The Safest Chat Application

The Safest Chat Application – Lately, there has been a lot of buzz around encrypted chat apps. WhatsApp and Signal are two messaging apps dominating the headlines, and let’s see why – WhatsApp has updated its privacy policy to say that the messaging platform shares user data with other Facebook-owned and third-party apps. This has forced many users to look for alternative sites, the first being Signal, which is an encrypted messaging app. The message sent by the signal is said to be encoded. This is called end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is a very important feature in real-time chat applications. Our article:

A real-time system is a system where multiple clients send and receive data instantaneously over the network. This can be called a two-way flow. It enables users to make the right decisions at the right time. In traditional systems, data exchange is usually done through a request-response process using a client-server architecture.

The Safest Chat Application

The Safest Chat Application

Our program is based on interviews in healthcare settings. These conversations take place between doctors and the respective patients. This means patients can only see doctors on their contact list and vice versa. Therefore, users are grouped according to their “roles” on the server. Additionally, E2EE is required to keep patient details/conversations secure and confidential.

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For any application to feel real-time, the user needs to update any action as quickly as possible. Difficulties arise in choosing and implementing an appropriate development strategy. With the standard request-response model, we have several options:

User may refresh the website from time to time to check news updates. But this is not a convenient solution. This can lead to poor UX.

The HTTP request-response concept is widely used. But every time data is sent to the server, a TCP connection must be established. Being a one-way synchronous communication protocol, it can excel in real-time chat applications because it creates and destroys a TCP connection each time a message is sent.

This version of HTTP eliminates the need to open a TCP connection for each HTTP request. So it helps to maintain a stable connection. But it still does not provide the full bidirectional communication required in real-time applications.

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A timer based on Ajax! The client periodically sends HTTP requests and a response is immediately returned by the server. Although it is not asynchronous, it consumes a lot of resources and thus generates traffic. Resources are released immediately, but cannot be used in additional applications such as real-time.

It contains less traffic than short polls. Responses here are not automatic, but force the application to hold resources for some time, so requests remain unresolved. Also, you have to re-authenticate or re-authenticate multiple times. Again, this is not a good option for real-time applications.

This is the mechanism used by the server to update the client when an event occurs. It is very useful in real applications and works as a one-way publish-subscribe model.We want our application to communicate two-way.

The Safest Chat Application

This concept solves many of the problems we just discussed. It allows instant two-way communication of messages with a static connection, as is necessary to build a real network. NodeJS provides several libraries to implement this technology. What we use for our application is the WebSocket API, which is the websocket library.

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According to MDN, “The WebSocket API is an advanced technology that enables a two-way interactive communication session between a user’s browser and a server. Through this API, you can send messages to the server and receive event-based responses without selecting a server for the response.”

A completed handshake can be performed by either the client or the server. Connection must be done manually.

Now that our messages are transferred instantly from the client to the server and back, let’s discuss how to securely transfer our data across the network. Various mechanisms and protocols are currently in use on the Internet to ensure the exchange of confidential information. Messaging apps allow encryption, but not all of them provide end-to-end encryption. So even the server can’t open our messages. But why protect the program?

The answer is simple – to hide the user’s personal data from any third-party users. It could be the government, hackers, or some other intelligence agency. The Service Provider may or may not allow third parties, such as the government, to obtain information related to criminal or terrorist activities. But what if the server is down? Information can end up in the wrong hands. In such cases, users prefer to opt for end-to-end encryption where even the service provider cannot access the encrypted data.

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Although many programs claim to enable end-to-end encryption, only a few do. The most popular Telegram app offers an additional feature of secret chat using the MTProto protocol.

While WhatsApp, Facebook and Signal Messenger all use the Signal protocol developed by the Open Whisper Network, only Signal Messenger has proven to be the most secure app.

That’s because it encrypts metadata and refuses to share user information with intelligence agencies. The protocol is also available as open source code for other developers to use or verify with each other, making it a reliable messaging application.

The Safest Chat Application

Today we will discuss the Signal protocol in detail. But before that, you need to know about Diffie-Hellman key exchange process. With simple encryption, messages are usually encrypted between the user and the server using some cryptographic key, so the server data is vulnerable. These keys should be between users, not just the server. But how is this possible? Let’s say we have two customers – Alice and Bob.

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This mechanism was developed by Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman to replace the public exchange of cryptographic keys. Colors are defined by dyes because they cannot be separated once they are mixed. Similarly, secret keys are difficult to find if they are mathematically related to the prime numbers provided by the server.

While this process provides us with a secure way to generate cryptographic keys, it does not authenticate users. Thus, we have third parties who appear to be the intended recipient and can access or exchange messages with another pair of keys shared with Alice and Bob, respectively. This is commonly known as a man-in-the-middle attack.

This algorithm is combined with other algorithms that provide authentication (ECDH) or mathematically derived multiple times (X3DH) to achieve true recognition. That’s when the RSA came to the rescue. The sender shares the signature to ensure that it has only sent the message, not Diffie-Hellman.

Here is an example of an audible web page where you can see that the security protocols are TLS 1.2, ECDHE_RSA, AES and not just DH. This is how TLS, VPN, and HTTP work. However, this algorithm was very slow and did not provide perfect privacy. Wait, what’s privacy now?

Developing Chat Apps With End To End Encryption

Therefore, we discuss the X3DH kernel protocol in detail as it is used in the signaling protocol. It is useful in asynchronous communication and dating. For example, Bob has retrieved some data for Alice, but is currently offline, and then the server can cache the data or send a notification to Alice.

This algorithm uses the common elements of Identity Key (IK), Ephemeral Key (EK), Signed Prekey (SPK) and One Time Prekey (OPK). Individual items are stored on the respective user’s device for calculation purposes and are not shared.

The algorithm executes Diffie-Hellman four times, using mutual authentication (DH1 and DH2) and forward encryption (DH3 and DH4), a key derivation function, or KDF, which is similar to a hash function.

The Safest Chat Application

On the respective client devices, SK = KDF (DH1 || DH2 || DH4) generates a master secret key that can now be used to encrypt and decrypt Alice and Bob’s messages. To prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, identity keys are mathematically combined using a hash function into a secure code that resides only on the sender’s and receiver’s respective nodes. This can be in the form of a QR code or a fingerprint scanner.

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What is Forward Privacy? This ensures that no third party can access future messages even if they have access to the key. We will discuss this in detail in the next algorithm.

Why is it double swelling? We have achieved end-to-end encryption using X3DH, forward secrecy and mutual authentication in As3hron communication. Now, does the alarm protocol need another mechanism? Attacks if the user is offline

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