Overview

Welcome to the Cwtch Secure Development Handbook. The purpose of this handbook is to provide a guide to the various components of the Cwtch ecosystem, to document the known risks and mitigations, and to enable discussion about improvements and updates to Cwtch secure development processes.

History

In recent years, public awareness of the need and benefits of end-to-end encrypted solutions has increased with applications like Signal, Whatsapp and Wire now providing users with secure communications.

However, these tools require various levels of metadata exposure to function, and much of this metadata can be used to gain details about how and why a person is using a tool to communicate. [rottermanner2015privacy].

One tool that does seek to reduce metadata is Ricochet first released in 2014. Ricochet uses Tor onion services to provide secure end-to-end encrypted communication, and to protect the metadata of communications.

There are no centralized servers that assist in routing Ricochet conversations. No one other than the parties involved in a conversation can know that such a conversation is taking place.

Ricochet isn't without limitations; there is no multi-device support, nor is there a mechanism for supporting group communication or for a user to send messages while a contact is offline.

This makes adoption of Ricochet a difficult proposition; with even those in environments that would be served best by metadata resistance unaware that it exists [ermoshina2017can] [renaud2014doesn].