June 21, 2013

Not Knowing What Else To Do, I Baked A Cake

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In the wake of the 9/11 tragedy the Onion posted an article entitled Not Knowing What Else To Do, Woman Bakes American Flag Cake.  With all of the recent press about the NSA’s programs to gather information on American citizens without warrants, I found myself thinking about that article.  I’m not a very particularly political person and not really interested in making political statements but I found myself wishing there was something I could do.  So I baked a cake, so to speak.

The cake, in my particular case, is actually a WordPress contact form plugin that securely encrypts the messages using PGP/GPG public key encryption.

The plugin is called SimpleSecure.  It’s a fairly basic form processor but what I’d consider to be special about it is that GPG is implemented entirely in pure PHP code.  This means that no binary versions of PGP/GPG are needed on the server.  Nearly any other form processor with GPG support does so by making shell calls to an executable installed on the server.  This tends to make installation difficult and even impossible on some hosting environments.  With this plugin you can send encrypted messages from any server that supports PHP.

Releasing this plugin feels like somewhat of an insignificant and meaningless gesture on my part.  But, it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time and hopefully it will be useful to those who take their privacy seriously.

Download SimpleSecure for WordPress

3 Comments on “Not Knowing What Else To Do, I Baked A Cake

Nivatius
December 30, 2013 at 9:35 am

where does the cryptocode come from?
is it peer-reviewed?
I’m very much interested in offering a pgp encrypted contact form

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Jason
January 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm

I contracted an individual developer to do the initial port from C to PHP several years ago. I have been tweaking and maintaining the code since then. There is no official peer review as far as I know. I’d encourage and appreciate anybody who would like to review the code though. The cryptographic and binary operations are somewhat complicated, but the code as a whole is pretty simple.

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Jason
January 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm

oh by the way the, I released the crypto library used by simplesecure as open source and it can be found here: https://github.com/jasonhinkle/php-gpg

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