Kim Dotcom vows to KILL SKYPE with encrypted MegaChat

Claims new service will end NSA mass surveillance

Megaupload maestro Kim Dotcom says he will soon unveil an encrypted video calling and chat service that he claims will mark "the end of NSA mass surveillance."

In a series of tweets, Dotcom said the service, to be called MegaChat, will also doom Skype, the current king of online calling, which is thought to have been cooperating with US government snoops since at least 2011.

"No US based online service provider can be trusted with your data," the rotund refugee proclaimed. "Skype has no choice. They must provide the US Government with backdoors."

Dotcom said MegaChat will be browser-based – preempting Microsoft's plan to bake Skype into IE – and will also include the ability to conduct high-speed file transfers with end-to-end encryption.

One small problem with all of this: Dotcom launched the Mega file-sharing service in early 2013 with similar claims that it offered impenetrable browser-based encryption. But it only took a few days for security researcher Steve "Sc00bzt" Thomas to come up with a tool to steal passwords from encrypted Mega confirmation links, and no less than crypto expert Moxie Marlinspike called Mega's approach to security "inept."

Dotcom shot back at such criticisms, saying Mega's crypto remained unbroken and offering a bounty for anyone who could break it. But Sc00bz and others have dismissed that boast, saying it would be easy for Mega to provide an "unbreakable" account with a long, random password, but it wouldn't prove that real-world Mega accounts can't be hacked or spied on.

The debate over Mega's crypto aside, there's also the issue of Dotcom's ability to execute. Previous post-Megaupload ventures – including the music services Megabox and Baboom, his promise to bring dedicated fibre internet to New Zealand, and his bid for political office – haven't yielded much fruit. We haven't heard much about Dotcom's plans to take Mega public lately, either.

And then there's Dotcom himself, who said in November that he's "officially broke" from his protracted battle to avoid extradition to the US on conspiracy, money laundering, and copyright infringement charges.

But secure communications appear to be all the rage in the wake of the Snowden revelations, so it's always possible that MegaChat could be Dotcom's next opportunity to strike gold.

Dotcom tweeted on Monday that he would explain how to get an invite to the MegaChat beta program "in the coming weeks." ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • Telegram adds paid tier as it cracks 700 million users
    Without so much as a mention of encryption, but with a pastel-hued emoji-heavy nod to ‘sustainable monetization’

    Messaging app Telegram, which came to prominence for offering end-to-end encryption that irritated governments, has celebrated passing 700 million active monthly users with a pastel-hued announcement: a paid Premium tier of service.

    A Sunday post celebrates the 700 million user milestone by announcing a $4.99/month tier. The Premium tier distinguishes itself from the freebie plebeian tier with the ability to upload 4GB files, unthrottled downloads that come as fast as users' carriers will allow, and the chance to follow up to 1000 channels, create up to 20 chat folders each containing up to 200 chats, and to run four accounts in the Telegram app.

    Paying punters will also get exclusive stickers and reactions and won't see ads once they sign up to hand over coin each month.

    Continue reading
  • Protecting data now as the quantum era approaches
    Startup QuSecure is the latest vendor to jump into the field with its as-a-service offering

    Analysis Startup QuSecure will this week introduce a service aimed at addressing how to safeguard cybersecurity once quantum computing renders current public key encryption technologies vulnerable.

    It's unclear when quantum computers will easily crack classical crypto – estimates range from three to five years to never – but conventional wisdom is that now's the time to start preparing to ensure data remains encrypted.

    A growing list of established vendors like IBM and Google and smaller startups – Quantum Xchange and Quantinuum, among others – have worked on this for several years. QuSecure, which is launching this week after three years in stealth mode, will offer a fully managed service approach with QuProtect, which is designed to not only secure data now against conventional threats but also against future attacks from nation-states and bad actors leveraging quantum systems.

    Continue reading
  • Cheers ransomware hits VMware ESXi systems
    Now we can say extortionware has jumped the shark

    Another ransomware strain is targeting VMware ESXi servers, which have been the focus of extortionists and other miscreants in recent months.

    ESXi, a bare-metal hypervisor used by a broad range of organizations throughout the world, has become the target of such ransomware families as LockBit, Hive, and RansomEXX. The ubiquitous use of the technology, and the size of some companies that use it has made it an efficient way for crooks to infect large numbers of virtualized systems and connected devices and equipment, according to researchers with Trend Micro.

    "ESXi is widely used in enterprise settings for server virtualization," Trend Micro noted in a write-up this week. "It is therefore a popular target for ransomware attacks … Compromising ESXi servers has been a scheme used by some notorious cybercriminal groups because it is a means to swiftly spread the ransomware to many devices."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022