PassLok vs. Minilock – 9 years later

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.

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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?

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Two-Factor Nightmares

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.

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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.

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Introducing BytePad: simple, decently secure encryption for files

Quite some time ago, I wrote an article discussing the practicability of using a file as a key for encrypting other files. As I am preparing a talk on what can you possibly do if you find your computer compromised, I thought I’d optimize the tool in that article. A couple weeks later, the result is considerably faster and more powerful than the original. At least, enough to warrant a new article. So here it is.

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