Criptext Launches World’s Most Private Encrypted Email Service: Interview with Mayer Mizrachi, CEO of Criptext.
Criptext is a unique email platform with encryption that is based on the open source Signal Protocol library. Mayer Mizrachi is the company’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer. Mayer will be discussing the prospects that are made available by Criptext with us in this interview as the company prepares to launch the beta version of its app, which will provide users with a safe and confidential means of communication.
1) How are you doing, Mayer?
Could you kindly tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m simply another person in Startupland that wants to leave their mark on the world. I was reared in Panama by Jamaican parents who are of Jewish origin. Both of my parents were born there. Recent occurrences in my life, during which I was harassed by the government of Panama, inspired me to become active in the field of cybersecurity as well as the world of privacy. I understand what it’s like to have your private space invaded and the feeling of helplessness that follows, which is why I devote much of my time these days to developing businesses that help people maintain their privacy.
2) What exactly is a ciphertext?
Criptext is an email encryption service that is unlike any other on the market today. Not only are we the only email service that utilises the open-source Signal Protocol encryption, but we are also the only email service that does not gather user data on its servers. This sets us apart from the competition. Instead, each individual user’s device is responsible for the storage of all of their data. We don’t simply offer a sense of safety to the table; we also add a sense of control and ownership.
We place a strong emphasis on the simplification and user-friendliness of security and privacy features, and based on the responses we’ve received from customers so far, it appears that our UX and UI design choices have been spot-on. Criptext beta is available for free download on iPhone, Android, macOS, and personal computers.
3) The fact that Criptext was conceived
in a Colombian prison is an interesting detail about the company, and we would like to hear more about this narrative.
Everyone should take away from this saga the knowledge that they should avoid doing business with the governments of Latin American countries. In a nutshell, Criptext made its first sale in 2014, which was an app for private chat that was purchased by the government of Panama. The government then switched hands, and the new administration made the decision to investigate and prosecute all former directors of government agencies, including the former minister of technology. Caught in the crossfire of this political war, they exploited the Criptext contract to prosecute the former minister of technology by alleging that Criptext never delivered on the contract. They did this by claiming that Criptext failed to fulfil its obligations under the contract. They skipped arbitration and civil litigation and proceeded directly for criminal procedures, saying that Criptext helped them steal money from the government and that this was done with the help of Criptext. This was absurd from the outset because we had all the data to indicate that not only did we fulfil our end of the deal, but the other party continued to utilise the programme long after they sued us.
The entire ordeal with the prison was precipitated by Panama’s request for a red notice to be issued by Interpol. Despite having posted my bond, I was unjustly detained in Colombia for six months while I went there for New Year’s in 2015. I was placed in a high security prison among other actual criminals during this time. At the end of 2016, it was found out that Panama had provided fabricated information to Interpol in order to trigger the red notice. A judge has already ordered the case to be closed because there is insufficient evidence to support the prosecution’s claims at this point in time. When we were in prison, we discovered that the government of Colombia had been collecting our lawyer’s email data from the service provider. As a result of this discovery, we had the idea to create a decentralised email service that was also extremely encrypted.
4) What are the most significant security concerns associated with email, and how will your team work to address these concerns?
Email primarily suffers from two problems. The first problem is that there is no encryption. Because Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook, the three most popular email service providers in the world, do not support end-to-end encryption, this means that your data travels uncovered around the internet in the same manner as an SMS text from the year 1999. The fact of the matter is that email is analogous to a text message. It was not constructed with security in mind, nor was it envisaged that it would become the communication medium that is used the most around the world. This absence of encryption makes the data susceptible to being read by anyone who manages to intercept it, including servers that check the content of emails before delivering them to the recipient’s inbox.
The gathering of the data is the second problem. Every single email provider in the world, and I do mean every single one, collects your data and stores it on their servers. Both Proton Mail and Tutanota are examples of encrypted email services that are included here. The issue with this is that the majority of service providers have the capability (and the practise) of scanning the contents of customers’ emails in order to supply them with more relevant advertisements. Another issue is that the data should be considered their property. Anything that is stored on their servers is considered to be their property. This indicates that if a government agency wants the information of a particular user, the corporation can and will deliver it to the authorities, just as it occurred to us in Colombia. The most upsetting part is that you won’t even find out if it happened because the corporation isn’t obligated to report to you even if they do something wrong.
5) If you could, could you provide us with a structural breakdown of how sending and receiving emails with Criptext works?
Emails are classified into one of two categories by Criptext: encrypted emails and non-encrypted emails. It is essential to keep in mind that you can send an email to any recipient using Criptext; in other words, the recipients do not need to have Criptext for you to be able to connect with them.
Sending an encrypted email to a recipient who also uses the @cryptext.com domain is as easy as it gets. Sending this message is exactly the same as sending any other email. In point of fact, the fact that it is hyper-encrypted is completely invisible to you. Before you may send an email to a recipient with a non-cryptext email address, you will need to provide the recipient with a passphrase first. You then provide this passcode to the receiver so that they can use any email client of their choosing to decrypt the email on their end.
Now that we have anticipated the need to send regular emails that are not encrypted, we have designed our system so that when a user emails a non-Criptext email address, the user has the option to turn off encryption for those recipients, and the email is sent normally, just like it would be with Gmail. This means that a) the messages you send through email are not encrypted, but b) the recipients of your messages do not have to go through any hoops in order to access them. This comes in very handy when responding to a question regarding customer service or something along those lines.
6) All of your codes are available to the public for free; could you elaborate on this and the benefits it offers?
It is true that Criptext does not restrict access to its source code in any manner; this was done on purpose for two primary reasons.
1. Openness: ultimately, trust is Criptext’s primary value proposition, and rather than urging people to unquestioningly believe what we’re saying, we encourage them to verify what we’re saying for themselves. We believe that trust is not something that you should ask for, but rather something that you should earn, and we believe that by being entirely honest, as a new participant in the market, we are one step closer to earning the trust of people.
2. Collaboration: privacy is not a problem with Criptext; it is a problem with the world, and there are many people who are passionate about protecting their privacy and who would support our cause to make email a safer and more secure medium. Criptext gives programmers all over the world the opportunity to participate in the development process and to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. All our code is available via https://github.com/criptext
7) We could tell that Criptext is supported by a powerful and talented group of people; could you kindly tell us more about your team?
Our headquarters can be found in both New York and Ecuador. Not only does our team include entirely of people from Latin America, but its members all have impressive levels of talent. Since Latin America has traditionally been recognised for its export of bananas rather than technology, this is a significant point of pride for the region. Our group is the product of a significant shift that is taking place across the entirety of the Latin American area, in which governments are making significant investments in the field of computer science education. Since the beginning of the year, the size of the team has increased by a factor of two, and given the rate at which we are expanding, we anticipate reaching a factor of four by the end of the year.
8) Does the Criptext company benefit from any strategic alliances that boost its operations?
To be honest, no. The only strategic alliance we have is with the government of Panama, which, by persecuting our company, has provided us with the most positive public relations (PR) that any new company could only hope for (lol).
9) How are you planning on obtaining finance for the Criptext project, and do you have any chances for potential investors?
Criptext is supported solely by individual donations. No ICO, no gimmicks. In November, we held a fundraising event that brought in $600,000, which we have prudently put toward developing Criptext into what it is today. Because we keep our burn rate very low, we do not have an imminent requirement for additional money. In spite of this, we are planning to submit an application for series A funding by the end of October.
10) Criptext is available on a variety of devices; could you please explain why this is essential and provide further information on how to obtain it?
Because it is encrypted, Criptext communicates in its own language, which makes it incomprehensible to other email clients. Criptext is able to comprehend them, but they are unable to comprehend Criptext. Users of Criptext are required to download our apps for iPhone, Android, Mac, and PC in order to utilise the service. You can get it by going to criptext.com/dl and downloading it.