BITTORRENT has certainly not been resting on its laurels with a second major announcement of the week. Following on from the major overhaul to its mobile services earlier this week, the firm has now revealed a significant move forward in its Bit Torrent Bleep messaging service.
The peer-to-peer service is designed to rival Google Hangouts and Skype, and avoids centralised servers which already makes it significantly more private. But the company has now been showing off its state-of-the-art techniques to overcome the challenges of forwarding messages anonymously.
Messages in the original Bleep were simply encrypted, but a man-in-the-middle attacks could retrieve them if the key was compromised. Now, however, the company is moving on to a system of ephemeral keys, which are used once and then discarded.
The Distributed Hash Table (DHT) which Bleep uses can handle these, even if one participant is offline. And when both are online, each time an ephemeral key is retrieved it is ditched and replaced by an updated one, creating a constantly evolving encryption that's impossible to crack.
There is, however, a major caveat to all this. If a user is offline, messages caught in a queue can't be processed without some of them being chewed up because of the number of ephemeral keys involved. As such, messages that pile up on the DHT don't have the same level of security because they have to use the same key to avoid becoming obsolete and indecipherable.
Nevertheless, what BitTorrent has achieved is, it believes, entirely unique and a huge step in the holy grail of completely anonymous messaging.
Bleep forms part of a suite from the company, which has fought over the past few years to show people the benefits of BitTorrent beyond piracy. Other products include the aforementioned Bit Torrent Sync, which allows users to share entire folders and even drives peer-to-peer, avoiding the cloud.