[jdev] Heml.is and federation..

Peter Saint-Andre stpeter at stpeter.im
Fri Jul 12 20:16:23 UTC 2013

Hash: SHA1

On 7/12/13 1:24 PM, Matthew Wild wrote:
> On 12 July 2013 19:56, Steffen Larsen <zooldk at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I just stumbled upon https://heml.is, which is a new XMPP client
>> for IOS and Android. Anyone knows these guys?
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Sunde and others (some also
> behind the payment service Flattr).
>> It uses XMPP and PGP for encryption, but do any of you guys know
>> if they federate?.. What I can see from skimming their page, its
>> yet another silo, due to the fact of PGP and their own
>> infrastructure. So federation and using your own domain does not
>> seem feasible, right? Anyone want to discuss this and the
>> alternatives besides OTR? Security labels?
> " == Your server only? == Yes! The way to make the system secure is
> that we can control the infrastructure. Distributing to other
> servers makes it impossible to give any guarantees about the
> security. We’ll have audits from trusted third parties on our
> platforms regularily, in cooperation with our community.
> For those interested in a bit of our tech backend infrastructure: 
> We’re building encrypted tunnels/MPLS networks between countries,
> with anycast ingress/egress points so that your traffic should pass
> as few borders as possible. Messages will be sent to as close as
> possible to the recipient, which makes it impossible for agencies
> like NSA and FRA to see who’s talking to whom. This sort of virtual
> local network makes Heml.is much more secure than a regular system
> that can’t avoid border crossings. "
> Needless to say I disagree with this model, or their assertions
> (which secure s2s solves just as well).

I'm with you, but we don't have secure s2s. In general, XMPP server
implementations don't perform proper (RFC 6125 / RFC 6120) certificate
checking and don't have an option to refuse connections from domains
that lack proper certificates. Existing XMPP deployments too often
don't have proper certificates, either. And we need to figure out
solutions to the multi-tenant problem (see draft-ietf-xmpp-dna and
draft-miller-posh at the IETF, as well as eventually DNSSEC/DANE), so
that larger hosting providers can offer and enforce secure s2s.

I know that there's work going on here (standards, server code, and
some deployments), but it's not proceeding fast enough...


- -- 
Peter Saint-Andre

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