From an entrepreneurial perspective, this is my favorite thing we've done at Keybase. It pushes all the buttons: (1) it's relatively simple, (2) it's filling a void, (3) it's powered by all our existing tech, and (4) it doesn't complicate our product. What I mean by point 4 is that it adds very little extra UX and doesn't change any of the rest of the app. If you don't use git, cool. If you do, it's there for you.
What void does this fill? Previously, I managed some solo repositories of private data in a closet in my apartment. Who does that? It required a mess: uptime of a computer, a good link, and dynamic dns. And even then, I never could break over the hurdle of setting up team repositories with safe credential management...like for any kind of collaboration. With this simple screen, you can grab 5 friends, make a repo in a minute, and all start working on it. With much better data safety than most people can achieve on their own.
How is Keybase gonna make money? How am I assured that this, and everything else in my Keybase storage, is going to be there in six months? Like, I still have a private server in a closet in my apartment that syncs all the stuff I trust Keybase with because I don't know what the business-side failure case is.
You guys should be taking my money, is what I'm saying. Also probably hiring me. But definitely taking my money.
Of course to achieve our goal, we'll also have to find a way to distinguish communities - which we'll want to use Keybase for free - and companies.
Many of us on the team have come from ad-supported businesses and we really, really never want to do that again. I personally guarantee I will never be a "publisher" again. Fortunately that just can't work with Keybase, so no fears there.
But charging for anything on Keybase right now would be a big mistake. We only have ~180,000 users, and we want to bring crypto to everyone. That basically means making products we believe are better.
Another way of looking at your concern: I think if we were charging right now, it wouldn't actually decrease the odds we disappeared in a few years. It might distract our attention from working on the best product and cause our bloody demise. So maybe we're not choosing the path that gives you the highest impression of safety, but I think we actually are.
That being said, I think Keybase is one of the most important companies around right now. I would gladly pay $10/month, even if literally all it did was put a "Supporter" badge on my profile. I'm sure hundreds of other people agree.
Crypto is far too important for it to remain locked away behind GPG.
For what it's worth, I think my above comment is my highest upvoted comment of all time. There's a lot of people out there who want Keybase to succeed.
With all the products you're offering, is there any indication which products will be staples of Keybase? Eg, I'm always hesitant of the "Google Product", where something gets added only to be abandoned ~1yr later after it doesn't gain the traction the company expected.
For example, I'd love to get my wife and I switched to Keybase Chat from Telegram. With that said, I love the features of Telegram, they're killing it for me honestly, but I can't expect Keybase to compete with Telegram unless they're really invested in it.
So which products from Keybase are one-off experiments, and which are long-roadmapped products - expected to have continued development and support for years to come? I'm having trouble understanding what to trust.
Note, none of this is critical to Keybase. I'm wary of startups in general, despite loving you guys, so I'm just seeking understanding. I appreciate whatever information you can give me, even if small :)
In case of chat you can always fallback to Telegram (I've done that after trying to move people to Wire).
In case of git you can always move the repo.
With the setup that's there now I can see how it could be used as the main origin along with a push to GitHub hook. Pull requests would be even mergable (blessed be Torvalds), though I'm not 100% sure if GitHub would pick up on that and autoclose the PR.
Actually, in that last one you should probably also offer consultancy to set up the servers securely - both software and physical hardware security. Secure software isn't worth much if the systems it runs on is compromised. Consultancy can be worth a lot of money, if your customers think it's worth it.
I'd start working on offering a paid enterprise solution soon tbf. I'd also tweak your landing page, the blurb is "a new and free security app"; the "new and free" doesn't instill much trust, and the "security app" doesn't really describe what it does. The second phrase tries to explain that "it's Slack" or "it's Dropbox", which I guess is fair, but I'd aim towards distancing yourself and describe it as e.g. "End-to-end encrypted communications and file sharing". What makes Keybase unique? I mean Dropbox has a pretty solid security page (https://www.dropbox.com/business/trust/security/architecture), as does Slack (https://slack.com/security).
IIRC it boils down to a new Merkle root and a self-hosted server instance that uses it. Add snapshot pushing to the blockchain and you've got yourself an independent Keybase instance with a fresh and clean database ready to be filled with employees.
I wonder what the identity proof adding would look like. I guess corporations are not interested in public proofs from Twitter.
(Anyone else with relevant thoughts on what IT needs around encryption, recovery, key backup, etc, please feel free to write me, too)
> That means that our highest priority is removing any obstacles to adoption. Anything that people might use as a reason not to use Trello has to be found and eliminated.
In this case I am weary of using something like this that is free because I have seen so many things in the past that were free only to shutdown rapidly after they grew in size, but with no way to pay for themselves and had to pivot or sell out. So being free is actually an obstacle in adoption.
Personally I'm old enough that I don't have to try every new service, but if something is solving a real problem in the short-term, I will give it a try and hope for the best. Keybase is definitely in this bucket. Worst case they go away and I have to come up with a different solution, but right now it's adding tremendous value.
but what's the alternative? Stable companies also kill
or abandon projects.
Nobody shuts down a project that costs $500,000 per annum and brings in $1,000,000 per annum.
Of course, 'all costs' there doesn't just mean employee salary - it has to include difficult-to-measure costs like the opportunity costs of the attention it demands from executives, paying a portion of the support costs of any legacy systems it needs, and suchlike.
It seems to me that there's a lot of product opportunities in the corporate world that go beyond what Keybase is providing today. Chat and Git are interesting, but there's already a lot of momentum in both these areas. Been thinking how I use encryption and where things fall short today. One of those areas is build signing and hardware key management for our team.
Everything that goes on our servers get signed by an official PGP key. Only a couple people can sign builds, and each has a Yubikey with PGP subkeys on it. This is kind of annoying to manage. We use an airgapped computer that houses the private key, can create subkeys and assign to Yubikeys, can handle expiration management, etc. When we want to deal with this, we have to get the computer, unlock access, and deal with the command line. This is error-prone and annoying. Having a solution that allows for safe storage of a private key and easy management of subkeys on smartcards would be amazing without the need for an airgapped computer and a command line would be really interesting.
(The signing/verification part can probably be handled today by the keybase tool.)
Okay, that's maybe more specialized. Let's move away from paranoid server builds and go toward something similar that's gotten plenty of companies in trouble: Malicious e-mails. How often are we hearing about some poor employee receiving an e-mail that appears to come from a co-worker that contains a finance document with a trojan? Or maybe just a simple document with a form, instructions, and a link that results in information leaked to some third-party?
If there was a dead-simple way to sign and validate documents over Keybase (and I mean dead-simple, built for people who only know Word and Excel), for use in e-mail and document management, with marketing around "For $XX/user/month, you don't have to worry about getting hacked," I bet plenty of companies would bite.
I don't know what that looks like exactly, but just playing around loosely with some thoughts, it would be interesting (particularly for fully IT-managed systems) to have a Keybase Shield product that would automate much of the signing and verification of documents. It could tie into Word, Excel, etc. via their plugin interface and sign on save, and/or provide a big "Sign this document" widget on the side of the screen that a document can be dropped onto (or a Share action on phones). It'd then own the file associations for these documents, intercepting them when opening via e-mail or file servers, and would validate their signature. A document from the outside world (or one not going through the corporate-mandated signature process) would outright fail to open with an error message and instructions to ask the sender to please sign the document.
(Lots of details to work out there, but if this process could be made simple and mostly automatic, you'd help close a major attack vector that companies are susceptible to today.)
Anyway, it's great hearing your thoughts on how Keybase plans to make money. I've been in the same boat of loving Keybase but being uncertain about where it'll be 5 years from now. We'll keep an eye open for some paid products :)
There's no explicit signing process involved, but that's part of Keybase's value proposition: automatic and transparent public key cryptography.
The value proposition of automatic and transparent public key cryptography is strong, and what I love about Keybase. Just thinking of other ways that can be applied transparently.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
So prove it. Provide a way that customers can try to give you money for solving their problems. Even if it is just a dummy static page with a form to contact your "sales" department, really show that you will be here for the longer term.
Sales and being around long term are more complicated and won't simply be proven to you because it's what you want. It requires more vision and coherence than that.
It could be an option when you log in to the UI. I wouldn't mind it, as long as it isn't being e-mailed to me every week/month.
Completely agreed. The reason I don't use Keybase more than I do is because I half expect them to be acquired/something else to happen. Would gladly give them my $10/mo. for a 1TB instead of Dropbox.
With that said, I completely understand why they aren't right now -- maybe they're not going after the consumer market, maybe they don't want to box themselves in with customer support obligations, etc. But I really would like to use them.
Maybe this applies only for the git?
> How am I assured [?]
You're not, even if they start making money. Sucks, but true.
> You guys should be taking my money
One way to pay, if you want to help ensure their success & longevity, is to evangelize for them, and get other people hooked on their product. Getting other people hooked on it like you are and seeing the potential and get over the adoption humps... that's valuable! They're not taking money because it raises the barrier to entry, and growth is most important. Pay them by helping them grow.
Without a road to profitability (or at least a road to revenue) even attracting equity is difficult; investors who enter with that knowledge will be looking to exit through acquisition, since that's basically the only way to exit, other than just getting more capital.
I heard this a couple of times and tried to confirm it a while ago, but was unable to. I wasn't able to forge a repository with faulty hashes in it.
I also heard plenty of people tell me that there exist public repositories with wrong hashes in them, but when I asked them they never could come up with concrete examples in the wild.
I'm seriously curious about this, can you provide any clonable proof of concept repository with wrong hashes?
That second part of the fuller quote makes the first part irrelevant.
Git, sans GPG, does no validation of the given username and email - it is trivial to configure my laptop to stamp commits with hannob@ instead fragmede. All I need to do to frame hannob, then, is write access to a repo that they contribute to.
In the centralized world of github, that's a little bit more tricky, but at larger organizations where large groups (eg, all of eng) simply have write access to the repo(s), if git blame says hannob wrote the commit that stole passwords/money/etc, guess who's getting fired?
With GPG, I'm able to configure git so that commits that actually come from me have a GPG-validated signature. Snarkily, the blog post claims "no one" does this but I do. Given that this feature is known to be infrequently used, I'd believe it if git would accept commits with a bad signature.
I believe Git CAN check the validity of sha1 hashes (I read the source a few years ago and have a very tiny git commit) using git fsck, which I believe kernel.org does nightly. It just doesn't do so automatically with every commit or whatever. But you can set up a test in your server, I believe, if that's important to you, either watching the files, or checking pushes which I believe github does. So that's not the issue.
It's sha-1 collision attacks that are a theoretical issue.
My understanding of the currently known SHA-1 attack is that it requires binary data (hence PDF files for the example) and requires you to control both the original file and the subsequent file. So an attack would have to generate an apparently innocent file and a malicious file both of which have a binary block, insert the innocent file into the repo, and then somehow, most likely outside of a git push given mitigations like github's, replace that innocent file with the malicious file.
Now to your question, checking in the PDF files from the proof of the attack in git doesn't work, because git also adds header info. And generating the files requires ~ $100,000 dollars worth of ec2 time, or the equivalent, so nobody has gone through the trouble of generating files that allow this specifically to prove it for git. Bit it's definitely possible, and cheap enough for a criminal organization or a state agency to do. Just because someone hasn't done it for git specifically shouldn't mean that the attack isn't possible, just that security researchers don't have unlimited funds, and the existing proof, while not specific to git shows the issue generally applies.
Last I saw, the git mailing list was debating sha3-256 and BLAKE vs SHA-256. There's some indication that SHA-256 may get intel HW support, and that may be useful for speed with really really big git repos (like microsoft's apparently). SHA-256 doesn't have an attack on it that's known but unlike ShA3-256 (and I believe BLAKE since it's a stream cipher) SHA-256 is a block cipher, so it's not stateful. That means, while no known attack exists, theoretically if an attack existed you could corrupt a specific block in a similar manner to SHA-1. But SHA-256 has been much more extensively tested for issues while SHA3-256 is newer... it was created ostensibly as a backup in case the current known safe standard of crypto like SHA-256 is attackable.
There are some issues with SHA-256 being used in repos that have signed SHA-1 hashes already, in terms of mapping SHA-256 to SHA-1 hashes without borking the signing. Obviously if you change the underlying structure of signed stuff to store a new hash, it changes the hash.
My personal thought would be to implement SHA-256 and SHA3-256 as options simultaneously, as they are both NIST standards, make SHA-256 the standard so big repos can be as fast as possible.
I am not a crypto expert, or a git expert though, so if I'm wrong, please correct me. Being wrong means I get to learn stuff and that's great!
It would be nice if I could have an encrypted copy in S3 or Dropbox or somewhere, that presumably maybe git couldn't directly make use of, and would be encrypted and those services couldn't touch either, but that the app could still push/pull changes to.
Certainly, I'd still have an unencrypted view of the contents in any local clones of the repository I may have in the case that I couldn't access keybase storage, but it still seems like there may be useful cases where an encrypted backup is somewhere else in the cloud as well, as a safe failover just in case.
- [spwhitton/git-remote-gcrypt: PGP-encrypted git remotes](https://github.com/spwhitton/git-remote-gcrypt)
I use [Pass](https://www.passwordstore.org/), a password manager, which uses GPG and Git, and I keep an encrypted copy of my Pass Git repo in Dropbox and have that repo copy setup as a remote in all of the local copies of my password repo. So, the contents of the local repos are encrypted, but in the encrypted copy all of the Git data is encrypted too.
By default. But set "git config --global transfer.fsckObjects true" and it will. No need to install anything else just for that.
Signing tags are not as affective as you'd think. refs are never actually signed, it's the objects they are pointing at that are signed. This opens up to interesting attacks where you can move refs around to previous vulnerable versions.
Git also never checks if the metadata the tag points at is correct!
Interesting paper: https://www.usenix.org/system/files/conference/usenixsecurit...
First version in shell with a fairly robust test suite, and the next version in Rust. Originally started to do it in Rust, but libgit2 was sufficiently obtuse that we opted for getting to a complete, working thing first.
1. Is there (or will there be) any way to create an encrypted git repo shared between a few users that aren't part of a team? e.g. could I create a repo that belongs to eridius,chris and have us both access it?
2. Can I create a repo that belongs to a subteam?
And on a different note, I want to create a team but the name is currently taken by a user. The user has zero activity (no devices, no proofs, chain is completely empty, literally nothing). Is there any way to recover a name that's being squatted on?
Yep, though it's undocumented and it won't show up in the GUI right now (maybe ever). You can just push/pull directly to repos like "keybase://private/u1,u2,u3/foo" and it will create it on the fly. But we warned, there's currently no way to delete those, and typos in the git URL can cause unintended repos to pop up.
> Can I create a repo that belongs to a subteam?
Yep, should be the same as a regular team.
Surprisingly, you guys look like a direct clone of the new Bitbucket interface. Its not my favorite (I like github so much better) - but Bitbucket with its inbuilt Pipelines integrations is so much better than Github.
Isn't the commit sha1 determined, in part, by the sha1 values of the tree it refers to as well as the sha1 of the parent commit? If you fetch a branch from a compromised remote, all the sha1 values of the commits that were compromised would be different.
parent sha1 of parent I want to attach it to
author some string
committer some string
The commit message
That is, would it think it has the commit because the sha1 hasn't changed, but the tree sha1 has been updated and it would presumably refer to blobs that the client doesn't already have and try to fetch them. Or would it not proceed because it already has the commit?
I’m sure there’s a law with someone’s name that states that. But just in case it hasn’t been claimed yet, I’m proposing that we call it the fuck you law. Because the next time someone comes to me to ask me to fix their trello to zappier to email to google sheets setup they use as a project management tool, I want to be able to say, “Fuck you and there’s a law that says so.”
EDIT: I should emphasize that this model is way more convenient than manually having to remember to push and pull all the time. Now push is only for publishing outside as it should be.
I say that in full realization that 99% of people probably don't even know that you can sign commits, but the first point doesn't seem valid, as you can ensure integrity of commit history.
You can already do that with Gogs.. It's a single binary, uses git, supports accounts, 2 factor, etc.
Really useful for small teams that don't want to use github or gitlab.
When the SHA-1 collision was calculated earlier this year, Linus commented on git and SHA-1. No further questions, just sharing it here if you happened not to see it: https://marc.info/?l=git&m=148787047422954
Again, thanks for all the hard work. Best of luck.
Hosing your repo is way too easy otherwise.
git-remote-dropbox works as you would expect a Git remote to work; it's API-driven and actively discourages even syncing the remote repository down to your machine. I would so, so strongly suggest you switch to it if you want to use Dropbox as a store.
Bare-git-repo-on-KBFS is inadvisable for a similar reason, which is why I'm so excited to see what they're doing here.
Both have the possibility of breaking because of concurrent or delayed syncs--like, which is actually HEAD?--but the latter is probably safer than the former. Or you can just use git-remote-dropbox and never have a problem.
If you always, always-always, develop on a single computer, Dropbox-as-normal-file-system can be fine. But if you have a desktop and a laptop, or multiple people partying on it, I get worried. :)
I expect that this could break the bare repository on DB if I ever pushed from two places simultaneously (where "simultaneously" could potentially encompass a period of hours or days if I pushed from an offline computer) but I should be able to repair it by recreating the bare repository.
Using something like git-remote-dropbox seems like a good idea. But at this point, I can just start using Keybase, hooray!
I don't think it's necessarily silly; it can be very useful in some scenarios.
I keep all my local working copies in a folder synced across several machines. I use Resilio Sync because it is better than Dropbox for this purpose, but it's basically equivalent.
What this lets me do is stop working suddenly, at any moment (baby crying upstairs, or I lost track of time and have to bike to the office for a meeting) get up from my computer and move to another one (in another room in my house, or across town at my employer's office).
The code doesn't have to be in any finished state, needn't compile, I can literally be right in the middle of a line of code. As long as I've saved my work to disk, it will have synced before I reach the next computer, so I can sit down and resume work.
Before I had kids I didn't need this as much, so I just did git push/pull.
But then you have to do the work of pushing your half-finished junk to a different private repo, or rebasing to avoid polluting the git history with a bunch of crap commits just because you had to move, or not do that and just accept having a git history filled with crap.
Frankly I wish more of my work was capable of being distributed like this, but it's really only suitable for collections of plain files, which are amenable to being synced file-by-file. Luckily that includes almost all my programming work, however.
: Resilio Sync is better than Dropbox for this because: it is much faster to sync than Dropbox, it supports symlinks so it doesn't corrupt your data when syncing folders containing them, and it syncs my data only among computers I control, not to any cloud service.
Thanks for the info about git-remote-dropbox and the potential failure modes of going without, even if they don't all apply to the way I've been doing things. It's still not ideal, so here's hoping Keybase makes it obsolete. If not, I'll keep git-remote-dropbox in mind.
There's been talk of making this the default, but it's trivial enough to stick in your .git
Is Keybase Git all hype then? Because the alternatives seem a lot better.
To be honest, I'm not even sure I understand what Keybase _is_.
What, like never? Or just not under specific circumstances?
I sure wouldn't want git to be doing that in every darn operation that traverses the history, like git log.
When receiving packets from another repo though, it would be useful.
If you want an encrypted storage solution with integrated read only access capabilities, I recommend using Tahoe-LAFS. You can probably store a git repository in it just fine.
Btw your product is awesome! Multi platform encrypted team chat that doesn’t even need 4gb of ram :)
Identity continues to be the key selling point of keybase. I'm excited by this.
I can keep clones of my private repositories here. Things like dotfiles and configurations. That sounds like a good start. And I can also easily share code to people who need to see it.
Is it possible to use this on the Keybase mobile app for like note-taking?
You mean, you have to run git fsck after pulling, since git only checks that you got what you asked for?