Keybase creates a Slack alternative that's end-to-end encrypted


If your newsroom is using Slack and that makes you nervous, you might recommend they switch to Keybase’s new products. Companies will save money if they opt in early.
Keybase Teams.
The story in Fortune made it sound like early adopters might get it free forever. Anyway, it’s cool… neither Keybase nor anyone else can read messages without the right keys.

Personally, I don’t really get why people like these tools, but as long as teams do… hey, encrypt it.


Summary: the protocol is not verified by experts yet, so hold off on committing to it. There is some nice potential with border crossings, however it is still being tested. It looks ok, but its immature. There is potential here, but it needs to be vetted by crypto experts

Teams: chat works. file sharing doesn’t.

I’ve been playing with the group chat as a replacement for Slack with a friend today. It is a very nice clean app on the surface, but I am not sure about the crypto. I don’t know what protocol they’re using for their chat, or for the keybase file system.

The Teams chat stuff is still buggy right now. I tried to shared a file, he tried. It never appeared where it was supposed to. Instead we tried their system for publicly sharing files. It isn’t very clear because there didn’t appear to by any GUI method for doing it.

I moved the file to /keybase/public/myUserName and then he had to fire up a terminal and do:
open /keybase/public/myUserName/fileName

The file system is awfully slow. It took me several minutes to copy the file (5mb) into the directory, but he copied it out almost instantly.

Protocol wise they talk a lot about signing and chains and linking which I think is to make it sound like "blockchain, but it is really just web of trust.

I’m leaving off on recommending it until I hear about the protocol from crypto people.

On more thing…

I think there is definitely potential for border crossing using the /keybase/private. This is untested,

  1. create a “Travel User” keybase account, login on home computer. ! don’t reuse passwords !
  2. on home computer place encrypted blob into /keyase/private
  3. verify that you can decrypt the blob and do work (test it)
  4. prepare travel equipment (don’t install keybase, obviously)
  5. cross border (“travel naked”)
  6. in country, install keybase and login to your travel account, pull out the blob in /keybase/private/

Leaving process.

  1. log out
  2. delete the app
  3. rm -rf /keybase/ # note: this is the part I’m not sure on. In theory it shouldn’t wipe your file because it is uninstalled, but I don’t know. You can reboot before step 3 and see about uninstalling that “helper” app.

Anyway, an encrypted private cloud storage that requires an app, an account, a password and is visible as a file system.

I need to find out more about the protocol in use, and also what the support is like for network proxies / VPNs / Tor.