OpenPGP.js and GopenPGP are easier to test with other encryption suites

An image of ProtonMail's open source encryption libraries.

As part of our mission to make security, privacy, and freedom accessible to all, we maintain two open source cryptography libraries that make it easier for developers to apply strong encryption in their projects. We have been the maintainers of OpenPGP.js since 2016 and GopenPGP since 2019, meaning we are responsible for ensuring these repositories are up-to-date, secure, and accessible.

It is also important that these encryption systems are interoperable — i.e., that they can interact with other cryptographic libraries. The more interoperable libraries are, the more widely they can be used.

That’s why today we’re pleased to announce that we integrated our cryptography libraries into the OpenPGP interoperability test suite. This suite, maintained by the Sequoia PGP team, makes it easier and faster to run compatibility tests between different open source encryption libraries and share the results of those tests. Developers can use this suite to ensure their encrypted apps are compatible with encrypted services that use different implementations of OpenPGP.

Improved testing with other OpenPGP implementations

This portion is rather technical; however, the important thing to take away is that our encryption team added a specific interface that is shared between different types of OpenPGP software. Even if these other OpenPGP implementations are written in different programming languages, this shared command-line interface lets developers test them together.

To integrate our libraries into the test suite, we implemented the Stateless OpenPGP (“sop”) command line interface for OpenPGP.js (sop-openpgp-js, expanding on the work by Sequoia) and GopenPGP (gosop). We released both implementations under open source licenses.

The standardized “sop” interface provides a common ground for testing the compatibility between OpenPGP implementations written in several languages, such as Rust, Python, and C++. The results of these tests show that there is good interoperability between OpenPGP.js, GopenPGP, and the other tested libraries, with widespread support for strong cipher suites, elliptic-curve cryptography, and authenticated ciphers. This analysis exposed a few minor interoperability bugs as well, which we have since fixed.

Why Proton loves open source

We are big advocates for open source. As physicists and scientists, we appreciate that open source forces you to “show your work.” That is why we made all user-facing Proton apps, both for ProtonMail and ProtonVPN, open source and have published all the results of third-party security audits. By taking these steps, any security researcher can verify our code.

We also believe in decentralization and open collaboration, which open source fosters. We have even worked with members of the Proton community on our Linux command line tool for ProtonVPN

Adding our libraries to the interoperability test suite is a great initiative to drive the OpenPGP protocol forward. It is now even easier for other privacy-focused software and app developers to incorporate strong encryption into their projects. The more apps that are encrypted, the more private data will be protected.

You can get a free secure email account from ProtonMail here.

We also provide a free VPN service to protect your privacy.ProtonMail and ProtonVPN are funded by community contributions. If you would like to support our development efforts, you can upgrade to a paid plan. Thank you for your support.

About the Author

Admin

We are scientists, engineers, and developers drawn together by a shared vision of protecting civil liberties online. Ensuring online privacy and security are core values for the ProtonMail team, and we strive daily to protect your rights online.

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2 comments on “OpenPGP.js and GopenPGP are easier to test with other encryption suites

  • Not sure whether my question is completely on topic, but it was triggered by this article: would it be a a suggestion to include an option encryption feature in the protonbridge, so one can send encrypted mails via the (outlook/apple/…) email client?

    Reply
    • The best way to send encrypted emails is for the sender and recipient to both be using a ProtonMail account. With ProtonMail Bridge, the emails will be encrypted regardless of the client you use.

      Reply