Blog archive

Blog archive

2017

8 Mar 2017

Presenting Acra

Today we're revealing Acra: a database security suite, built to provide selective encryption and intrusion prevention for modern microservice-rich products and web apps.

products Acra

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6 Mar 2017

Importing with ctypes in Python: fighting overflows

Best cases of boring technical debt are understood when reflected properly. This post addresses a simple one: inelegant flags in core C library ended up breaking Python tests. This is no small case to us: tests breaking sometimes might end up in things seeming to work, but not really working. Not something you can afford yourself when you're doing cryptography, do you?

Themis Python

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28 Feb 2017

Plugging leaks in Go memory management

Investigating memory leaks can be fun, sometimes. Sometimes it might even teach you a few lessons in how the language you know and like actually works.

Go Acra

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2016

30 Dec 2016

This year at Cossack Labs

Bright and full of new 2016 year insensibly came to an end. Sharing the summary of our work!

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21 Dec 2016

Themis database modules

In an ongoing effort to make Themis functions available anywhere we (and potential users) might need them, we're starting to release Themis wrappers for popular databases. This post outlines the first two - for Redis and PostgreSQL databases.

Themis redis releases postgresql

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13 Dec 2016

12 and 1 ideas how to enhance backend data security

Previously, we’ve talked about classic design patterns in backend data security, then about key management goals and techniques. In the last article, we will discuss how modern approaches differ and shed light on our solutions.

backend security series products cryptography

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23 Nov 2016

Themis 0.9.4 release

Glad to announce Themis 0.9.4! Minor changes for stable new version.

Themis products cryptography Python iOS Ruby Android releases PHP Themis server Secure Comparator webthemis

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26 Oct 2016

Why making Internet safe is everyone’s responsibility

... not the security vendors, nor government or big corporations can solely fix the current state of things. It's everybody's duty and the earlier we understand it - the better.

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21 Sep 2016

Backend data security: Key management 101

Second article in series, Key Management 101 will talk about basic key management concepts, goals and methods to achieve them. 

backend security series howto cryptography

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15 Aug 2016

Classic backend security design patterns

In upcoming series of articles, we'll ascend from classic database security techniques to modern technologies, including some of the cutting edge research and our own experiments in the field.

backend security series howto cryptography Web

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27 Jul 2016

Zero Knowledge Protocols without magic

In this post, we talk about Zero-Knowledge Proofs, tie ZKP authentication to traditional security models and help you understand better how authentication, in general, should work. 

cryptography Web Secure Comparator zkp

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20 Jul 2016

Perimeter security: avoiding disappointment, shame and despair

Lighter reading: general thoughts on how the familiar mindset of 'protect the perimeter' changed over time.

cryptography Web

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26 May 2016

Introducing Themis 0.9.3

Themis 0.9.3 released: new wrappers for Go, NodeJS, C++, Google Chrome and much more.

Themis products cryptography iOS Android releases Themis server Secure Comparator webthemis

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23 May 2016

Choose your Android crypto (Infographic)

This blog post features infographic on how to choose cryptographic frameworks when developing Android apps and adds a few notes about Native/Java crypto.
 

Themis howto cryptography Android infographic

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21 Apr 2016

Building Sesto, in-browser password manager

Sesto is one of PoC tools we've developed while working on WebThemis - the cryptographically sane front-end framework for Google Chrome. Sesto enables web users to store any secrets (for example, login credentials) on the server and use them from any computer that has Google Chrome installed. 

Themis PNaCl Python webthemis

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7 Apr 2016

Benchmarking Secure Comparator

This post summarizes our experiences of testing Secure Comparator as an authentication mechanism for HTTP.

While we were planning, designing and implementing Comparator, real infrastructure in which it has to function (letting Toughbase instances without shared trust to be able to exchange records and request personal data safely) was very far from being ready, but we wanted to understand how good it was for some practical applications. So we chose the obvious - seeing how SC could work as HTTP authentication mechanism.

usability Secure Comparator

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30 Mar 2016

Crypto in iOS: Choose your destiny (Infographic)

This blog post features infographic on how to choose crypto when developing iOS apps. It's always useful to put tool choice in context of causes (goals) and effects. This is what we've tried to do in this post. 

Themis cryptography infographic iOS

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17 Mar 2016

Building secure end-to-end webchat with Themis

While doing some protocol design for front-end clients with WebThemis services, we wanted to try it in real-world situations first: how easily could we deploy complicated cryptographic behavior into web apps? Turns out, quite easily. This post describes one of such web apps, designed to illustrate some zero-server-trust design patterns we're using in other developments. 

Themis PNaCl cryptography Python howto webthemis

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14 Mar 2016

Building LibreSSL for PNaCl

As we are still using LibreSSL as a donor for some of the cryptographic primitives, with every new architecture we have to make sure that LibreSSL compiles well. This post describes our challenges with PNaCl.

PNaCl LibreSSL cryptography OpenSSL howto webthemis

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9 Mar 2016

Introducing Themis Server

Themis Server is interactive debugging environment for Themis: an easy way to try what Themis can do, debug your working code, get easy-to-test examples (specifically cooked to talk to Themis Server). 

Themis products Themis server

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8 Mar 2016

Building and Using Themis in PNaCl

This post outlines our experience of porting typical C/C++ library (which is obviously Themis, in our case) to PNaCl module. A few challenges, a number of interesting riddles and Themis suddenly has a new home!

howto PNaCl cryptography usability webthemis

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3 Mar 2016

What's wrong with Web Cryptography

Threats you may face when implementing cryptography within your web application JS way.

cryptography webthemis

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1 Mar 2016

WebThemis: proper crypto for modern Web

Introducing WebThemis: a Google Chrome library to develop secure web applications.

Themis products cryptography usability releases webthemis

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11 Feb 2016

Fixing Secure Comparator

After publishing Secure Comparator paper, we've received a number of concerns from the cryptographic community about possible security breach, in case, where one of the parties is intentionally falsifying the protocol. We've adressed these concerns, and, in this blog post and paper update would like to elaborate how and why. 

products cryptography Secure Comparator

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2015

9 Dec 2015

Introducing Secure Comparator

Secure Comparator is a novel authentication technique we're proposing the cryptographic community to evaluate. It can be used as any id/secret pair authenticator in environments, where no trust relationships exist between two parties.

Themis products cryptography Secure Comparator zkp

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26 Nov 2015

Why we need novel authentication schemes?

Current technological advancements in authenticating users seems to be sufficient for most cases. However, taking a more detailed look reveals weaknesses and tradeoffs in all existing authentication schemes. Before explaining the methodology and cryptography behind Secure Comparator, our authentication protocol, we wanted to outline reasons for developing it in a brief review of existing authentication methods.

cryptography Secure Comparator zkp

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20 Nov 2015

WeakDH/LogJam vs Secure Session

Being asked several times 'Is Secure Session prone to attacks similar to WeakDH/LogJam', we've decided to outline some principal differences, which render Secure Session really secure from these attacks.

Themis cryptography

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18 Nov 2015

Armoring ed25519 to meet extended security challenges

When developing new, advanced features of Themis library, we had to extend some ECC cryptography available in open source with our own implementation to provide simple point multiplication with random (unknown in advance) point. To achieve that, we've extended Daniel J. Bernstein's implementation of ed25519 with our own math and code. This blog post outlines our direction of thinking.

Themis cryptography Secure Comparator zkp

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4 Nov 2015

Introducing Themis 0.9.2

Introducing updated and polished Themis, release 0.9.2.

Themis products Python iOS Ruby Android releases PHP Themis server

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28 Oct 2015

Why you should avoid SSL for your next application

TL;DR: SSL is huge, inefficient, complex and presents many vulnerabilities. If you can avoid it - you should.M

Themis cryptography usability

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1 Oct 2015

Building encrypted chat service with Themis and mobile websocket example

This tutorial shows simple ways of integrating cryptographic services presented by Themis cryptographic library into your already existing multi-platform application.

Themis products iOS Ruby howto Android

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22 Sep 2015

Notes on adding cutting edge features

Some important notes on intruducing experimental, bleeding edge features to Themis, changes in Themis build system in the regard of these features, and a tease of new things to come.

Themis products cryptography zkp

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3 Jun 2015

Releasing Themis into public: usability testing

How we did usability testing for Themis when releasing the open source library into public.

Being ready to release Themis, we've gathered a few colleagues and decided to make a test run on unsuspecting developers, how would the library blend into their workflows?

Themis products usability Python iOS

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18 May 2015

Introducing Themis

We are proud to present Themis, a novel cryptographic services library.

Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer's personal itch. (The Cathedral and the Bazaar)

Themis products cryptography

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Cossack Labs is a privately-held British company with a team of data security experts based in Kyiv, Ukraine.