MGT Capital Investments announced in a press release today that their bitcoin mining operation has reached full phase one production. The company is being run by John McAfee and is poised to launch a new suite of cybersecurity products.
I reached out to the company’s CTO, Eric Anderson (Eijah), founder of Demonsaw, just to get a glimpse at what’s on the horizon. Demonsaw is a new encrypted information sharing application on a mesh based network that uses routers. This software has the potential to solve many of the privacy and security gaps within our current channels of communication.
What are the current problems regarding torrents, VPNs, Tor and peer-to-peer networks?
Eijah: There are 4 main problems with these technologies:
1) P2P – Our IP addresses should never be known to other clients on a given network. It’s too easy to honeypot/hack/etc if we expose our IP addresses. This is the reason for all the DMCA takedown notices right now. The underlying architecture of the Internet is a decentralized and stateless network, not a P2P one. At DEFCON 22 I spoke about how “Inadequacy breeds innovation”, meaning that the moment we have to slap additional layers of technology on top of another technology (as in the example of using VPN/Proxies with Torrents) we’ve proven the original technology to be no longer adequate for our emerging needs.
2) Logging & Ownership – VPN & Proxy companies say they don’t log, but do we really know for sure? It’s amazing what happens to good-intending individuals when a bit of NSA pressure is applied. The Proxy/VPN companies don’t really care about our privacy, rather they are in the business of making money from our fears & anonymity concerns. We shouldn’t think they won’t do an about-face if they were suddenly faced with USA pressure and/or jail time.
3) There is No Silver Bullet – TOR is a type of “centralized decentralization”, meaning that it is a single focused effort to solve the problem of centralization. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. There is no single solution that fits everybody’s needs. We need choice and network flexibility – TOR doesn’t provide this.
4) Ease of Use – If a technology isn’t user-friendly, it may very well fail even if it’s a good solution (e.g. PGP). We can make high quality, disruptive, and ease-to-use next-generation secure applications that are also ease-to-use. It’s more work, but it can be done by smart people.
How can Demonsaw help solve some of these problems?
Eijah: Demonsaw is designed in a way that mimics the foundation of the Internet, that is routers simply packet-forward data in an agnostic and stateless way. There is no P2P, no centralization, and no network complexity. Demonsaw is really the combination of a decentralized & stateless private VPN & a private Cloud that you totally control. Demonsaw solves the problems above by 2 ways:
1) A flexible and adaptive network topology that allows you to configure your secure & anonymous network however you want. The network has built-in layers of abstraction that require physical & logical separation of clients, messages, and data. This means that you would have to compromise the entire network to compromise any single point. You can use Demonsaw to exchange Top Secret documents over an insecure Starbucks public Wi-Fi with complete security and confidence.
In addition, Demonsaw gives you full control of how to configure your network, where your network is located, and what types of security to use for your network, all without any form of centralization. Having direct control of every endpoint in your network is a very important part of establishing a network of trust for secure, anonymous & private communications and sharing.
2) Demonsaw is a Social Network application, or more precisely it’s a Social Network Infrastructure. Social Networks allow large groups of people to come together quickly and dynamically at a moment’s notice. To do this in a decentralized way, we need a new approach to security. Demonsaw removes centralization from security. There are no “authorities” in a Demonsaw network, except the clients themselves.
No key stores and no Certificate Authorities means that we can use more symmetric encryption (rather than slower asymmetric encryption) to wrap our data in multiple layers of security to fit our individual needs. Clients use previously established knowledge from which to derive very strong encryption keys. Think of that scene in Hackers (the movie) when the Phantom Phreak is being hauled off by the FBI. He turns around and yells at Acid Burn, “It’s in that place where I put that thing that time.” To both of them, the location is obvious – it’s located behind the condom dispenser in the High School boy’s bathroom. The Feds, however, are clueless because they lack the social context from which to derive similar encryption keys.
Can mesh networks be used as a decentralized alternative to the internet? Are there any limitations?
Eijah: Absolutely they can. There are no limitations from a pure architectural standpoint, but there are some specific limitations depending upon the implementation details. To explain this, we need to break down what a mesh network really is.
1) A mesh network at its core is really just a graph (the computer science definition of graph, basically a tree with the possibility of recursive relationships) of individual nodes that connect one another in some specific way. This is an architecture that can definitely scale and replace the more traditional Internet model of ISPs and centralized “hub-like” network architecture.
2) Mesh Networks are also used to describe the future-facing replacement of the Internet backbone, basically removing the ISPs and companies from the equation and creating a new Internet where all devices are interconnected without the aid of high-speed corporate backbones. We are still a ways off from this being a possibility. There are speed, cost, and scalability concerns with this type of Internet right now. But in the future, things will be different. As hardware evolves we will have better battery life on our IoT devices, cell phones, laptops, etc that will allow us to be more permanently connected, and more importantly aid in the transfer/relay of other people’s data.
Are you concerned about any government push back?
Eijah: I am not at all concerned about government push back. Demonsaw is a privacy, not a piracy, application. I am a patriot and a US citizen and I love my country. By let’s face it, our elected officials have failed us. And not only that, our governments are staffed by morons, technically incompetent people who are making decisions for things they don’t even remotely understand. We the People are the powerful ones and it’s time that we flex our muscles. One person can, does, and will change the world. Imagine what 100 of us are doing right now. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Together we are the change for the next generation of society.
Tell us a bit about the enterprise version of Clearskies. I run a professional trading room, will it offer features like group chat and the ability to do presentations to a group with a mic and screen sharing?
Eijah: Group chat is already supported in Demonsaw, so it will also be supported in Clearskies. A lot of the details surrounding Clearskies is still being kept quiet right now, but here’s what I can tell you.
1) Clearskies is powered by Demonsaw
2) Clearskies is being designed with router federation at its code. Router federation allows networks to co-exist and appear to be single monolithic networks (public and private groups). This not only increases the reach of the technology but it provides redundancy, fault tolerance, and many performance enhancements. Basically you won’t be able to shut down a given network.
3) Clearskies is being built with a phased-approach in mind. We have a very aggressive and fast release timeline planned. You will see many new versions be released within mere months of each other. This is the modern way to do software development (Google Chrome, Firefox, etc).
4) Clearskies will support file sync, VOIP (audio & video chat), customized TOR-like networks (multi-headed hydra exit points), SOCKS5 proxy (to secure email, web browsing and other insecure legacy protocols), file sharing, chat, private messaging, etc. Screen sharing is on the roadmap as well. 😉
5) The first version of Clearskies will be released Spring 2017
6) Clearskies and Demonsaw are both powered by the same code, meaning that features from Clearskies will be ported to Demonsaw 4.0 and beyond.
What’s the main difference between Sentinel and running a traditional anti-virus?
Eijah: Sentinel is a proactive network monitoring device that plugs in to your existing network and real-time monitors and alerts you of any malicious activity. Sentinel works by real-time detecting any possible bad things happening, and alerting you as they occur, and not after the fact. Anti-Virus is a reactionary technology that can only do something after you have acquired a virus. Technology should be smart enough to prevent the bad guys from getting in, rather than tell us (weeks afterwards) that we’ve been compromised.
Are there ways that Demonsaw can help enhance personal security when using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin?
Eijah: Yes. We are actively working on such a solution now, although I can’t go into detail about it yet. Suffice it to say, it’s innovation, revolutionary, and based on the demonsaw infrastructure.
MGT has a massive bitcoin mining farm, are there plans to integrate your technology with the blockchain industry? If so can you tell us how that would work?
Eijah: Yes. Unfortunately, I can’t go into detail about demonsaw/Clearskies technology integration with blockchain & coin at this time. Very soon we will be releasing information about what’s in store in this area.