Thoughts on Streembit without getting too technical


I have been trying to come up with a simple explanation of Streembit. Almost like an explanation without actually explaining it:

Streembit is a peer-to-peer human and machine communication platform. Secure, peer-to-peer, decentralized network formation is a fundamental and unsolved information technology problem.

Streembit aims to solve this problem. But what exactly is the problem with how things are?

Privacy in communication is an important human right. A right that is growing harder and harder to protect, and arguably isn’t protected at all. A good example is the recent feud between Apple and the FBI. Apple attempts to secure the communication of it’s customers through encryption. In fact, they did such a good job at it that the FBI served them a court order demanding their help in cracking an iPhone. This revealed the weakest link in Apple’s security, the fact that they have the ability to create a backdoor, and could do so with their users being none the wiser.

Big data and centralized servers also pose a threat to user privacy. Having all of your personal conversations and pictures stored on a company’s server is a scary thought. Just ask Jennifer Lawrence. It’s a thought that will only grow scarier. The more connected the world becomes the more information about you will be stored on these central servers. These troves of information may be hard to properly leverage at the moment, but that is changing with recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.

The coming Internet-of-Things also has a great need for a secure peer-to-peer communication platform. The possibilities in an interconnected world are almost endless. Think about the revolution it would cause in healthcare. Wearable devices monitoring patient’s vitals, warning of emergencies before it is too late. Sensors reminding you to take your medicine, and making sure you take the right dose. Your house managing its own energy efficiency through the communication of the devices within it. You will be able to talk to your toaster. What a world. The devices that surround you will be able to improve your life. But just as this level of interconnectability will allow technology to assist us like never before, the consequences of bad security will threaten us like never before.

Technology should enhance our lives while preserving our right to privacy. We shouldn’t have to pick one or the other. Our goal with developing Streembit is to achieve both and sacrifice nothing.

So how does Streembit do this? To start, Streembit is a peer-to-peer decentralized network. There is no server storing your information. Your message goes straight to it’s intended recipient. That means the only way someone will get your message is if they intercept it. However, that will be problematic for them due the cryptography schemes of messages in the Streembit network. Here is what Bruce Schneier had to say about 256-bit AES symmetric encryption, the same utilized by Streembit:

These numbers have nothing to do with the technology of the devices; they are the maximums that thermodynamics will allow. And they strongly imply that brute-force attacks against 256-bit keys will be infeasible until computers are built from something other than matter and occupy something other than space.

The messages themselves are safe, but what if someone has your device and they are trying to crack your password? Lets go back to the example of the iPhone. With the latest iPhone security it would take 10,000 iterations of a brute force attack to break the security. Streembit passcode has a more complex setup that would require a minimum 3.05 trillion times the iterations it would take to break the passcode of a iPhone.

The next question is what if the FBI demanded that a backdoor be created in Streembit? Streembit is open source software, meaning that anyone can look to verify the security of Streembit, or confirm that there aren’t any backdoors. The beauty of being open source is that there will never be any need for things like “warrant canaries“, because if a backdoor is added, it will be done in plain sight.

Here is the cool part; you can try Streembit out right now. An early version is available with video, audio, and text communication, as well as screen-sharing and file sharing. Streembit is the only application in the world that does all of this in a decentralized peer-to-peer manner.

Streembit is also heavily focused on the Internet-of-Things. Any devices connected to a Streembit network benefit from the same security that a human user would. Along with complying with open security and communication standards our developers take an active role in the W3C Web of Things Initiative and mirror all WoT standards in the Streembit codebase.

Download Streembit here:
https://streembit.github.io/download

Check out the Raspberry Pi IoT implementation of Streembit here:
https://github.com/streembit/streembit-pi

Here is a guide for setting up your Streembit account:
https://deardolphinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/05/getting-started-with-streembit/

Join our community on Gitter and chat with us!
https://gitter.im/orgs/streembit/rooms

This post was first published in the streembit-dev Google group. Come join us here

Valbonne Consulting provides Research & Consulting for emerging technologies in Internet/Web of Things (WoT/IoT/M2M) and Emerging-Tech. We specialise in decentralisation, security and privacy. We work across a variety of traditional industry verticals (Telecommunications, Automotive, Energy, ...). We support Open Source and technologies built on open standards.

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