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Old 10-11-2012, 11:35 PM
Menachem Moystoviz
 
Default Suggestions for email for a paranoid Archer

Reading through the responses, I find that my previous evaluation of
my options was correct.
The most reliable and easiest solution, by far, would be to set up a
standard account,
and to download a copy of all emails. The only problems with this are
the lack of control and privacy.
My other option is to host my own mail server, either at home or on a
VPS (which would cost more),
which means much lowered reliability, a couple of days' worth of time
setting up a rudimentary system,
and sleepless nights wondering whether it was being compromised or
used to relay spam.
Benefits: control and semi-ascertained privacy.

Therefore, I think I should go with the first route, possibly
searching for ways to ensure end-to-end encryption
and to make the email address's domain my own.

However, to those who support using a VPS or hosting at home - how do
you deal with the lessened reliability,
costs and headache? Is it as bad as I think it is, or is it possibly a
fruitful and useful endeavor?

Thank you all,

Gesh
 
Old 10-12-2012, 12:32 AM
David Benfell
 
Default Suggestions for email for a paranoid Archer

On 10/11/2012 09:14 AM, Taylor Hedberg wrote:
And I've never set up DKIM, SPF, etc. and yet I've never had problems
with people receiving mail from my domain. Results may vary, of
course, but I don't think it's a big deal as long as you aren't
hosting your MTA on a PC in your basement with a dynamic address from
your ISP or something.


I have had occasional, but rare, problems with people receiving mail
from my domains (almost all my mail originates from parts-unknown.org,
which I've had for quite a long while) and I am running from static IPs
(actually both IPv4 and IPv6) on a Linode. What I have abjectly failed
to do successfully is get a functional DKIM setup (and right now, I'm
not even running SPF). It's been a couple years now since the last time
I broke my postfix trying to set this up, but all the documentation I
found in this area at that time was seriously out of date.


--
David Benfell
benfell@parts-unknown.org
 
Old 10-12-2012, 12:49 AM
 
Default Suggestions for email for a paranoid Archer

On Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 02:13:54PM -0400, Dave Reisner wrote:

> Really, just add two-factor auth to a gmail account and be done with
> it. Google has no interest in singular people.

It should be noted that Gmail's two-factor authentication provides
no extra security if you're planning on using it with a mail client.
You will have to set up an "application specific password", which is
a fixed-length alphanumeric password given to you by Google. Despite
the name, it is simply another password that can be used to log in via
IMAP/POP through any client (`openssl s_connect`, etc), without the
out-of-band verification.

> Moreover, Googlers who take an interest in data or logs belonging to
> singular people find themselves no longer working at Google.

This is true, but if you were really very paranoid, you would notice
that you don't have any control over how long Google keeps "deleted"
email on the server, and that any unencrypted emails on a server can be
obtained by governments with relative ease.

If you control the server and mailserver, you can encrypt your drive and
also have all incoming email encrypted with your public key, so that
your mail isn't just sitting around on a box for the taking.

Neither of these things would stop a truly determined government-level
attacker (unencrypted mail is still vulnerable in-flight for instance),
but it would be useful if you have not yet been identified as someone of
interest.

guns
 
Old 10-12-2012, 03:23 AM
Oon-Ee Ng
 
Default Suggestions for email for a paranoid Archer

On Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 8:49 AM, <sungpae@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Neither of these things would stop a truly determined government-level
> attacker (unencrypted mail is still vulnerable in-flight for instance),
> but it would be useful if you have not yet been identified as someone of
> interest.
>
> guns

Being ON the Internet in itself means you cannot truly stop a
'determined government-level attacker', unfortunately. Especially true
in some countries (China, for instance). My own government, for
instance, probably has more reason to snoop on my communications than
most criminals, all other governments, and
Google/Microsoft/Apple/Facebook.

Obligatory slightly-related xkcd ref - http://xkcd.com/538/

In the end, the price of being connected (and convenience) is a loss
of privacy and anonymity. You could always do a John Conner and live
off-the-grid, though.
 
Old 10-12-2012, 03:25 AM
David Rosenstrauch
 
Default Suggestions for email for a paranoid Archer

On 10/11/2012 07:35 PM, Menachem Moystoviz wrote:

Therefore, I think I should go with the first route, possibly
searching for ways to ensure end-to-end encryption
and to make the email address's domain my own.


Both are easy to do. Fetchmail supports SSL encryption on your
connection to the hosting company's POP server. And it's quite easy to
point your DNS entries to a hosting company's servers.


HTH,

DR
 
Old 10-12-2012, 04:49 AM
Sung Pae
 
Default Suggestions for email for a paranoid Archer

On Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 11:23:08AM +0800, Oon-Ee Ng wrote:

> On Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 8:49 AM, <sungpae@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Neither of these things would stop a truly determined
> > government-level attacker (unencrypted mail is still vulnerable
> > in-flight for instance), but it would be useful if you have not yet
> > been identified as someone of interest.
> >
> > guns
>
> Being ON the Internet in itself means you cannot truly stop
> a 'determined government-level attacker', unfortunately.
> Especially true in some countries (China, for instance). My own
> government, for instance, probably has more reason to snoop on my
> communications than most criminals, all other governments, and
> Google/Microsoft/Apple/Facebook.
>
> Obligatory slightly-related xkcd ref - http://xkcd.com/538/

Keeping things in perspective is always important, but if the OP wants
to play cypherpunk, more power to him. Should his government come at him
with a rubber hose, I won't begrudge him for revealing his private keys,
because at least he will have offered some resistance to the current
slide into a surveillance society.

> In the end, the price of being connected (and convenience) is a loss
> of privacy and anonymity. You could always do a John Conner and live
> off-the-grid, though.

This is true, but the choice isn't binary. There are instances where
we can use our tools to retain our privacy, yet enjoy much of the
convenience. Yes, this requires work, but if someone is up to the task,
I don't see any reason to discourage him from climbing out of the
tar-pit.

guns
 
Old 10-12-2012, 07:44 AM
Dave Reisner
 
Default Suggestions for email for a paranoid Archer

On Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 07:49:00PM -0500, sungpae@gmail.com wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 02:13:54PM -0400, Dave Reisner wrote:
>
> > Really, just add two-factor auth to a gmail account and be done with
> > it. Google has no interest in singular people.
>
> It should be noted that Gmail's two-factor authentication provides
> no extra security if you're planning on using it with a mail client.
> You will have to set up an "application specific password", which is
> a fixed-length alphanumeric password given to you by Google. Despite
> the name, it is simply another password that can be used to log in via
> IMAP/POP through any client (`openssl s_connect`, etc), without the
> out-of-band verification.
>

Sure, what I had in mind was actually to take advantage of it. Disable
POP/IMAP access and use OTP with webmail. This is true two factor auth
and *does* provide added security.

> > Moreover, Googlers who take an interest in data or logs belonging to
> > singular people find themselves no longer working at Google.
>
> This is true, but if you were really very paranoid, you would notice

No, if you were really very paranoid, you'd realize that you just need
to stay off the Internet.

> that you don't have any control over how long Google keeps "deleted"
> email on the server, and that any unencrypted emails on a server can be
> obtained by governments with relative ease.

Well, I happen to know the retention policies, so this doesn't apply to
me. I'll further point out that Google in particular is extremely
transparent about what they give out to the government:

http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/removals/government/

I'm not sure what you're trying to imply about unencrypted email and
government bodies, but it sounds rather silly. Perhaps I don't drink
enough koolaid.

> If you control the server and mailserver, you can encrypt your drive and
> also have all incoming email encrypted with your public key, so that
> your mail isn't just sitting around on a box for the taking.

Receive encrypted email? How are you going to ensure that this always
happens? I suppose you could simply deny anyone who isn't relaying over
TLS (and just accept that you're going to miss out on a lot mail), but
how do you control the sender's environment? There's equally many things
on the sender's side (assuming they're vulnerable) that could
potentially implicate you in whatever it is you're trying to hide. To
expand on this, how do you control what happens to a message that you
forward or write? You need to equally paranoid friends.

> Neither of these things would stop a truly determined government-level
> attacker (unencrypted mail is still vulnerable in-flight for instance),
> but it would be useful if you have not yet been identified as someone of
> interest.

Again, if you're really going to be paranoid, just stay off the
Internet. What we have here is an OP who's merely "waking up" to the
realization that the definition of freedom is a bit different between
meatspace and cyberspace.

d
 
Old 10-12-2012, 08:36 AM
gt
 
Default Suggestions for email for a paranoid Archer

On Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 02:13:54PM -0400, Dave Reisner wrote:
> Google has no interest in singular people. Moreover, Googlers who take
> an interest in data or logs belonging to singular people find themselves
> no longer working at Google.

I would believe that googlers who are "caught" peeking at people's data
are fired, though this would apply to other service providers too, not
just google.
 
Old 10-12-2012, 08:55 AM
Menachem Moystoviz
 
Default Suggestions for email for a paranoid Archer

From the responses I've received, I gather the following:
- Crypto is only going to get me so far, unless I can coerce all
incoming email to use TLS
- Until I have a steady income, my best bet is to use Google Apps for my domain
and to download all incoming mail - probably deleting it from
Google's servers while I'm doing it
- Once I have a steady income, I can afford to pay for a VPS, on which
it will be more likely
that a mail server set up on it will be able to send and receive mail

I really appreciate the help you guys gave. Thank you.

Gesh

P.S. I'm aware of the fact that, given a determined enough attacker
with enough resources, anything is hackable.
However, this does not, in my opinion, absolve us from our
responsibility to try and secure our systems
to the extent of our abilities
 
Old 10-12-2012, 06:29 PM
Victor Silva
 
Default Suggestions for email for a paranoid Archer

2012/10/12 Menachem Moystoviz <moystovi@g.jct.ac.il>

> From the responses I've received, I gather the following:
> - Crypto is only going to get me so far, unless I can coerce all
> incoming email to use TLS
> - Until I have a steady income, my best bet is to use Google Apps for my
> domain
> and to download all incoming mail - probably deleting it from
> Google's servers while I'm doing it
> - Once I have a steady income, I can afford to pay for a VPS, on which
> it will be more likely
> that a mail server set up on it will be able to send and receive mail
>
> I really appreciate the help you guys gave. Thank you.
>
> Gesh
>
> P.S. I'm aware of the fact that, given a determined enough attacker
> with enough resources, anything is hackable.
> However, this does not, in my opinion, absolve us from our
> responsibility to try and secure our systems
> to the extent of our abilities
>
Even if you delete the messages right away there is a a chance someone can
recover it. By default most mail providers won`t really delete your
messages but put then in a queue to be deleted. This is used in the case
you loose a valuable email or so on. I work in a governmental company on
the mail infrastructure and by default we retain any mail for 45 days which
is vacations + a buffer in case someone deletes something and needs it when
coming back from vacations. Of course the mail won`t be on your inbox but
the goverment or google will be able to look on it upon request.
 

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