mac OS X 10.6.8 32-bit for example, the original Truecrypt 7.1a can be dowloaded from this site (click.) Both Truecrypt and it’s successor, Veracrypt, can create hidden files or paratitions or drives within hidden partitions or drives and can use layers of decoy passwords. So follow that rabbit hole…

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