VNCtalk now offers end-to-end encryption for utmost privacy and secrecy in your communication. To achieve this high level of security, we integrated OMEMO in VNCtalk. Encryption can be turned on and off, according to the organization’s requirements and necessities.
First things first: OMEMO means „OMEMO Multi-End Message and Object Encryption“. It is an encryption protocol, based on open standards and allows the secure synchronization of messages and objects (like images and other files) across multiple clients.
Before we go deeper into the topic, we‘d like to share some thoughts about the current situation in many companies.
Digitalization has made a giant leap!
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced even traditional companies to embrace working from home and virtual collaboration. Actually, many organizations introduced new collaboration software and new workflows “over night”. This often happened unplanned and at very short notice, as everyone had to keep teams connected and provide a necessary level of communication and collaboration to stay productive.
This worked fine for short term, as many organizations did not have time for extensive evaluations and were caught cold by completely new conditions of cooperation. But now it‘s time to shift the focus.
It‘s essential to avoid new dependencies, to make sure to stay flexible in the long run and to look for scalable, open and secure software for collaboration. There are several great video conferencing and messenger solutions on the market. We already shared a statement of the OSB Alliance on videoconferencing solutions in our blog post „Overcoming distances digitally sovereign“
One of the main points of the statement:
So when you are selecting a messenger and video conferencing tool for organizations, security has to be one of the most important factors. Keep your valuable internal data safe. Prevent data leakage. Therefore software vendors and service providers must ensure that clients’ data is well protected. This is important for private use but even more in any business environment, especially when dealing with sensitive data.
The example of Zoom has shown that with proprietary software you can hardly verify statements regarding security features. This is another reason why the use of open source software is crucial for trustworthy communication! Only open source code guarantees auditability and control by enabling risk detection and containment – if necessary independently from the vendor.
(Source: OSB Alliance https://osb-alliance.de/featured/digital-souveraen-distanzen-ueberwinden)
So, the tough question is (and some of you might not like to read this or might not want to answer this question):
Do you believe your business messenger / video conferencing solution keeps your confidential data secure?
Do you REALLY know who might have or get access, even if data is encrypted end to end? Decisions for certain videoconferencing tools in the past months, like for example Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Slack, Zoom or even WhatsApp, were made quickly and only had ONE thing in focus:
Keep the business running despite a severe crisis.
But now you really should take the time to check whether the confidential data your team members share via chat, group chat or in videoconferences is really safe.
How secure is VNCtalk?
VNCtalk was developed as an open, innovative and highly flexible chat and video conferencing software for organizations, based on best-of-class open source platforms and technologies. VNCtalk enables secure and efficient communication via chat and video conferencing and helps you to keep control of your data without sacrificing extensive features, high quality and great usability. VNCtalk can be hosted in the datacenter of your choice or on premise within your own IT infrastructure.
VNC decided to add another layer of security and implemented OMEMO encryption for VNCtalk. OMEMO means „OMEMO Multi-End Message and Object Encryption“ and provides several advantages in comparison to OTP encryption. For example, it also works when one of the recipients is offline. The main advantage over other XMPP solutions like OTR and OpenPGP: OMEMO supports both: group chats and multiple devices.
How does OMEMO work in VNCtalk?
Each device has it’s own private key. The keys are not shared between different devices. Each device additionally has a public key, which is exchanged between devices. Once the exchange is done, a new, temporary “shared” key is generated from public and private key of both devices. The shared key is then used in the encryption / decryption flow. The public keys confirm the authenticity of the shared key. Every message is encrypted with a new derived key. Advantage: If a third party is able to hack a single message, this does not mean that it will be possible to decrypt other messages as well.
Additionally, OMEMO treats other devices of the current user in the same way as devices of different users. So the general approach is to maintain separate encrypted sessions with each device of each contact (as well as with each of your other devices).
The key points of OMEMO encryption are:
- The devices of both (or more) parties each have public and a private key(s).
- The public key is shared to the other party, the private key is not.
- Once the public keys are exchanged, a new, temporary “shared” key is generated based upon public keys and private keys of both (or more) devices.
- The shared key is used in the encryption / decryption flow.
- The public key confirms the authenticity of the shared key.
- Double encryption is used.
- The option to enable encryption for users can be turned on and off, according to the organization’s requirements and legal necessities.
- Secure message synchronization: Chats, group chats and multiple devices are supported.
- Enables offline delivery
- OMEMO uses the Double Ratchet Algorithm.
There is a good explanation video about the OMEMO workflow on Twitter, watch it here.
The combination of OMEMO encryption, transparent best-of-class open source components (no hidden blackboxes) and the possibility to determine the location and type of hosting is the reason why VNCtalk is one of the most secure messengers and video conferencing products on the market.
VNCtalk can be hosted either in your own datacenter, within your own IT infrastructure or in the (certified) data center of your choice. It is a powerful tool for fast and efficient communication via chat and live conferencing which sets highest priority on security without compromising on usability.
VNCtalk – efficient, secure, scalable, flexible.
VNCtalk is available as a full featured web client in your browser, as a desktop client (Windows, Mac, Linux) and as a VNCtalk app (Android and iOS). All these versions work with the same backend.
Detailed information about VNCtalk, further technical details, visual materials and the VNCtalk explanation video can be found on our VNClagoon Website, in our Release Notes, and in our VNCtalk Manual.
Interested in other aspects of business messaging and videoconferencing software? Please also read our latest blog posts:
Excellent online conferences with VNCtalk 2.6.1
Successful virtual collaboration – Our tips for video conferencing
Virtual collaboration – Part One: Successful virtual meetings
Efficient virtual collaboration: VNCtalk – New version 2.3.0
VNClagoon Apps – Efficient collaboration when working from home
VNCtalk is part of our VNClagoon Business Software Stack