CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy

This speaker series is made possible by an anonymous charitable donation in memory of cypherpunks and privacy advocates Len Sassaman, Hugh Daniel, Hal Finney, and Caspar Bowden.

View the list of past and upcoming speakers

The State of Secure Messaging: Ratchets, Keys, and Metadata

Nikita Borisov, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

[Download (MP4)] [View on Youtube]

February 3, 2017 2:30pm, in DC 1304


There has been a growing interest in securing our online messages, with a barrage of new secure messaging apps and added encryption features in mainstream applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. I will discuss some of the key security properties we would like to see from secure messaging and security tools that are used to achieve them. In particular, I will talk about how Signal's double ratchet provides forward security, how key transparency helps resolve the key distribution issue, and how tools such as DP5 and Ricochet can protect metadata of secure conversations.


Nikita Borisov (@nikitab) is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on privacy and anonymity of online communications, as well as protecting the Internet from censorship. He co-invented the Off-the-Record Messaging and the DP5 protocol for private presence; his research has also influenced the design of the Tor network and the 802.11 security suite.