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October 14, 2014
4 Min Read
LUXEMBOURG, – pEp (pretty Easy privacy) SA, working with privacy specialists aligned in the spirit of the global Cypherpunk movement, has announced a bundled suite of free software solutions developed to work with existing communications tools to provide full Internet privacy to private and corporate users.
The open source solutions encrypts all types of messages (SMS, email, Whatsapp, Facebook, Jabber, etc.) across platforms and on all device types running Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android and GNU/Linux. Users simply hit “send;” pEp seamlessly ensures that messages leave originating devices in the most secure way compatible with all established crypto standards including OpenPGP, S/MIME and CMS.
pEp ensures that received encrypted messages are answered in the same encrypted way. Security is further enhanced when both sides use pEp, as the peer-to-peer communication uses GnuNET, an anonymous transport that makes meta data fully unreadable to attackers.
Massive security breaches, such as the one recently uncovered at Home Depot; demand a comprehensive privacy solution for both individuals and corporate users. pEp engineers have designed the company’s bundled security suite so that its presence is invisible.
“Technical [aspects] such as picking keys, and understanding cryptography algorithms are automatically handled by computers, [so that] users only need to hit ‘send,’” says Volker Birk, a German software architect and known activist within the hacker community. “The Cypherpunks are actively engaged in making networks safer and truly private. Let us proceed together apace.”
Says Leon Schumacher, Co-Founder, CEO and former Group CIO of pharmaceutical giant Novartis, “What good is having private communication with friends only after hours? Companies also need privacy and security that meets and actually exceeds that of the so-called ‘private person.’
“We therefore have developed a solution that brings privacy and security together in a simple way for both types of users,” Schumacher adds.
Microsoft Outlook is the first platform pEp is supporting. The solution secures communication without the need for configuration, simply doing what it’s designed for. pEp‘s enterprise version features including key escrow, and supports fully automated software rollout tools.
To further the global spread and use of pEp, Leon, Volker and others are working to ensure that the solution suite can be implemented in an invisible layer to accommodate users’ existing ways of communicating. “It is not for technicians like us to teach people what to do, how to do or to force them to move to a software program or platform they don’t like,” Volker says. “It is our task to secure what they want to use, and what they’re using already.”
Rather than being developed as cryptography software, pEp instead integrates GnuPG and NetPGP, where GnuPG is unavailable, such as with iOS.
“pEp provides the missing link,” Co-Founder and CTO Volker explains, enabling users outside of the hacker community to easily and correctly use PGP. “People really want privacy, but they don’t know how to attain it. The pEp engine mirrors what hackers do when using PGP, that is, by automatically and safely creating a good key pair with reliable algorithms while also managing the keys of public users.
“We want to make privacy and security a given with respect to all written communication over the Internet,” Volker says, emphatically.
Soon to be available for all platforms, devices and oprating systems, three Fortune 500 companies are currently testing pEp in Outlook. pEp will also eventually be part of the standard deployment of Free Software Kolab, a groupware solution for SMBs, proclaims pEp project member Georg Greve, founder of Free Software Foundation Europe, further underscoring the business world’s adoption of the security suite.
The project teams next step is pEp’s rollout for use with iOS and Android devices, and web browser plug-ins. “We are 100 percent committed to this project, and will continue development at no charge,” Schumacher says, adding that individuals and corporations can support the initiative through crowd funding on indiegogo (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pep-pretty-easy-privacy), and by simple word-of-mouth.
“We can provide pEp for all platforms very quickly,” Schumacher asserts. “And with the help of individuals, corporations, and the global Cypherpunk community, we will.”
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