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Communications Encryption

XMPP Operators Begin Requiring Encryption, Google Still Not Allowing TLS 121

Via El Reg comes news that major XMPP (formerly known as Jabber, likely the only widely used distributed instant messaging protocol other than IRC) operators have all begun requiring encryption for client-to-server and server-to-server connections. Quoting the Prosidy developers: "Last year Peter Saint-Andre laid out a plan for strengthening the security of the XMPP network. The manifesto, to date signed by over 70 XMPP service operators and software developers, offered a rallying point for those interested in ensuring the security of XMPP for its users. Today is the date that the manifesto gave for the final 'flip of the switch': as of today many XMPP services will begin refusing unencrypted connections. If you run an XMPP service, we encourage you to do the same. On the wiki you can find instructions for all the popular XMPP server software. While XMPP is an open distributed network, obviously no single entity can 'mandate' encryption for the whole network — but as a group we are moving in the right direction." There is a handy tool to test your server. A result worth noting is Google's: they still do not support TLS for server-to-server connections, and their sudden dropping of TLS s2s connections a few years ago is likely the primary reason operators switched off mandatory TLS for s2s (I know that's why I did it). Although Google Hangouts offers no federation, GTalk still does, but it appears that the XMPP network-at-large will now cease to federate with Google voluntarily.
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XMPP Operators Begin Requiring Encryption, Google Still Not Allowing TLS

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  • You know, I can understand why Google might decide that XMPP isn't sufficient for the kinds of features they'd like to support, and so deciding to develop something new in-house with their desired feature set. I really wish, though, they they would open a protocol that still allowed outside people to communicate.

    I just find it insane how much we're moving back in the direction of "walled gardens" everywhere. There was a time when most people's exposure to online interaction were services like Compuserve, AOL, and Prodigy, and those services couldn't talk to each other. I think we're headed back in that direction, except that soon we'll all be on services like Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, and those services won't talk to each other.

    We really need a revolution soon, or I think we're going to find that we don't like where we end up. I know it sounds trivial because these are all free services, and most of what's communicated on them is trivial anyway. Still, it's transforming the Internet into a less free place, where we're all at the whim of a small handful of companies. I think it's a bigger problem than we've yet realized.

  • by Pi1grim ( 1956208 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @10:32AM (#47046089)

    That's BS. All this achieves is pushes you into the same zoo of IM clients that stretches from the 90-s. ICQ, Odigo, MSN, Gadu, Skype, XMPP and now all the mobile IMs are all dreaming of being The One. I'm so glad all this corporate "there can be only one and it should be us" broke out after email was standartized. Because right now, several decades from it's invention, we're still stuck with it. No matter how ugly or unsuitable for modern needs the protocol is and how many ugly hacks have been applied to it. Just because this is the only universal communication method. You can send a message and receiver will get it regardless of what mail service it uses.

    Back in the day google's tech team though that something similar should be done for IM market and supported XMPP. But then, they decided that this product was too good, to let other people, who don't use google's services to use it to contact the ones already in the Google's web of services. "Everyone should get a google ID." And now hopes of other players are even dimmer than they ever were. Looks like my dream, where people from facebook, google, univercity network and some corporate IM system can get into one conference and chat is a pipe dream.

    I don't care for internal protocols, features and such. I just want interoperability between servers. Let message and any other server that has supported XMPP server. I worked great for email, by the hell do you try to introduce walled gardens and cause pain to your users?

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury