Wifimity compares itself to a 50-year old computer

Once again we find ourselves with a KickStarter (archive copy) that’s claiming wireless networks are the sole reason for why users find themselves compromised.
Wifimity” promises to produce a “cloak of invisibility” with a device that is “military security level” for at least €77–the campaigners are looking to raise €48,000, or $54,000 USD.

[Ed: You really ought to read their Kickstarter page, it is a right mess.]

Actually, it’s really two devices: one called “Safebox” which just stores your passwords with authorization via a fingerprint reader; and another called “Shield”, which does the same, but also acts as some sort of VPN tunnel. It is supposed to sit between your device and wireless access point, and it connects itself to a service that the creators operate.

We’re going to ignore the password-only device since it is plausibly functional, and instead focus on the Shield device, where the meat and potatoes are.

Here are some of the features they claim will come with Shield:

  • “anonymous surfing” – It’ll anonymize your IP via something that sounds a lot like NAT.
  • “device cloaking” – It’ll scrub the identifying info off your HTTP requests.  Their use case is device-specific price discrimination.
  • “DNS server” – It’ll blackhole suspicious websites’ IP addresses.  No mention of where they get their blacklist…
  • “anti-virus” – The KickStarter claims that this is still “under construction”.
  • “encrypt your cloud” – Their only substantive stretch goal, they promise the Shield will encrypt all the data you “upload to your cloud”.

This really seems like a keychain version of some previous KickStarters we’ve covered.

These claims are bonkers

We should start off by pointing out that the number of people affected by compromised wireless networks is minuscule, compared to the number affected by corporate or government breaches.

Adobe’s 2013 breach affected well over a hundred million people, Home Depot’s hit over 50 million credit cards, and Target had taken out about 40 million.  These are far larger than the total number of times in history that someone has been affected by an individual running Aircrack at Starbucks. This isn’t to say that compromised wireless networks are not a threat, but these frequent “wifi protector” KickStarters all come back to the notion that user wifi insecurity is interchangeable with anything the layman would identify as “hacking”.

Here’s something we’ve seen before (see Sever) that makes us wonder if and how it defies the laws of physics:

Faster Surf: With this option activated you can increase up to 50% your browsing speed.
[…]
Speed: It doesn’t reduce your device speed because it runs out of your mobile, tablet, or PC.

Now there are some possibilities for this claim; they could include the following:

  • It removes half of the content that makes a website slow to load. Website bloat is a real thing and just by having an ad blocker or turning on certain features within the browser, page loading does become faster. Where is it doing this processing?
  • It compresses and decompresses every single thing that comes in and out in addition to providing an encrypted tunnel. How is this possible with a device that, based on its housing, is probably nothing more than a basic ARM-based device running at low-power? They claim that it won’t slow down your PC either, so again, where is it doing this?
  • They have no idea what they’re talking about and have no specific plan as to how they would make everything faster.

The first one seems to be probable as they link to an article from the Wall Street Journal about tracking cookies. Their concern over “price discrimination” – that your Internet activity will lead to online stores increasing prices on you, insurance companies increasing fees, and banks raising interest rates – has some merit, but these issues can be solved by the typical user, by employing the tools included with every modern web broswer. There is no need to throw money at a €140 device when all of this can be done for free.

There are hints that maybe they really don’t know what they’re talking about, however; at the start of the KickStarter page, there’s a statement about AES reminiscent of MyDataAngel.com’s DataGateKeeper:

“AES is the first (and only) publicly accessible cipher approved by the National Security Agency (NSA)..”

Really? I don’t suppose that they’ve heard of DES, have they? If you’re going to sell a cryptography product, it would be good to at least know a thing or two about the development of the algorithms.

More than 1,000,000 times the capacity of the Apollo 11 computer.

What do they mean by “capacity”? If we’re going to based on the storage capacity of the Apollo Guidance Computer (a computer that is 50 years old), which had 36 kilobytes of storage (in ROM), suggesting that it’s 1,000,000 times the capacity means that it has 34 GB of storage–let’s assume it’s 32 GB really. This is in no way a large amount of data by modern standards.

The specifications given for the device make no sense

Wifimity has provided a hypothetical specification for their keychain-sized device:

32 bits high speed microprocessor.
Cryptochip, high level security by hardware.
WiFi 2.4GHz chip or bluetooth BLE.
WPA2, TLS 1.0, HTTPS.
A battery 500mA with an intelligent charge system for long life.
A custom operative system (OS) to avoid hacking.

A 32-bit “high-speed microprocessor” is more or less the standard for devices these days (it’s later described to be a 32-bit ARM Cortex-based processor).  Their “cryptochip” appears to be a hardware implementation of AES, and 2.4 GHz wireless and Bluetooth are what I expect, but the rest of this just doesn’t hold water.

On the subject of cryptography, why is this using TLS 1.0? It’s vulnerable to both POODLE and BEAST. How was this overlooked? I guess this “custom [operating] system” that has been created to “avoid hacking” will take care of that problem right?

The cryptography doesn’t really make sense either considering this snapshot from one of the videos:

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 19.11.51

I can turn off encryption? I can turn off device cloaking and anonymizing options?

It gets weirder when you realise what the options at the top of the display webpage are for:

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 19.12.21

Oh wow. It just inserts a frame at the top? What’s the point of this device? Why is it not doing this passively? Does this mean that Facebook and other applications that do not make use of the mobile device’s browser do not get the same level of protection?

Nonsense. If we go back to the encryption part again, we see this gem as part of their stretch goals if they manage to achieve €250,000 in funding:

We keep a lot of important information in our cloud and this goal is to sure that it is safe and the all copies are unreadable in case we delete the cloud info.

So are they storing all your data on their own servers in cleartext unless they hit this stretch goal?  Or is this a clumsy restatement of their earlier claims about “encrypting your cloud”?

None of these features require a fancy device sitting between the user and a server to make it happen. In fact, this does nothing to solve the problem that the campaign seeks to resolve.

Who are these people?

As with previous exposés on this website, we like to document who’s leading these campaigns, as information on their backgrounds helps to discern between scammers and optimists. Unlike previous campaigns, there is very little information given on who’s behind it. This is evident in this passage:

Together with our team, we take our passion for innovation beyond our products and into every decision we make. In our product development process, simplifying people’s lives has always driven us at every stage. Simple products that can help people.

Pablo, our SEO, with several patents registered, has worked for more than 25 years in custom electronic projects. He has developed complex algorithms in collaboration with the mathematics department of UPV University and has made modems for GPRS, modems narrow band, and WiFi systems with encrypted solutions.

“Pablo” is actually “Pablo Jose Reig Gurrea”, CEO of Ladegar in Bilbao, Spain. His KickStarter profile is a bit more detailed:

Pablo is currently the CEO of Ladeger, company that develops technologic solutions for the consumer market. He graduated in Electronic engineering and worked more than 25 years in tailor-made solutions for industry, in British and German multinational companies. He has several patents registered and used to collaborate with the UPV university for developing algorithms and custom made solutions.

His prior work explains how he was able to build a demonstration device that appears to work as well as it does, but there is little to no evidence of his involvement in information security prior to this campaign. No website for his company appears to exist.

We get the impression however that Pablo is unsure of how his product will be assembled, as evident in this image:

madeinusa

But then it’s stated they’re still in negotiations over where it will be made:

We are in negotiations to manufacture in two plants, one in Albuquerque, USA for the American and Canadian market. “Made in USA.”

And the other in Bilbao, Spain for the European market. “Made in Europe.”

So it has gone from “will be” to “in negotiations”? Also, Canada would not permit “made in USA” just to be clear here.

We don’t expect this campaign to succeed.

Wifimity - Passwords & Surf Safe with Just a Key ring! -- Kicktraq Mini

MyDataAngel ends KickStarter and then feigns being a victim

We’ve previously covered this campaign in several entries before, but with some level of elation, we’re happy to report that the individuals behind the MyDataAngel /DataGateKeeper KickStarter campaign have cancelled their project just a few hours before it was expected to fail.

However, it appears that they won’t go out without kicking and screaming and have thus issued a rebuttal directed at those of us who tweeted and blogged about them in a manner that was to their displeasure.

“It is not a field of a few acres of ground, but a cause, that we are defending, and whether we defeat the enemy in one battle, or by degrees, the consequences will be the same.” Thomas Paine, 1777

Dear DataGateKeeper Software Backers,

No truer words were ever spoken. As true in 1777, as it is nearly 240 years later.

You are true Data Angels; your foresight in the face of aggressive and salacious attacks from the fringe is a testament to your fortitude and an inspiration to us. You will have your DataGateKeeper. Our resolve to deliver to you the DataGateKeeper Total Data Protection Software™ and SafeDataZone™ has never been greater.

We are finalizing the release of the DataGateKeeper on the Windows platform, and the development and stress testing of the Android and Apple platforms.

We launched our Kickstarter campaign to test both our message and the market. Unfortunately, we did not gain perspective on either issue. A key driver for success on any crowdfunding platform is getting the word out on social media. On this matter, we failed you, as we elected to cancel all of our promotional efforts, nearly immediately. Why?

We felt this action was the most responsible avenue to take once the fringe quasi-InfoSec wannabe community began attacking you, our DataGateKeeper Backers. We have never seen anything like that and likely, no campaign has ever had Backers personally attacked for making a Pledge.

These miscreants did not Pledge for any Rewards, however, they used a loophole, in this platform to disrupt and gain access to you, our Backers, which is reprehensible. The twittidiots and their ilk even attacked our employees and supporters – all anonymously. We apologize to our DataGateKeeper Backers and Team for any offense or verbal attacks you sustained.

In addition, we had several “journalists” contact us to do a “story” for their “readers”. We also elected not to engage them for several reasons; the well had been poisoned, our message had been diluted, and their intentions and loss of objectivity had been made clear by their online social media activity.

During the campaign, we engaged these crypto-crazies in an effort to understand their boggle. As is typical of any engagement with flakes that hide behind anonymity, the 80/20 Rule was in full force. 80% of the twittidiots could not conjugate a response, while 20%, who did not hide behind their twitter account, proved to be helpful, and we had productive conversations. We thank them here.

What Did We Learn?

  • Controlling the message is important, however, controlling the environment for that message is critical. Today we will move to control both the message and the environment. We believe in the first amendment, however not at the expense of decorum, respect for others’ opinion and dignity.
  • Given the plethora of crowdfunding sites available in the market, the Kickstarter platform is likely not the best platform for software, absent a techie gadget connection or video game. Software clearly underperforms on this platform.

What are We Prepared to do for Our DataGateKeeper Software Backers?

  • We are going to complete our DataGateKeeper Total Data Security Software and make it available to you first for the price you Pledged and for the Reward you Backed. We are currently arranging to do this very thing.

DataGateKeeper Backers, you have our private email address, we look forward to continued communications. Please contact your Data Angel Team if you have any further questions.

It’s interesting that they quoted from Thomas Paine’s American Crisis, which is a series of pamphlets meant to encourage American colonists to support a war against Great Britain using deistic preference suggesting that they’ll win against the Crown. In the case of Raymond Talarico and his crew, the request for accountability is the real tyranny, and thus is definitely worth fighting a war against.

As one person put it to me: MyDataAngel believes that they’re the “founding fathers” of truly-secure encryption. If you have a problem with this, then you must hate America. Well, MyDataAngel, I guess that since I am Canadian and thus a subject of the Crown, I really am hellbent on this idea.

Why you actually failed

You waged a fierce and determined campaign against any kind of investigation or scrutiny. You made outrageous claims about your software’s functionality. You refused to answer any of the technical questions asked of you in earnest. You complained bitterly when, in the absence of technical content, we instead analyzed your staff’s backgrounds for plausible competence in the field of information security.  Information security is not a field that has much patience for secrecy, and you’re exactly why.

You claim that 20% of the respondents on Twitter were “helpful”. Of course, this can’t be backed up with data, because you because you’ve gone and made your account private. Fortunately, I am still following you, and can read a random sampling of these tweets–none of them seem to indicate that they were “helpful” at all.  They really are just calling you out on your nonsense.

You complain about the unwashed masses of anonymous “crypto-crazies”, nameless “twittidiots” (shouldn’t it be “twidiots”?), or unspecified members of the “fringe quasi-InfoSec wannabe community” attacking you via social media.  In my case, this is demonstrably untrue; I first wrote about MyDataAngel on my own personal blog, with my full real name in the page header and the URL.  I also wrote to you with my personal e-mail address, as I’ll discuss later.

You, meanwhile, really don’t like being identified. We’ve reached out to a number of your former business partners and none of them returned our e-mails. All we can find are community forum posts from people who work at a single-person company or press releases making wild claims about your product and a supposed partnership with another seemingly single-person company. One is left to wonder why a multi-billion dollar company hasn’t snatched your product up.

After being called out on your claims of “512 KB” encryption strength, you edited them to reflect something more plausible, yet made no attempt to explain why this change was made–going from claiming “512 KB” encryption back to just “512” without mentioning the word “bit”.  This calls into question whether you know what the number 512 is meant to measure, in this context.

There are other reasons to suspect that you don’t know anything about cryptography.  Here’s a tweet where you try to coyly hint at what encryption algorithm you’re using:

mda_crypto

Truly bizarre to suggest that Huffman coding, a 1952 equation (which is almost a half-century before AES was ratified and supposedly “too old” by your standards) is encryption when in fact it’s compression, used as a basis for PKZIP, JPEG, GZIP, and MP3 file formats to name a few.

In a similar vein, before you took down your website, it was providing explanations about cryptography concepts plagiarized from various books and Wikipedia:

page8page7

Whether or not you know what you’re doing with cryptography, you’ve clearly already gone ahead and built the Windows version of your encryption software. A demonstration copy was supposedly made available when it was still known as Centuri Cryptor. We can see in this YouTube video from when it was known as FileWarden that it was already working.

sleuth1

Since you clearly have a functional product already, it’s only natural that I’d want to test it!  As mentioned above, I reached out to you regarding a demonstration of your application. Here’s the e-mail exchange:

From: Colin Keigher
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2016 11:56 AM
To: HackMeIfYouCan@MyDataAngel.com
Subject: Interested in a demo

Hi there,

I’d like a copy of your software to demo and test. Please let me know how I can review this.

Thanks,
Colin

Subject: RE: Interested in a demo
Date: Friday, May 13, 2016 11:59 AM
From: “Hack Me If You Can” <HackMeIfYouCan@MyDataAngel.com>
To: “‘Colin Keigher'”, <HackMeIfYouCan@MyDataAngel.com>

Outstanding.

We respect anonymity so we won’t ask you for any identifying information
about who you are.

Having said that — We have two questions?

1. Would you please tell us a little about yourself.

2. Or recommend someone you think would take on this Challenge. We want to choose someone the community respects and trusts.

Back to all qualified entrants on May 16.

Your Data Angel Team

From: Colin Keigher
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2016 12:14 PM
To: Hack Me If You Can <HackMeIfYouCan@mydataangel.com>
Subject: RE: Interested in a demo

Hi there,

Thanks for getting back to me. I have some follow up questions.

1. What are you looking for here? I am a security engineer who runs his own company.
2. In what sense do you mean “someone the community respects and trusts”? What are your qualifiers?

Thanks,
Colin

Subject: RE: Interested in a demo
Date: Friday, May 13, 2016 1:08 PM
From: “HackMeIfYouCan” <HackMeIfYouCan@MyDataAngel.com>
To: “‘Colin Keigher'”
Copy: “‘Hack Me If You Can'” <HackMeIfYouCan@mydataangel.com>

Hi Colin,

We’ll do our due diligence, and, following, chose those parties whom represents the largest demo vis-a’-vis followers, trust and respect.

We believe this plan is likely the best practice for achieving our goal.

We are open to suggestions as to criteria, and welcome yours and the communities opinion on our selection criteria.

You Data Angel Team

Your last response suggests that you’ll be choosing yourself the parties you “trust” and “respect”. Concealing your encryption algorithm isn’t going to make it any more secure, and really is just going to attract more suspicion. If you want to have some level of credibility, you’re going to have to allow people to test your algorithm without being able to vet them, because you don’t get to vet the real attackers when they’re after your real customers’ data. If you had the confidence in your software that your advertising copy suggests, you’d gladly let me or anyone else publicly test it out with no restrictions beyond not sharing the software with others.

The information security community takes claims like yours seriously, which is why we have been so ardent in criticizing you. Documenting charlatans and bad organizations is a time-worn hobby for this community. You cannot expect to pull a fast one on us, because the tricks you’re attempting to pull are far from new.

We think the real reason why you insist on going for the crowd-funding model is that you know your claims given are nonsense and that nobody well-informed about your product would choose to spend money on it, much less trust it with important secrets. This is why you set the kickstarter goal at a piddly $20,000 USD to fund a team of nine people, and it’s why you would then pad out your total with a few high-dollar-value backers–because it lets you turn to potential investors and claim that there’s consumer interest in your product.

You close off stating that KickStarter was not the place to launch your project and that you’re going to look at other options; we’ll close off by suggesting that you do not.

DYC Studio posts an update on Kiri

Last week, we published details on Kiri, a project that promises to make you anonymous on the Internet with a $40 USD Raspberry Pi and some lifted code. On June 3rd, Taheer Jokhia posted an update on the KickStarter:

Closed Source GP2 License Issues

It has come to light that we will not be able to distribute our code as closed-source. Therefore we are announcing that Kiri OS will be open-source and made available to the public.

About Dyc Studio and some history on Kiri

Please note: Employees of Dyc Studio have chosen to stay anonymous for their own personal reasons, so they will not be named. Please respect this. 

Dyc Studio started as a design company in 2010. During that time the company was very small and not yet registered as the private limited company it is today and our managing director, Taheer, had begun learning the fundamentals of cyber security. About a year later Dyc Studio moved on to start producing websites and software for various companies at a very small scale. Over time (until 2015) the company grew, gained more clients and eventually became a registered company, still only with 2 employees; the director and a designer. As for Kiri OS, our director, Taheer began development on it in 2013 and has been slowly building it’s components since then.

It was only during the beginning of 2016 that Taheer decided that Kiri OS should be distributed to the world, however he knew it would not be complete for at least another 5 years. So he reached out to friends and family in search of help. He gained one extra developer who is experienced in cyber security to help out. In February 2016, the team had become 3 people; Taheer, another software engineer and a designer. It was then the team decided Kiri OS needs external funding to pay for the team to work on Kiri fulltime as well as hire extra help, so we began focusing on a Kickstarter campaign and put all development on standby until the team is able to work full-time on it.

I hope this clears things up for a lot of you.

You’d think that Taheer would have at least read the licence when going over this source code he was trying to lift for this Kiri project.

Based on a CV posted on one of DYC Studio’s websites from around 2012 (we have opted to not share a copy of this due to it revealing some personal information), there is no indication of an interest in cyber security, operating system development, or anything that would inspire some level of confidence in the project.

This is an excerpt from said CV:

Weirdly, the CV is shared between him and his former business partner. Being that said business partner does not appear to be involved any further and that Taheer has asked that we respect privacy for his anonymous (read: “probably fake”) employees, we won’t name him.

Taheer should also update his LinkedIn profile because so far I just see that he’s into marketing and web design:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 22.20.58

We see software development, game development, and app development, but how about languages? How about cyber security? You updated your profile to state that you’re doing a KickStarter, but haven’t updated it to tell us more about your development past?

Also, when did DYC Studio start? 2011 or 2008? Your weird CV says 2011, your other LinkedIn profile says 2011, and yet your current one says 2008? Are you a Director or are you a Founder?

It also does appear that we’ve touched a nerve:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 22.40.05

If you want to raise money for your lifted OS, you could at least try and lie better. You already engage in spamming as part of DYC Studio, so you’d think that you would have picked up a few tricks by now.

Please provide us with a copy of the source code to ease confusion.

Kiri - The Anonymous Computer -- Kicktraq Mini

Kickstop the Blind Ego

With permission from the original author, we are reposting details on a failed KickStarter project called “Blindeagle”. It was cancelled by its project creator on April 12th after only achieving less than 10% of its goal.

Blindeagle is asking for money for a product, a product that promises private and secure communication with anyone over the internet and wants 90,000EUR to do it. For an additional 920,000 EUR, they’ll even remake what RedPhone already does for free. With a pricetag like that, it better not just be useful but live up to every one of its promises. What are its promises, anyway?

The advertised unit is a keychain that plugs in through the headphone jack of a mobile device, meant to interact closed-source app to provide impenetrable crypto. This crypto is said to use a one-time pad (OTP) system. The design, photos, prototype, and social networking vibe feel all too similar to the vaporware you’d expect a San Francisco based startup of 5 college students to poorly slap together and unload to unsuspecting venture capital firms for a million in seed money, who later are forced to abandon the broken concept and cut their losses. But it’s not like that– these 5 college students are from Belgium!

The broken English consisting primarily of hypespeak and buzzwords is a bit difficult to extract hard data from, so building a critique of the supposedly infallible security model wasn’t cake. By focusing on the major claims only and not nitpicking about general hyperbole, we show this product for the fraud it really is — a broken security model rife with contradictions, in the best case simply dangerous for its users, and in the worst an intentional scam surrounded by lies.

Why be so hard on a kickstarter that will likely never meet its goals in the first place? Because this campaign masquerades as an infallible solution to a current global crisis on data privacy, capitalizing on people’s fears and ignorance while overpromising and dangerously underthinking a science that often means the difference between life and death. Cryptography is the backbone for all security on the internet, and doing it right has always been undeniably hard. If their team of expert cryptographers are working on this device, we’re prepared to give some leeway to explain themselves, open source it, and work on it over the years like Telegram was given a chance to do at first… except there is no team of cryptographers, not even a “math expert”. So who is the savior that will guide us through this privacy crisis?

No background in crypto

Meet David (no last name provided). With no crypto background and “now over 5 years of experience in Java, web and iOS/OS X development”, “he .. takes care of the technical side of blindeagle, from the website to the apps and including programming the servers and the external units”. Let’s not be too hard on David, he’s likely been suckered into this by a friend and is either too naive to realize the ramifications or is ignorant and being used as a fall guy by a scammer. Assuming he hasn’t singlehandedly broken the underlying security of everything due to human error, miscalculations, improper security model, or a complete and utter lack of proper crypto background or experience, we can move on to the message and leave the messenger be for now.

Closed-source

As quoted from their product homepage, using their device “guarantee[s] you total confidentiality and absolute security”. That’s quite a claim to make, especially since it’s impossible. Every legitimate cryptographic tool or product in the world is designed with an understanding that as time passes, the likelihood of its security being compromised increases exponentially; that vigilance, not a false promise of trust, is the backbone of true security. Security is not a fixed-state, it is an evolving process. Does Blindeagle understand that process? By asking us to trust their closed-source apps written entirely by David on closed-source devices manufactured by an unknown third-party supplier, the picture looks pretty grim. Despite several free, secure applications that do encryption “right” (XMPP+OTR, BitMessage, Tox), we’re to believe that we need a separate closed-source device. What does that device even do?

Magic box

The device purports to feed one-time Vernam cyphers from a pool stored in its memory directly to the mobile app. Properly implemented Vernam Ciphers (and OTP in general) can be extremely secure, but the difference between broken and sound cryptography is often in its implementation. While claiming it is infallible compared to email or other chat apps in terms of encryption, it fails to describe in any detail whatsoever how this particular implementation can’t be intercepted by a rogue app on a rooted phone, sniffed over the air via the device itself, or any number of potential attack vectors. That would take actual knowledge!

Weak magic

No, instead we are lead to believe that the infallible OTP key material preloaded onto the device at manufacturing has not been copied, tampered with in any way, and loaded in a secure way that could not be extracted through a simple buffer overflow or injection attack. OTP key material that was generated when you plug the device in might lead to secure keys, but trusting their third-party manufacturer presses the boundaries of what can be considered “secure”. Keys generated by the company could be stored and used to decrypt all the messages you use at any point in time. Even if the company wasn’t malicious, what’s to stop a malicious nation-state actor forcing them to hand over every single key they produce? Whilst some of this is protected by the plausible deniability given by a OTP system, they only provide 2GB of material. That is 2147483648 bytes of key material. Computers are incredibly fast. End users expecting a fast gaming experience from their cheap desktop may not realize it, but computers are designed to be fast for simple XOR operations. A computer could process all 2 gigabytes of the key material and break the message in probably a matter of minutes. Compare this to seed files used for real OTPs, which are often in the terabytes, to ensure an attacker could not load the seed into memory.

Powered by buzzwords

According to the copy, “the key existing in the external unit is generated using quantum phenomena”. This is buzzspeak for “a mirror sensor looks at light and makes a key based on the photo it takes”. While interesting in theory, theories that cryptographic security revolve around should be tested and proven before going into production. It goes on to guarantee that the keys in the device can only be used once, that it behaves as single use memory. Except, if, somebody copies the key data. Let’s go back to how the device plugs into the headphone port onto your device. Putting aside the logistics of getting a device like this to work on a computer without a combined headphone and microphone socket, what’s to stop a malicious app pretending to be the official app, reading in all of the key data, and then simply saving it to your local storage? There is no technical explanation provided by Blindeagle how this can be guaranteed aside from a brief introduction to “potting”.

The straw that broke the crypto’s back

Among the claims of perfect crypto is the use of “end to end encryption”, something by definition readable by only two-parties and is unbreakable unless the underlying crypto is broken or a key materializes. End-to-end crypto– if done right– is a good thing and Blindeagle would be silly not to include it as a main feature. But is Blindeagle truly end-to-end encrypted?

After data is encrypted using your Blindeagle device, it is sent to their closed-source proprietary servers in the EU. From that point, the data is “decrypt[ed] with the sender key followed by the instantaneous encryption with the receiver key, just before the destruction of the encryption keys”. If you are thinking to yourself, “isn’t that the definition of a middle-man?”, you’re likely more suitable to lead their team than poor David.

Blindeagle clearly advertises “no data is stored on our servers”, in addition to the “No data-retention” laws in Belgium. Despite being empty and unprovable claims, we have learned from experience and leaks that neither nation-state actors nor hackers need permission, nor do they follow laws when hijacking, injecting, seizing or bugging servers for their own malicious purposes. By purposely introducing a middle-man into their transport protocol, they cannot make the claim with absolute certainty that no data will be stored.

Verdict

Blindeagle’s security model does not meet the requirements of even the most basic security theory, its advertised implementation is dangerous, and its claims are contradictory, misleading and at times downright lies. At this point it’d be preferable if it ends up having been a non-delivering scam.

Written mostly by sn0wmonster from the ##crypto IRC on freenode, with some technical input from SunDwarf.

DataGateKeeper (aka MyDataAngel.com) is no longer “impenetrable” but now “engineered”

If you look at the original KickStater (via this Archive.org link), you’ll have seen it showing the following:

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 13.11.06

Now it has been edited to show that it is no longer “impenetrable”, but “engineered”:

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 13.10.55

There have been several other changes to the KickStarter as well.

This was the original text with their take on the “backdoors” in AES:

In the late 1990’s, AES, while under ‘well-intentioned’ government oversight, somehow, a ‘back-door’ found its way into this ‘approved’ data security solution, — as has been widely reported. The unintended consequences of this back-door allows for complete access to your data, without your permission, to data monitoring, data-mining and active eavesdropping.  Effectively, voiding your right to privacy and confidently. So common is this practice it has a name: Active Snooping.

Now it has been changed to “flaws”:

In the late 1990’s, while under ‘well-intentioned’ government oversight, flaws found their way into this ‘approved’ data security solution, — as has been widely reported (see, notes below). The unintended consequences of these flaws allows for complete access to your private and confidential data, without your permission, promoting underground data monitoring, data-mining and active eavesdropping. So common is this practice it has a name: Active Snooping.

This paragraph has been removed:

Simply, ‘the other guys’ use standard SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), and the failing AES, in an attempt to secure your Privacy & Confidentiality. The same data security hackers took advantage of in the breach of Target, Home Depot, iCloud, Sony, Anthem…you get the idea. You Deserve Better.

What replaced it was the last sentence.

In an attempt to make themselves appear as if they’re trying to be more open, they decide to remove the tripe about the levels of encryption and replace it with some story about their plans to improve the software.

The R&D Plan

To build the DataGateKeeper, we disassembled and reverse engineered several automated password cracking software programs. This was to understand their procedural sequence and methodologies related to code acquisition, code cracking, or as it is known, hashed access to code and source. Additionally, we decompiled these programs to gain insight on hacking software’s proclivity to exploit weakness in cycle rates, including their integrated and powerful automation multipliers, and natural GPU processor affinity. Following months research we had what we needed to protect you.

This seems like complete nonsense. If you had read the previous expose we’ve done on this KickStarter, this project has been floating about for years and has changed hands a handful of times. At no point have we seen any evidence that they’ve spent any time researching any automated password cracking applications.

Furthermore, that second last sentence? It doesn’t make any sense and reads like something akin to out of Reddit’s VX Junkies. Much of the above existed when it was just labeled as “The Math” which is no longer on the page.

Validation Plan

Now that our cryptographic module is complete, we plan to submit our DataGateKeeper module for independent validation the sooner of; official final publication of the NIST pronouncement on the Federal Register seeking comment to portions of 19790 (deemed 19790:2014), to update 140-2, or, the official abandonment of such update. We plan to use Underwriters Laboratory (UL), however, there are several certified laboratories performing FIPS certification. Following validation and patent (currently, we rely on trade secret to protect our algorithm) we will release our algorithm to the select members of the cryptographic community for further development and analysis under a very specific set of guidelines which we will solely determine.

Oh. There’s a patent-pending for this or are you still keeping this close to your chest? I did a cursory search on Google Patents using various names and keywords relating to this project and nothing has come up for anything relating to this encryption suite of yours.

You tend to rag on AES encryption here yet mention nothing else. If you have looked at the 140-2 validation list, you’ll notice that you’re facing an uphill battle to get your fancy, never-before-seen cipher validated.

Open Source

Before you ask or comment, we have no plans to release any portion or portions of our code as Open Source. Those of you in the software community who are Open Source advocates are welcome to invest your time, effort and capital to develop a competitive data security solution and release it as Open Source…we encourage it. Go getem’ champs.

I’m certain that if you ever release this software that we’ll figure out how to decipher it without much effort.

Vulnerability Coordination & Bug Bounty Platform

We are currently coordinating efforts to provide the DataGateKeeper under strict guidelines to one or more vulnerability coordination platforms, such as Hackerone. Our plan includes inviting, predetermined, preselected software testers to leverage their skills and creativity to undertake periodic reviews of our data security solution to inspect for vulnerabilities and assist us future planning and software updates. We will use this form of Bug Bounty Platform to provide independent testers a voice to aid us in future developments and testing before updates are published.

Don’t see you listed on HackerOne yet.

They’ve also changed who they’re going to give part of the proceeds post KickStarter to. Here’s the original statement:

MyDataAngel.com is proudly participating in Kicking It Forward Initiative, promising to pledge 5% of its post-release profit to other Kickstarter projects.

And now they’re just going to give their software to an organization of a backer’s choice instead of money to Kicking It Forward:

When you visit our website you will see we plan to make available, two versions of our DataGateKeeper software. One available here on Kickstarter, our Civilian version, at 512-bit, and a second 768-bit version for our First Responders, Active Duty and retired Military personnel. We designed the 768-bit version of the DataGateKeeper for those individuals who protect us and run into danger so we don’t have to.

As a thank you to you and the Kickstarter community for supporting us, for every reward pledge we receive for our DataGateKeeper software during this campaign. We will award a complimentary lifetime subscription of our 768-bit First Responder DataGateKeeper Software including 500GB of our SafeDataZone in your name to one of the organizations listed in our post campaign survey, tending to the people who protect our lives and our liberty. They should not have to worry about data theft when their mission is far greater.

Support “are” troops right? Nothing says patriotism like shoving bogus crapware on to veterans.

In a (not so) surprising move, they’ve went and removed any details about themselves from the KickStarter minus a few quips remaining in the bottom text. For posterity, here’s a mirrored copy:

fb8a8a22dfed1a15035616240d143a14_original

Again, these people are:

  • Raymond Talarico, CEO
  • Debra Towsley, President (and wife of Raymond)
  • Frank Ruppen, Chief Strategy Office
  • Joshua Noel, Creative Director
  • Loreena Stanga, Cat Herder & Code Management
  • Jensen Dillard, Data Angel Host
  • Steve Talbot, Advisory Board
  • Chad Thilborger, Data Angel & Host
  • David Smith, Advisory Board
  • Frankie, Data Angel & Celebrity

If you’re trying to make yourselves seem more legitimate, removing details about who is on your team late in the game is not a way to do it.

DataGateKeeper: The FIRST Impenetrable Anti-Hacking Software -- Kicktraq Mini

If this makes it to the $20,000 by the end of the campaign, they’ve had someone pump it.

Kiri is nonsense and likely stolen code

Another person has decided that a Raspberry Pi and a seemingly stolen operating system is good enough to promote a KickStarter project that promises complete computer security.

Here’s the promise:

It is the Mini Computer that is designed to make all of your internet activity un-traceable and un-watchable. With this small computer you can perform your everyday tasks as well as creation/transfer of sensitive data without worrying about hackers or curious enterprises. When using Kiri, the feeling of freedom is truly unreal.

And now the disclaimer:

Please note: the work we are doing is NOT the hardware, we are building an operating system and optimizing it to run on Raspberry Pi hardware. We are also designing and manufacturing cases to enclose the computer.

Since most of the magic happens on the software side of things, we decided to build an operating system that is as secure as possible while also being extremely easy to use. After looking at a variety of hardware solutions (including manufacturing our own) and with ease of use in mind, we finally chose the Raspberry Pi to bring our software to life. This is because it is powerful, portable and very effective in running Kiri OS.

Cute. And they’re looking to raise 20,000 GBP, or about $29,000 USD for a lifted OS and a $40 computer.

Details given on Kiri OS

Little is known about where they lifted the operating system from other than it’s some sort of Linux with Gnome atop. Let’s go over some points in the KickStarter itself:

It is the Mini Computer that is designed to make all of your internet activity un-traceable and un-watchable.

[…]

We are also designing and manufacturing cases to enclose the computer.

[…]

The operating system itself is based on Linux and uses Gnome Shell to provide an incredibly easy to use and familiar interface (for Mac OSX users). Although it is based on an existing operating system, Kiri OS is VERY far from being just Linux.

[…]

In fact we have built most software from scratch, meaning there is nobody, except the engineers, who is able to determine how our security software works.

[…]

Kiri is simple to use but a lot happens in the background to make you anonymous. All of your activity is passed through the Tor network which relays your traffic across over seven thousand ip-addresses.

Tor is a software developed by the US Government and is the same network used by government agents to keep their identities and locations hidden. This network is not generally easy to access, but now with Kiri, it is.

The best part of Kiri Os is that it connects through our own VPN servers in an un-disclosed location. The VPN servers are dedicated to Kiri OS users, but don’t make that think its easier to pin-point you. Our VPN network will be optimized to automatically switch users between ip-addresses on the server infrastructure at random intervals.

For those who don’t understand how VPNs work: It is a private network of servers which will route all of you internet traffic via encrypted signals. Since the VPN servers are dedicated to Kiri OS users, it will perform faster than any other shared VPN server. 

And best of all, there are no subscription costs for our VPN service it’s just free with Kiri Computer.

So it promises the following:

  • To be untraceable and unwatchable
  • They’re designing their own custom case for the Raspberry Pi–an unnecessary expense to say the least
  • Runs atop of Linux and Gnome, yet claims that it’s far-removed from being Linux itself
  • It’s all written “from scratch” (although runs atop of some Linux and Gnome) and nobody but the engineers knows how it works
  • It uses Tor but also some sort of VPN in an “undisclosed location”?

None of the above really makes sense but it really reads as it’s based on Tails, which is a Debian-based operating system with Gnome. However, Tails is only available for Intel processors (officially) so we’d have to look elsewhere. It may be possible that it may be based on something like this post from Cipherpunks.

No source code has been made available in the KickStarter nor on the creator’s website.

They also have an “elite” hacker working with them:

We have also had help from a certain un-named ‘elite’ hacker who was able to hack in to our first prototype. With his help we are able to test how safe Kiri can be, and it has reached a stage where even an elite hacker cannot penetrate the system. 

I’d be curious to know how this “elite” hacker broke into the device. Did they have physical access?

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 20.59.33

Really. It’s tough to understand whether or not they need to develop an operating system or if they have a prototype of one and need to improve upon it. The money desired to create such an operating system like promised is simply not enough especially when we examine the background of the creator.

About DYC Studio and Taheer Jokhia

DYC Studio was registered in the United Kingdom by Mohamed Taheer Jokhia (referred to as just “Taheer Jokhia”) in September 2015 (you can see the government filing here). According to the filing, there has been only a single appointment and the address given is an apartment near Paddington Station in London.

DYC Studio’s KickStarter bio claims the following:

Dyc Studio is a team of professional designers, software engineers and user experience specialists with over 50 years of experience combined.

We have built a variety of softwares including intranet based operating systems for companies. Kiri OS will be our first full operating system, but that does not mean we cannot do it better than anyone else. We have team members who have built full operating systems in the past.

Taheer’s original LinkedIn claims that he was an unemployed freelancer living in Manchester, but a different account which also mentions DYC Studio claims that he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising Design from the University of Salford. His development career started in early 2015 with various developer roles scattered across four companies, none of which mention anything security-related.

Taheer went out of his way to scrub the DYC Studio website because if you search for just the domain dycstudio.com, you get plenty of results relating to their own website yet all of them are 404’d.

However, fortunately some results are cached and we were able to get some information on who DYC Studio actually is. Here’s what Google had cached from their about page:

DYC Studio is a creative team with a mixture of skills that worked best together. We develop website and design solutions for a massive range of industries internationally. We are a world class professional web development and marketing agency that creates digital solutions for any kind of business or individual.

We employ some of the best graphic designers, web developers and SEO marketers who specialise in small and large businesses. We keep up with the latest design trends and technology so you don’t have to.

If you are seeking a trustworthy reputable web design company to create your website and/or app.

[…]

We specialise in the following services:

Website Design and Development
Search Engine Optimisation
App Development
Software Development
Digital Automation
Creation of Innovative Business Solutions and Tools

Nothing to say about cryptography or operating system development here. We can also see its marketing past evident in the Twitter account they’re using to promote the KickStarter:

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 19.16.38

Even as recent as of this past January, there were still tweets about their traditional business:

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 20.45.39

This company is all nonsense. No other person other than Taheer mentions working for DYC Studio on their LinkedIn profile.

What I can say is that DYC Studio’s Instagram shows a Twitter follower bot being used:

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 22.11.40

I wonder if this is included in the OS.

This is not their first rodeo

So it turns out that Taheer has attempted a KickStarter in the past and failed. DYC Studio (aka “Design You Creative”) claimed to be a game developer studio in Manchester:

Small indie games development studio based in Manchester, UK. We are beyond creative and have a range of crazy minds with amazing ideas.

The details on this KickStarter can be used to find this Facebook page, which again does not indicate any ability to develop their own OS or implement security.

Verdict

There is very little likelihood that this is what it claims to be and is likely violating a number of licences.

Introducing Security Snake Oil

It has become quite evident that crowd-funding websites like KickStarter do not take any consideration to review the claims made by individuals in their cyber security products. Efforts made to contact them have gone unanswered and the misleading initiatives continue to be fruitless so as a community, we have to go after them ourselves.

This blog will publish details about these projects that the project creators themselves may not want you to know.