Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Hushmail is a free webmail service which offers PGP-encrypted email, file storage, vanity domain service, and an instant messenger (Hush Messenger). It was founded in May 1999 by Hush Communications (based in Dublin, Ireland). Hush Communications was founded in November 1998.
As with any system, Hushmail is not completely secure. For example, keystroke logging could capture an unwary user's passphrase, or a user may accidentally or intentionally send sensitive information as cleartext, which is to say unencrypted. By default, mail is sent as cleartext to non-Hush users (who may not have public keys). Nevertheless, once a public encryption key is known to its server, Hushmail can convey authenticated, encrypted messages in both directions.
Users must trust, to a certain extent, that Hush's equipment or software are in honest hands, and always have been. Nevertheless, the design of the software, which is largely open for inspection, removes some of this need for trust. For example, barring unknown security holes, the Hush user's private encryption keys are not normally available to the operators of Hush's equipment.
Another possible threat would be demands from Ireland's legal system to reveal the content of traffic through the system. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the RIP Act requires that users supply the keys used for encrypted material on demand. Should Ireland adopt a similar statute, this vulnerabilty might develop for Hushmail.
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