Chelsea Manning Joins Bitcoin-Based Privacy Startup Nym as Security Consultant

UTC by Mercy Tukiya Mutanya · 3 min read
Chelsea Manning Joins Bitcoin-Based Privacy Startup Nym as Security Consultant
Photo: Media Convention Berlin / Flickr

With a team of other security auditors, Manning will work to fortify Nym against surveillance by discovering new privacy leaks.

Bitcoin-based decentralized privacy provider Nym announced that former US soldier, security engineer and whistleblower Chelsea Manning had joined the company to help them audit their code to prevent mass surveillance. Nym is an open-source, permissionless and incentivized system that allows developers to make applications that can assure users of protection against metadata surveillance. This privacy is assured at both network traffic level and authentication and payments level.

Manning was incarcerated for information about US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that implicated the army in misconduct. She was later pardoned by President Obama. She is now highly-regarded security and privacy engineer who knows from experience the importance of security auditing in software.

Chelsea Manning states:

“As methods for network traffic analysis have dramatically improved in the last decade, I have frequently called for research (since 2016) into alternative methods to Tor that avoid exposing the data within the network to such analysis. Nym is one such viable alternative worthy of research, and developmental implementation.”

Cryptography and privacy experts Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau in their book “Privacy on the Line” point out that it is ‘traffic analysis, not cryptanalysis, that is the backbone of communications intelligence’. Presently, a great number of security audits focus too much attention on cryptographic bugs when they should instead be preparing for traffic analysis attacks. These kinds of attacks are precisely what Nym is working to prevent. So, it can be expected that Manning’s work with the company will focus on this. She will be auditing Nym’s mixnet (mix network). The purpose of a mixnet is to conceal metadata left in a network after processing of data. This increases privacy and helps prevent network-level surveillance.

Harry Halpin, CEO of Nym, explained:

“While trusting software with their money is one thing people are learning to do with Bitcoin and DeFi, brave whistleblowers and revolutionaries like Chelsea Manning have to trust software with their lives. So rather than ‘YOLO’ and launch as only to wreck their users, we’re working with the best people alive to keep our users safe and secure. While all software has bugs, people that launch software that endangers their users or doesn’t even work are scammers that could even have blood on their hands.”

With a team of other security auditors, Chelsea Manning will, during the coming months, work to fortify Nym against surveillance by discovering new privacy leaks and setting parameters for cover traffic or “fake traffic”. The purpose of fake traffic is to confuse a potential threat.

The demand for user privacy has greatly increased in recent years. This is evident in the increase in apps and services aimed at securing user data. We have seen an increase in the use of “encrypted” messaging apps like Telegram and Signal and browsers like Brave.

Bitcoin News, Blockchain News, Cryptocurrency News, Cybersecurity News, News
Related Articles