Encrypted voice calls and secure chat with Silentel

Silentel is a scalable suite for secure communications, it can be used in mobile devices and desktop computers. The program provides a software based solution to protect your voice calls, secure chat, file transfer and text messages from wire tapping

Data is secured with end to end encryption, there is a central server redirecting traffic to the intended receiver but everything is encrypted on the client site, it is not possible for a third party to access plain text on the server, there isn’t any text to find, only metadata would be visible to a rogue observer, like timestamps and who is communicating with who. Metadata information that is hidden from your mobile network operator, Silentel protects you from well known spy agencies backdoors on mobile networks.

Encrypted mobile VoIP Silentel
Encrypted mobile VoIP Silentel

Data transmission is secured with public key encryption managed by Silentel in the hosted plan (enterprises can have their own infrastructure), voice calls are authenticated with the RSA algorithm and encrypted with AES256-bit one time keys. Phone calls employ a unique key that is never reused and destroyed as soon as somebody hangs up, this guarantees that if one of the keys falls in the wrong hands it won’t be of use to decrypt more than a single call. SMS text messages will also be encrypted and they can be set with an expiration date after which the message is wiped.

This is a very simple to use secure voice calling software, once you have it installed you should add contacts of other people who are also Silentel users, when you want to place an encrypted call or establish a secure chat select the person from your contact list and choose “Make a call” from the menu, Silentel will automatically create the ephemeral encryption keys, and once the call has finished it will delete those keys. Text messages, files and contacts are not kept in your smartphone, if you lose the phone you will not have to worry about anybody finding them

This product can be used by individuals, corporations and governments, Silentel is included in NATO Information Assurance Products Catalogue and it has a NATO confidential certification as well as a National Security Authority and Ministry of Defence certificates of the Slovak Republic.

Silentel encrypted call
Silentel encrypted call

This product is not cheap but the kind of customer they are targeting, government employees and CEOs will risk much more by placing insecure calls and sending plain text messages containing trade secrets or compromising details. Furthermore, if you are on Wifi, Silentel calls will be free and you won’t have to pay any charges for placing them.

Silentel security model is satisfying and the security certificates they hold are reassuring, not being a USA company is of great advantage to avoid invasive NSA spying orders, that is perhaps one of the main reasons to choose them over similar services like Silent Circle. I did not like that there is no Linux or Mac version of their software but on the mobile front they cover iPhone, Windows and Android devices.

Just remember that the receiver will have to be using the same software to be able to communicate securely, that is perhaps the hardest part, to convince colleagues of the need to secure against spying but once you achieve that, the learning curve for Silentel is very very low, if you know how to use a smartphone, you will know how to use Silentel out of the box.

Visit Silentel homepage

Offshore encrypted email,VoIP, IM and forum with Unseen.is

Unseen.is is a private communications service providing a single web based solution to encrypt email, files, instant messenger and discussion boards. They would like to replace insecure social networks like Facebook and Twitter and take over from email providers with a NSA backdoor like Gmail or Yahoo. The company is hosting the data in Iceland to make it harder for the US government to serve them with a wire tapping order.

Unseen.is implements its own encryption method, claiming that it avoids any possible compromise of the AES cipher or RSA keys by the NSA. Unseen.is premium plan secures data with a One Time Pad algorithm, where the password does not repeat itself and each message is encrypted individually with its own key, hence, even a compromise of the password would only be useful to decrypt a single message and not all communications.

Encrypted email and online forum Unseen.is
Encrypted email and online forum Unseen.is

The free plan is enough for medium level security. The main difference in between the free and paid for account is that in premium you get to keep the encryption keys yourself and do not have to trust the company with the power to be able to decrypt data. When you are in control of the encryption keys, even if someone hits Unseen.is CEO with a hammer he would still be unable to decrypt your messages.

The signing up process is simple, only requiring an existing email address and choosing a nickname. Email interface appears to be a customized version of RoundCube, on top of encrypting messages in between Unseen.is users, data does not leave local server so it should not be intercepted by any government agency data mining fibre optic cables.

Sending an email message outside Unseen.is will not be received encrypted but TLSv1 with cipher ADH-AES256-SHA (256/256 bits) is used for transmission and your computer IP is hidden in the email headers replacing it with localhost IP (127.0.0.1). Outgoing emails are also scanned for viruses. Alternatively, the site has instructions on how to configure your own email client for IMAP and you won’t have to use webmail.

I liked that the discussion boards in Unseen.is can be set to private or public for easy discovery, you can join open forums like “Patriots of America” or another one called “Computer Privacy”, besides creating your own encrypted online forum where only those with moderator approval can take part.

Encrypted online forum Unseen.is
Encrypted online forum Unseen.is

Unseen.is and Silent Circle are the only services I am aware of where every day communications (i.e. email, voice and IM) are unified in a single interface. I think that it is a great idea, nobody wants to use a dozen different services for daily activities.

My only complaints about Unseen.is are that payment options are limited to Paypal and credit card. It would be nice of them to add Bitcoin or something more anonymous. And a much bigger complaint I have is that Unseen.is terms and conditions mention a long list of reasons by which your account could be terminated, including using the service to send material that is “hateful, vulgar, obscene”, very ambiguous words that could mean anything the company wants them to mean.

I does not look like Unseen.is terms and conditions allow for the debate of controversial ideas, it could be highly problematic for a group of people to find that Unseen.is closes down their group, with the consequent waste of time.

Another concern about this service is that the encryption they are using has not been widely reviewed and you have to blindly trust their security model at face value, the least Unseen.is could do to reassure customers is to open source part of the code.

This is a very easy way to secure your data,just a pity that they do not have free speech terms and conditions to match their offering, they could also improve it by adding an emergency option to delete the account and all data.

Visit Unseen.is homepage