Lavabit, which is known to be Snowden’s favorite email service, is now revived. Edward Snowden has used in the past this encrypted email provider. Lavabit is now back after it was updated with even more security features than it was before. Ladar Levison, the chief of the company, shut it down back in 2013. He chose not to comply with the demand of the government to give them its SSL encryption key.
Nevertheless, authorities have targeted this email provider to get to the informant’s data, but a trick order prohibited Lavabit from validating that was the case until last year. To enable the privacy of their users, the revived Lavabit is bound to use a new architecture which will physically forbid the company to hand over the SSL key.
The SSL key of Lavabit is currently stored in a tamper-resistant device. This service was developed to automatically create a long passphrase which is not visible for the company, and it will also insert the key into the device, destroying the passphrase afterward. Once the SSL key reaches the device, it can no longer be pulled out.
For now, this email service is only available for previous users who were locked out of their accounts due to its disabling back in 2013. Developers argue that those users are more likely to be unable to retrieve their old email, but they will still be able to use their Lavabit accounts.
The email service will eventually begin accepting new users while also being able to choose between three modes like Paranoid, Cautious and Trustful. The least secure feature of the email service encrypts the emails directly on the server of the company, while the Cautious option will provide end-to-end encryption.
Those users who would prefer the Cautious mode need to install the customer software on their electronics to be able to create an encryption key. Nevertheless, since Cautious mode encrypts the key in the server of the company, Lavabit came up with the Paranoid mode. This feature will allow users to store the key on the electronics of the users instead. They will need to manually transfer the key if they need to make use of another device. However, if they lose the key, they can never recover it.
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