I confess that the development of PassLok learned a lot from a competing app called MiniLock, by Nadim Kobeissi. That app got a lot of press when it was launched 9 years ago but is now defunct. In fact, its successor is also defunct, and so is its successor’s successor. Meanwhile PassLok continues delivering various crypto-related functions and spawning new children. This post collects some of that history and tries to get at the root causes for such a diverse outcome. Morale: sometimes slower is better.
GroupEncrypt: A Tutorial
I have mentioned my new app for adding zero-knowledge encryption to file sharing services that don’t have it natively in this and this other post. Right now I have a group of alpha testers uncovering bugs, and the first one coming in is that the instructions on the app itself are rather terse. This post hopefully will help users as well as group administrators.
Zero-Knowledge File Sharing for the paranoid
Sharing files confidentially in 2023
Problem: A well-defined group of people formerly working at a single location used to pass along pieces of paper containing confidential information so group members could comment and expand. But after covid they find it hard to get together in one place and, since every member has a computer, they would like to be able to do it online. But confidentiality remains very important, along with integrity of the information. What can they do?
Chances are that by now many readers will have moved on to Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for their most sensitive logins. The industry has been relentless in its support of this feature, sometimes forcing it on you for your own good. But not everything has been a field of daisies. I had a near-miss this very morning, which encouraged me to write this cautionary tale and offer some solutions you may find useful.
Learning piano not so young: nine months later
Nine months have passed since I decided to learn to play the piano, and I’m still on it, which is good. Not a virtuoso by any stretch, but I can almost accompany songs and have a lot of fun practicing by myself, which is bound to lead to good results. In this article, I muse about what has worked, and what hasn’t worked so well, in case it might help you.
More control for your keyboard
The Casio keyboard I bought a few months ago to learn piano is working great, but it does not give me a lot of control over the sound, since it’s relatively inexpensive. For instance, it has no native way to quiet down a layered instrument so it doesn’t overpower the base sound. This is has been reported by many owners. I found a simple solution that likely is valid for most modern keyboards from most brands.
All my crypto apps updated
It’s a fairly small change, but one that may mean much. The versions I just pushed out include an icon on the toolbar, plus sometimes a special button, in order to download encrypted and decrypted files loaded in the box as a link. This gets around the file size restriction of the right-click and “save as…” method that was used until now, especially on Chrome. I’ve been able to load and save files over 1 GB in size. Then you can attach them to a regular email, for instance. This affects the following apps: PassLok Privacy, PassLok for Email, PassLok Universal, FusionKey, SeeOnce, and URSA.
PassLok v2.5 is here!
It’s been a while without an update, but now here’s one that may be bigger than it appears at first. PassLok has moved to version 2.5, which allows users to share their Locks with friends nearby via a QR code. The picture here contains my Lock, in case you want to communicate with me through PassLok.
My computer is compromised, now what?
Besides the surface war in the Ukraine, another war is being waged in cyberspace. Both sides have zero-day exploits that they’ve been waiting for the right moment to use and you may be affected by some of the shrapnel. Here tell you some simple ways to be prepared for a personal cyber Holocaust.