Calls: Send in your ideas. Deadline February 1st, 2022.

NGI Assure

Projects that make security and trustworthiness easier

This page contains a concise overview of projects funded by NLnet foundation that belong to NGI Assure (see the thematic index). There is more information available on each of the projects listed on this page - all you need to do is click on the title or the link at the bottom of the section on each project to read more. If a description on this page is a bit technical and terse, don't despair — the dedicated page will have a more user-friendly description that should be intelligible for 'normal' people as well. If you cannot find a specific project you are looking for, please check the alphabetic index or just search for it (or search for a specific keyword).

NGI Assure is an ambitious grant programme which is part of the Next Generation Internet initiative, which as part of a larger vision focuses on technological building blocks that provide different types of strong assurances and decentralisation to users of the internet. This can be through public key infrastructures, through a web of trust, a distributed ledger or through trustworthy and fast hardware implementations of important cryptographic primitives.

The projects are typically work in progress, but since they are all free and open source software: feel free to check them out and use whatever you find in whatever way you need - everything is openly licensed so you can study, use, modify and share them. And if you think your own idea fits in here, why not propose a project yourself - we are still looking for great ideas!

NGI Assure was established with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 957073.

Applications are still open, you can apply today.

Atomic Data — Typesafe handling of LinkedData

Atomic Data is a modular specification for sharing, modifying and modeling graph data. It uses links to connect pieces of data, and therefore makes it easier to connect datasets to each other - even when these datasets exist on separate machines. Atomic Data is especially suitable for knowledge graphs, distributed datasets, semantic data, p2p applications, decentralized apps and linked open data. It is designed to be highly extensible, easy to use, and to make the process of domain specific standardization as simple as possible. It is type-safe linked data (a strict subset of RDF), which is also fully compatible with regular JSON. In this project, we'll work on the MIT licensed atomic-server and atomic-data-browser, which are a graph database server and a modular web-gui that enable users to model, share and edit atomic data. We'll add functionality, improve stability and testing, improve documentation and create materials that help developers to get started.

>> Read more about Atomic Data

Blink Qt Messaging — Add modern encryption to SIP softphone

Blink is a mature open source real-time communication application that can be used on different operating systems, based on the IETF SIP standard. It offers audio, video, instant messaging and desktop sharing. This project will extend its capability to support end-to-end asynchronous messaging and end-to-end encription that works both online (OTR) and offline (OpenPGP). Additional features to be developed include end-to-end delivery and read notifications, and a searchable history database.

>> Read more about Blink Qt Messaging

Libre-SOC Cavatools: Power ISA Simulator — Power ISA Simulator

Cavatools is a high performance ISA simulator, similar to qemu. However unlike qemu, cavatools is designed with two goals in mind: to provide accurate guidance on instruction effectiveness, and to run at close to real-time performance on multi-core host systems.

The only hardware that cavatools currently supports is cycle-accurate emulation of RISC-V: this Grant is intended to add not only the Power ISA but also add the Draft SVP64 Cray-style Vector Extensions being developed by Libre-SOC (and sponsored by NLnet). Other work includes being able to verify and compare multiple independent implementations, running the same program, to check interoperability, whether in emulators, hardware simulations, simulators or actual ASICs.

>> Read more about Libre-SOC Cavatools: Power ISA Simulator

CryptPad Auth — Implement external identity mechanisms to E2EE collaborative editor

CryptPad is a real-time collaboration environment that encrypts all user-generated content in users' browsers, making it illegible to the host of the service. In this project we'll develop optional extensions to the platform to provide additional layers of protection for such data by pursuing two broad strategies in parallel. For the first, we'll take a top-down approach to security through integration with identity provider services like LDAP or SSO, allowing organizations to apply centrally managed access control policies. For the second, more bottom-up approach, we'll offer tighter control of user accounts through various secondary authentication methods like app-based TOTP or email "magic-links". These new features will provide more choices for the protection of data stored in CryptPad, while also making the platform more approachable for conventional organizations by leveraging their existing points of trusted infrastructure.

>> Read more about CryptPad Auth

Encoding for Robust Immutable Storage (ERIS) — Encrypted and content-addressable data blocks

The Encoding for Robust Immutable Storage (ERIS) is an encoding of content into a set of uniformly sized, encrypted and content-addressed blocks as well as a short identifier (a URN). The content can be reassembled from the encrypted blocks only with this identifier (the read capability). ERIS is a form of content-addressing. The identifier of some encoded content depends on the content itself and is independent of the physical location of where the content is stored (unlike content addressed by URLs). This enables content to be replicated and cached, making systems relying on the content more robust.

Unlike other forms of content-addressing (e.g. IPFS), ERIS encrypts content into uniformly sized blocks for storage and transport. This allows peers without access to the read capability to transport and cache content without being able to read the content. ERIS is defined independent of any specific protocol or application and decouples content from transport and storage layers.

The project will release version 1.0.0 after handling feedback from security audit, provide implementations in popular languages to facilitate wider usage (e.g. C library, JS library on NPM), perform a number of core integrations into various transport and storage layers (e.g. GNUNet, HTTP, CoAP, S3), and deliver Block Storage Management (quotas, garbage collection and synchronization for caching peers).

>> Read more about Encoding for Robust Immutable Storage (ERIS)

Earthstar — P2P protocol and APIs for collaborative and social applications

Your data is stuff you care about. But a lot of the time, you only get to interact with it in places owned by corporations. It’s a bit like living in someone else's house. One consequence is that you don't get to choose who can see your stuff: malicious actors can follow your activities and harass you, and the owners of the space can record what you do and sell that information on. And because the space isn't yours, you don't get any say over how anything works: features you like can disappear overnight, and your data can be changed or deleted without your consent.

What if you and the people you care about could band together and have your own place for your data to live? Where the only people who see your stuff are people you trust, and no-one is selling your privacy? And where you decide how things works and when it should change?

Earthstar is a pocket-sized toolkit to help users build a place of their own. Easily create user-owned infrastructure that holds the data you care about, in formats which suit your needs, and write your own applications to interact with it — or use ones from the community!

>> Read more about Earthstar

Fobnail — Remote attestation delivered locally

The Fobnail Token is a tiny open-source hardware USB device that provides a means for a user/administrator/enterprise to determine the integrity of a system. To make this determination, Fobnail functions as an attestor capable of validating attestation assertions made by the system. As an independent device, Fobnail provides a high degree of assurance that an infected system cannot influence Fobnail as it inspects the attestations made by the system. Fobnail software is an open-source implementation of the iTurtle security architecture concept presented at HotSec07; in addition, it will leverage industry standards like TCG D-RTM trusted execution environment and IEFT RATS. The Fobnail project aims to provide a reference architecture for building offline integrity measurement servers on the USB device and clients running in Dynamically Launched Measured Environments (DLME). It allows the Fobnail owner to verify the trustworthiness of the running system before performing any sensitive operation. Fobnail does not need an Internet connection what makes it immune to the network stack and remote infrastructure attacks. It brings the power of solid system integrity validation to the individual in a privacy-preserving solution.

>> Read more about Fobnail

Full-source GNU Mes on ARM and RISC-V — Expand full-source bootstrap to other CPU platforms

GNU Mes was created to address the security concerns that arise from bootstrapping an operating system using large binary blobs of several 100s of megabytes, which (incredibly so!) is common practice for the software supply chains in use today. While these days users can reproducibly build software with modern functional package managers like Guix and Nix, the presence of potentially toxic code in these unauditable blobs or the propagation into binaries cannot be excluded. Users have no technical assurance that the executable they use corresponds with the source code - or whether the tool chain which compiled the source code introduce weaknesses or undefined behaviour. By making the toolchain 'bootstrappable' (as per, users can verify themselves for every step what happens - in the case of GNU Mes from one tiny (and orders of magnitude more easily verifiable) 357-byte file upwards. The final goal is to help create a "full source" bootstrap for any interested UNIX-like operating system and any type of architectures. In this project the project will add ARM and RISC-V, with other architectures on the roadmap.

>> Read more about Full-source GNU Mes on ARM and RISC-V

GNU Mes RISC-V — Bringing the trustworthy bootstrap to RISC-V

GNU Mes was created to address the security concerns that arise from bootstrapping an operating system using large, unauditable binary blobs, which is common practice for all software distributions. Mes is a Scheme interpreter written in a simple subset of C and a C compiler written in Scheme that comes with a small, bootstrappable C library. The final goal is to help create a full source bootstrap for any interested UNIX-like operating system. This funding will enable GNU Mes to work on the RISC-V platform, an instruction set architecture (ISA) that is provided under open licenses. Combining GNU Mes with an open ISA will provide an extra level of security and trust by extending the auditability of the system from the software to also the hardware.

RISC-V is a relatively new architecture so this effort requires the backport of many tools that were already available for GNU Mes in other architectures. Also the modular nature of RISC-V makes it an specially complex bootstrap target, because it needs to support all the possible RISC-V implementations. This project aims to overcome the current limitations to prepare GNU Mes and all the associated projects for a full RISC-V port.

>> Read more about GNU Mes RISC-V

GNU Mes Tower — GNU Mes with alternative scheme implementations and WASM

GNU Mes was created to provide transparency and strong technical assurances when bootstrapping an operating system - instead of using large, unauditable binary blobs that bring the risk of "reproducibly malicious" behaviour within the software toolchain. GNU Mes provides a transparent alternative: starting from a Scheme implementation of a C compiler, and a minimal Scheme interpreter written in C, to bootstrap the full GNU toolchain capable of building the rest of all open-source software.

The GNU Mes Tower projects will add the option to stay on the "Scheme" path without having to resort to C, starting from either same minimal Scheme interpreter with a specializer as a Scheme compiler capable of generating native binaries. To achieve self-hosting, a series of bootstrapping steps will be implemented to add features to each interpretation level one-by-one, maintaining specialization to native code. The sequence of more and more capable Scheme compilers will allow operating systems like Guix to be bootstrapped without C, and move from a minimal Scheme interpreter to full-blown modern scheme dialects to allow much more advanced features and optimisations during the bootstrap.

>> Read more about GNU Mes Tower

Layer-2-Overlay — Generalising the GNUnet Layer-2 Overlay for broader usage

Layer-2-Overlay is a P2P connectivity layer that allows decentralized applications to establish communication with peers. The current Internet architecture is strongly biased in favor of client-server applications. To regain data sovereignty from tech oligopoly, citizens must be able to communicate directly without a few gatekeepers. Therefore decentralized applications need to overcome network obstacles of the existing Internet infrastructure without the need to setup a costly alternative infrastructure. An additional benefit is the effective usage of existing resource, to lower the environmental damage big centralized systems are doing to our planetary ecosystem. The Layer-2-Overlay will achieve this goal by utilizing a variety of existing protocols and infrastructure (Ethernet/WLAN, TCP/UDP, QUIC, Satellite) and an effective flow- and congestion-control to distribute traffic through different channels. After reconnecting the edges (e.g. PCs at home or mobiles) of the existing Internet among each other again, traffic can be forwarded directly to known peers and existing infrastructure will be preserved. The API of Layer-2-Overlay will be usable by all kinds of decentralized application use cases. For a first showcase Layer-2-Overlay will be integrated into GNUnet, an alternative network stack for building secure, decentralized and privacy-preserving distributed applications.

>> Read more about Layer-2-Overlay

GNUnet Messenger API — API for decentralized instant messaging using CADET

Communication is one of the most valuable goods, but it requires confidentiality, integrity and availability to trust it. The GNUnet Messenger API implements an encrypted translation layer based on Confidential Ad-hoc Decentralized End-to-End Transport (CADET). Through CADET the API will allow any kind of application to set up a fully decentralized form of secure and private communication between groups of users. The service uses e2e-encryption and does not require any personal information from you to be used.

You are able to send text messages, share files, invite contacts to a group or delete prior messages with a custom delay. Messages and files will both be stored decentralized being only available for others in the group. GNUnet provides the possibility to use this service without relying on the typical internet structures, with a turnkey optional DHT for sharing resources.

Unlike many other messengers out there the GNUnet Messenger service focuses on privacy. You decide who can contact you and who does not. You decide which information gets shared with others and which stays a secret. The whole service and its API is free and open by design to be used by many different applications without trusting any third party.

>> Read more about GNUnet Messenger API

Gash — Port Gash to GNU Mes for auditable bootstrap

The project summary for this project is not yet available. Please come back soon!

>> Read more about Gash

Gosling — Generic Onions Services Library Project

One of the internet’s core infrastructural flaws is a lack of anonymity - yet anonymity is a form of privacy that many users would prefer to have. Building products which preserve this user privacy while also being featureful and easy to use is difficult. Part of this difficulty has to do with the fact that developers need to be aware of and actively counter the myriad ways users can be de-anonymised (e.g. fingerprinting, side-channels). This requires knowing many intricate details at all levels of the software stack.Project parent Blueprint for Free Speech's goal is to gradually increase the portion of the internet that offers anonymity. By creating a “generic onions services library” (Gosling), we can help developers create secure and anonymous p2p applications without having to delve too deeply into protocol design or the Tor spec, and to do so with more security assurance.

>> Read more about Gosling

Hyper Hyper Space — Cryptographically secure append-only distributed data layer

The Hyper Hyper Space project aims to make distributed applications easy to build and usable by anyone. It introduces “spaces”, shared information objects that are stored locally (on personal computers or phones) and can be easily replicated over the network to any number of participants and kept synchronized. Spaces have formats (just like files): blogs, discussion forums, e-commerce stores, etc. can be represented as space-types. Instead of filenames or URLs, spaces can be universally looked up by entering a 3-word code into the application. This code is used to find devices hosting the space, and then to fetch and validate it. To make developing dapps simpler, all spaces use the same basic information representation (an append-only Merkle-DAG, a construction used successfully in cryptocurrencies).

Application designers can build upon a library of building blocks supplied by Hyper Hyper Space (e.g. cryptographic identities, CRDT-inspired datatypes, etc.) that work over append-only DAGs. Once a space is defined this way, its synchronization can be handled by Hyper Hyper Space transparently, simplifying application development. Finally, to make spaces universally available, the Hyper Hyper Space runtime works inside an unmodified web browser (as a JavaScript library: IndexedDB is used for in-browser storage, WebRTC as transport - no extensions are needed). Thus a distributed application can be deployed as a static website that fetches its contents from a browser-to-browser mesh.

On top of Hyper Hyper Space, the project will create a public state transition logbook as an HHS mutable object - a generalized version of a cryptocurrency’s ledger: instead of storing financial transactions, the logbook keeps a Merkle-tree of state transitions over time for a set of HHS objects. By providing the actual HHS operations that hash to the state transition starting and ending state, and a Merkle-proof of this state stransition having been accepted into the logbook, it is possible for an HHS object to prove that it has executed those operations to an untrusted third party (as long as the logbook can be trusted).

Ultimately, the Hyper Hyper Space project’s goal is to encourage open information formats and software interoperability, helping make open source, non-for profit and public interest application development sustainable.

>> Read more about Hyper Hyper Space

Standardizing KEMTLS — Post-quantum TLS without handshake signatures

KEMTLS is a recent academic proposal for an alternative way of adding authentication to the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. The project is motivated by the need to migrate public key cryptography to new algorithms that resist attacks by quantum computers. Compared to traditional cryptography, post-quantum signature schemes generally have larger public keys and/or signatures, and need more computational effort. KEMTLS, published at the ACM Computer and Communications Security Conference in 2020, replaces signature-based authentication for web servers with a post-quantum key exchange (called a KEM) in a way that saves communication and computation.

In this project we aim to prepare KEMTLS for standardization by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). To that end we will implement KEMTLS in a few different open source TLS software libraries and demonstrate the viability and interoperability of these implementations. This software will assist later implementers of KEMTLS by allowing to validate their implementations against our reference. We will also investigate optimizations for using KEMTLS in specialized environments like IoT, and will investigate issues involving certification of KEM keys.

>> Read more about Standardizing KEMTLS

Katzen — Meta-data resistant instant messaging over the Katzenpost mixnet

Katzen is a new private instant messaging application built using the Katzenpost mixnet project, which is an overlay network that is able to hide communication patterns of individual users from passive network observers. This means that attackers cannot link sending and receiving of messages on the network with any of the participants. Messages between conversation parties are delivered to and read from message queues operated by the mixnet service operators. The legacy simple design maintains a per client queue and is able to see when a client is receiving a message, how often clients receive messages, and when the client is online and checking for their messages. The purpose of this project is to replace the legacy ephemeral message storage system used by Katzen with a replacement that does not link messages with a specific user or conversation, To do this, clients will include a csprng seed as part of the contact creation process that will be used to generate a deterministic sequence of message identifiers between conversation participants; these identifiers will be used by each client to query the ephemeral storage provider for the next message in the conversation. Because polling the storage service adds latency, and this design must check for new messages from each conversation partner, mechanisms to reduce the number of round trips - such as using SURBs as an asynchronous callback upon message delivery on the storage provider will be explored as a means to build a mixnet 'push' service to decrease the total round trip delay in receiving a new message.

>> Read more about Katzen

LiberaForms — End tot End Encrypted Forms

Cloud services that offer handling of online forms are widely used by schools, associations, volunteer organisations, civil society, and even families to publish questionnaires and collect the results. While these cloud services (such as Google Forms and Microsoft Forms) can be quite convenient to create forms with, for the constituency which has to fill out these forms such practices can actually be very invasive because forms may not only include personal details such as their name, address, gender or age, but also more intimate questions including medical details, political information and life style background. In many situations there is a power asymmetry between the people creating the form and the users that have to supply the data through that form. Often there is significant time pressure. No wonder that users feel socially coerced to comply and hand over their data, even though they might be perfectly aware that their own data might be used against them.

LiberaForms is a transparent alternative for proprietary online forms that you can easily host yourself. In this project, LIberaForms will add end-to-end encryption with OpenPGP, meaning that the data is encrypted on the client device and only the final recipient of the form data can read it (and not just anyone with access to a server). Also, the team will add real-time collaboration on forms, in case users need to fill out forms together.

>> Read more about LiberaForms

Librecast — E2E encrypted multicast

The Librecast project contributes to decentralising the Internet by enabling multicast. It builds transitional protocols and software to extend the reach of multicast and enable easy deployment by software developers. This can for instance help to synchronise large evolving datasets to many users at the same time (even hundreds of gigabytes of blockchain data) in an economic, reliable, transparent and fair way - unlike with unicast, everyone can get a copy of the same packets received by everyone else. Not depending on a centralised structure (anyone can be the upstream source), means it is very robust as well. LibreCast is energy efficient and as a next generation internet technology offers confidentiality and security - and is sustainable, has high scalability and throughput.

Librecast Live is a Multicast Live Streaming, Conferencing and Remote Collaborative Work Environment. It is a versatile multicast platform flexible and scalable enough to be used for live-streaming, classrooms and conferences - using an ad hoc or previously established web of trust. While using multicast helps solve the scalability inherent with this kind of setup, actually all messages are transmitted over encrypted channels - providing strong privacy and integrity assurances through E2E encryption.

>> Read more about Librecast

The Libre-SOC Gigabit Router — Native Open Hardware chip implementation of crypto primitives

The Libre-SOC Project is developing a Libre System-on-a-Chip in a transparent fashion to engender end-user trust. Based on the OpenPOWER ISA, the next logical step is to extend and modernise OpenPOWER into the cryptographic and blockchain realm, and to do so in a practical way: design a Router ASIC. Whilst many commercial ASICs would do this using hard-coded non-transparent blocks or instructions, true transparency really only exists if the ISA has general-purpose primitives that can be Formally (mathematically) validated. The Libre-SOC Crypto-router Project therefore goes back to mathematical "first principles" to provide general-purpose Galois-Field, Matrix abstraction and more, on top of Simple-V Vectorisation. This provides flexibility for future cryptographic and blockchain algorithms on a firm transparent foundation.

>> Read more about The Libre-SOC Gigabit Router

LumoSQL at-rest data security — Modern embedded database with encryption and signed data

LumoSQL is an embedded database that combines various modern database technologies into a single powerful abstraction while remaining a drop-in replacement for the most-used database worldwide, SQLite. LumoSQL brings to embedded databases features including built-in encryption, per-row checksum verifiability of all data (without the overhead of e.g. a blockchain), and a choice of storage backends.

In this project the LumoSQL community works towards the 1.0 version which will add a slew of attractive features such as encrypted embedded data at-rest (which can be unlocked either through role based access control or even outside of unmodified apps with a hardware token like Nitrokey), signed data rows and data tables (so users can cryptographically verify the integrity of data), as well as improved documentation and cross-platform availability. In addition the project is producing valuable tools such as the not-forking project, which addresses the root cause of many real-world security issues as customisation without such a tool requires hard-to-maintain forking.

>> Read more about LumoSQL at-rest data security

Naisho — Efficiently combine end-to-end encryption with CRDTs

The project summary for this project is not yet available. Please come back soon!

>> Read more about Naisho

NeoChat — Native Matrix encrypted instant messaging client

NeoChat is a client for Matrix, an open and decentralized chat protocol. NeoChat is using Qt and KDE technologies to run on many platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS, Plasma Mobile and Android. One of the biggest missing features for NeoChat is support for end-to-end encryption. Currently, all the messages are sent unencrypted and encrypted conversation can't be read in NeoChat. This is not a problem for public rooms since they are usually not encrypted, but it makes NeoChat unsuitable for usage in a private or professional context. The goal of this project is to enable support for encryption in NeoChat. Since NeoChat uses libQuotient, a client library for the matrix protocol, most of the work will take place in libQuotient. This means that the work done in the project will also help other Matrix clients and bots built with Quotient, in particular Spectral and Quaternion.

>> Read more about NeoChat

Packet classification extensions for Netfilter — High throughput packet classification of tunneled traffic

With the advent of virtualization and containers, datacenter traffic is becoming prominently tunneled through layer 2 and layer 3 encapsulation techniques such as VLAN, GRE, VxLAN, GRETAP and Geneve among others. Extended packet classification through advanced string-matching also allows to proactively detect malicious traffic patterns and to improve overall datacenter network security. Performance is also a paramount aspect to improve resource utilization and to allow packet classification to scale up to the increasing demands in latency and bandwidth.

Nftables is the next generation packet classification software that replaces {ip,ip6,eb,arp}tables which reuses the existing main components of the Netfilter frameworks such as Connection tracking, NAT and logging. This project aims at three goals: 1) Enhancing Nftables packet classification by extending its tunneled packet classification capabilities to allow to match on inner header, 2) add string-matching infrastructure for Nftables and 3) evaluate performance to analyze bottlenecks and deliver upstream enhancements for the Netfilter packet classification datapath.

>> Read more about Packet classification extensions for Netfilter

neuropil — DHT based overlay network

The neuropil protocol is a new integration protocol for the IoT, which can be embedded into applications and devices. It facilitates and recombines messaging paradigms with distributed hash tables, self-sovereign identities and named-data networks to establish a new kind of privacy- and security-by-design overlay network. The protocol itself embraces self-containment, reducing the need for external systems/dependencies. Our goal is a trustworthy, democratized access control mechanism for the internet of everybody. Within our project we would like to leave the beta-phase and realize the first full release of our protocol. To reach this goal we will add two remaining critical parts to our protocol: distributed time calculations and distributed linked time-stamping authorities. The first addition is not only crucial for systems without an RTC, but it also enables a de-centralized time service with a much lower attack surface. The second builds upon the first and is a key requirement to establish trust between entities using the protocol. It can also be used to ensure the integrity and to keep-track of (search-) contents of peers. Furthermore we will review our current reference implementation for efficiency and use less power-hungry algorithms whenever possible to support the green deal of the European Union.

>> Read more about neuropil

Securing NixOS services with systemd

NixOS, with the nix package manager, provides different services that can be installed and configured in a reproducible, declarative way. But how does one know whether software sticks to what it is supposed to do, and prevent a malicious application to spy on others?

Systemd provides users with ways to specify fine-grained sandboxing options for their running service, taking advantage of the Linux kernel's security facilities. This project will improve the default configuration of the services that are available in NixOS using systemd, so that users may deploy services without granting them too much trust: the services would only have access to the parts of the system they require. From a security point of view, this limits the attack surface of the system and improves a lot of defense in depth. This also means that services wouldn't be able to snoop on all of the user's system.

To gain long-term benefits from this project, we will develop automated tools to help with finding the right configuration for a given service, and we will write documentation to help people who will want to secure other services with their task.

>> Read more about Securing NixOS services with systemd

UEFI Secure Boot support for NixOS — Add a self-sovereign root of trust as part of supply chain security

This project combines the power of the reproducible package manager Nix with the cryptographic protections of UEFI Secure Boot to provide concrete assurances about the authenticity of the software being booted into. Supply chain security works upward from a root of trust, which has to be in place before the very first bytes of code are even executed by a host’s CPU. UEFI Secure Boot helps provide this root of trust. Using UEFI Secure Boot, the host’s firmware will only boot the operating system if it is signed by a key stored in the firmware. This key may be issued by Microsoft, or in this project’s case, be generated by the user. This can help resist attacks from malware or other attacks against the system’s integrity. Obviously, when people use a commodity operating system commercially available to everyone (like Microsoft Windows) the security protection is far less and the risks are far greater than when someone generates a custom operating system with a reproducible tool like Nix. The Host and signing service will use TPM-backed attestation keys to mutually attest the authenticity of the requests.

This tool will initially support systemd-boot and uboot, however the project will be specifically designed with the intention of supporting additional bootloaders.

>> Read more about UEFI Secure Boot support for NixOS

Adopting the Noise Key Exchange in Tox — Improved security of Tox instant messaging with NoiseIK

Tox is a P2P instant messaging protocol that aims to provide secure messaging. It's implemented in a FOSS library called "c-toxcore" (GPLv3). The project started in the wake of Edward Snowden's disclosure of global surveillance. It's intended as an end-to-end encrypted and distributed Skype replacement. The cryptographic primitives for the key exchange (X25519), authentication (Poly1305) and symmetric encryption (XSalsa20) are state of the art peer-reviewed algorithms. Tox' authenticated key exchange (AKE) during Tox' handshake works, but it is a self-made cryptographic protocol and is known to be vulnerable to key compromise impersonation (KCI) attacks. This vulnerability enables an attacker, who compromised the static long-term private X25519 key of a Tox party Alice, to impersonate any other Tox party (with certain limitations) to Alice (reverse impersonation) and to perform Man-in-the-Middle attacks. The objective of this project is to implement a new KCI-resistant handshake based on NoiseIK in c-toxcore, which is backwards compatible to the current KCI-vulnerable handshake to enable interoperability. Further Noise's rekey feature will be evaluated for adoption.

>> Read more about Adopting the Noise Key Exchange in Tox

Improve Okular digital signature support — Improve open source tooling for digital signatures

Okular is a Free Software document viewer that supports multiple file formats such as PDF and OpenDocument Format, and besides viewing allows for annotation and digital signatures. It was initially created for desktop Linux and UNIX operating systems but meanwhile has grown into a universal, vendor-neutral document tool for all platforms - including an increasing amount of mobile operating systems such as Android, postmarketOS and pureOS. Digital signatures allow people to establish the source of documents, but can also be used to enter into legally binding agreements or contracts - so having a reliable and transparent solution is important. The aim of this project is to improve the support of PDF digital signatures in Okular both from the point of view of features and usability, making it easier for users to interact with this crucial privacy and security functionality.

>> Read more about Improve Okular digital signature support

OpenCryptoHW — CGRA- based reconfigurable open-source cryptographic IP cores

OpenCryptoHW aims to develop reconfigurable open-source cryptographic hardware IP cores for Next Generation Internet. With the Internet of Things (IoT) upon us, security and privacy are more important than ever. On the one hand, if the security and privacy features are exclusively implemented in software, the risk of breaches is high. On the other hand, if implemented solely in hardware, it is impossible to fix bugs or deploy critical updates, which is also a threat to security and privacy. Hence, we propose to use reconfigurable hardware, providing the flexibility of software and the trustworthiness of hardware. Hacking into it requires first hacking the device’s configuration infrastructure and then hacking the algorithm itself, which is way more complicated. There have been proposals to implement cryptographic IP cores using Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGAs). However, the FPGA configuration infrastructure is cumbersome and proprietary, increasing device cost and compromising safety. Therefore, we propose to use open-source Coarse-Grained Reconfigurable Arrays (CGRAs) instead of FPGAs. CGRAs have much lighter configuration circuits and are not controlled by any private entity. With OpenCryptoHW, hardware and system designers will be able to download CGRA-based cryptography IP cores for free and under a permissive license, ready to integrate into their silicon designs. Optional support services for helping in the integration or adding new features will also be available.

>> Read more about OpenCryptoHW

Open MLS Infrastructure — End-to-end encrypted group messaging

The Open MLS infrastructure project aims at designing and implementing infrastructure components for the MLS (Messaging Layer Security) protocol currently under development by the IETF ( While it is theoretically possible to run MLS peer-to-peer, most use-cases will require central components that take care of ordering and queueing messages, as well as managing group state. Our goal is to create components that are secure, metadata-minimizing, modular, and that allow for federation. This lays a foundation for improving existing and future messaging applications, and will allow to validate a potential future application-layer specification.

>> Read more about Open MLS Infrastructure

Improving OpenSSH's Authentication and PKI — Improving SSH Authentication with OpenPGP transitive trust

It would not be a stretch to say that ssh secures the Internet - it is the protocol most relied on to log into servers of any type. Yet, its authentication model is inflexible, rarely used properly, and inadequate. OpenPGP's transitive trust (aka "web of trust") mechanisms and revocation certificates can help to provided additional automated assurances. By publishing and certifying OpenPGP keys for servers, an ssh client may be able to automatically check whether an encrypted connection is not only encrypted, but also authenticated. Similarly, server administrators can automatically find the right public key for users. And when a server key or user key is compromised, using OpenPGP, it is straightforward to ensure that it won't be trusted: just publish a revocation certificate. This project will add OpenPGP support to OpenSSH to improve and simplify these workflows.

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Hardening OpenPGP CA deployments — HSM support for OpenPGP key infrastructure

The project summary for this project is not yet available. Please come back soon!

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A memory-safe implementation of PTP — High-precision clock synchronization

Of all severe software security bugs, a big chunk (50-70%) has one single source: memory corruption. The underlying cause is that, traditionally, systems software is implemented in languages that are not memory-safe. The way forward is to replace these pieces of software with memory-safe alternatives, one by one. Doing so will not just mitigate, but eliminate this category of bugs entirely. This project picks out one piece: the Precision Time Protocol (PTP). High-precision clock synchronization plays a crucial role in networking, with application areas such as high precision localization, finance, broadcasting, security protocols, smart grids, and cellular base station transmissions. Our proof-of-concept implementation will conform to the IEEE standard for PTP and will focus on the software implementation of a slave-only PTP ordinary clock. In the future, our work is expected to become part of a wider open-source roadmap for reliable and memory-safe keeping of network time, that will seek to expand the feature set of our implementation and work towards growing its adoption.

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Peppol for the masses — Hybrid self-hosted e-invoicing with decentralized identities

Peppol is an EU-backed e-Invoicing network which uses a top-down certification infrastructure to establish trust between the sender and the receiver of an invoice. In the "Peppol for the Masses!" project, we will implement Peppol in PHP (so far only Java and C# implementations are available), and package its core components (the AS4 sender and the AS4 receiver) as a Nextcloud app, so that users of the popular Nextcloud personal cloud server can send and receive invoices over AS4 directly into their self-hosted server.

Due to the top-down nature of Peppol's trust infrastructure, it's not possible to self-host a node in the Peppol network unless you go through a reasonably heavy certification process. Therefore, we will extend our implementation with support for self-hosted identities, using the "WebID" identity pattern which was popularized by the Solid project. We will also develop a re-signing gateway which replaces the signature on an AS4-Direct invoice with a Peppol-certified signature. In a follow-up project, we will also host an instance of this re-signing gateway and make it available free of charge, similar to how the LetsEncrypt project has made TLS certificates available free of charge.

This project will lower the (cost) barrier for machine-readable cryptographically-signed e-Invoicing messages, and at the same time increase the sovereignty of end-users, towards a human-centric internet of business documents.

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Prosody IM — Implement SASL authentication mechanism for XMPP

XMPP is the most widely deployed standard protocol for real-time messaging today, and is a very popular choice among individuals and organizations who wish to manage their own internet communications, instead of submitting to other (e.g. commercial/data-driven) communication platforms. For an XMPP user to log in to their account today, two things are required: a username and a password. This has remained unchanged for many years, while other technologies have been steadily advancing to support security-enhancing features such as multi-factor authentication or even self-sovereign identities.

XMPP uses an authentication umbrella standard known as SASL to authenticate all connections.The way XMPP integrates SASL is defined in RFC 6120 and assumes a very simple challenge-response flow, which has worked well in allowing us to upgrade the network from older SASL mechanisms such as DIGEST-MD5 and onto more modern mechanisms such as SCRAM-SHA-1 and SCRAM-SHA-256.

To gain new authentication features beyond simple password authentication, we need to evolve XMPP’s relationship with SASL. This project will deliver just that, and will be the first complete implementation of a proposed standard (XEP-0388: Extensible SASL Profile) into the popular Prosody XMPP server. It will also implement support for per-session access control throughout Prosody, and support for XEP-0386 (Bind 2.0).

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GNUnet — Formalisation within IETF of R5N Distributed Hash Table design

Decentralization and digital sovereignty are fundamental building blocks to strengthening European values of freedom of information and informational self-determination against particular interests of foreign state and commercial actors. Decentralization is often based on Distributed Hash Tables; DHTs are already an important component for many NGI components such as decentralized web applications (IPFS, Web3) or components in the blockchain ecosystem. The GNUnet/R5N-DHT - a Free Software distributed hash table and P2P protocol - provides additional and relevant properties like Byzantine fault tolerance and censorship resistance. The project will improve, implement and specify the R5N protocol as an IETF RFC (Informational). This supports other efforts such as the GNU Name System protocol (GNS).

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rasn — Safe ASN.1 codec framework for Rust

ASN.1 is a suite of protocols and data formats first introduced nearly 40 years ago, and is used extensively throughout the industry, from SIM cards to satellites, from web certificates to 5G radios, all of these are using ASN.1 in their communication stack. However parsing ASN.1 remains a large source of security vulnerabilities due its complexity and needing to be written in traditionally memory unsafe languages for speed and portability.

Rasn is a codec framework for writing safe ASN.1 code in Rust, that encodes ASN.1's data model into Rust's type system, empowering developers to write Rust code that is as safe, portable, and as easy to write as the original ASN.1 module. Rasn supports BER, CER, and DER encoding rules, and can be extended to support custom data formats. Rasn also provides a number standards out of the box including LDAP, PKIX, and SNMP.

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A Secret Key Store for Sequoia PGP — Standards-compliant private key store for OpenPGP

This project implements a private key store for Sequoia, a new OpenPGP implementation. Currently, Sequoia-using programs use private keys directly. A private key store mediates applications' access to private keys, and offers three major advantages relative to the status quo. First, a private key store is in a separate address space. This means that private keys that are in memory are in a different address space from the application. This was underlying cause of the Heartbleed vulnerability. Second, a private key store can provide a uniform interface for accessing keys stored on different backends, e.g., an in-memory key, a key on a smart card, or a key on a remote computer, which is accessed via ssh. This simplifies applications. Third, this architecture simplifies sharing private key material among multiple applications. Only the private key store needs to worry about managing the private key material, which improves security. And, when a user unlocks a key in one application, it is potentially unlocked in all applications, which improves usability.

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Adding TPM Support to Sequoia PGP — Implement use of TPM 2.0 crypto hardware for OpenPGP

Protecting cryptographic keys is hard. If they are stored in a file, an attacker can exfiltrate them - even if the harddrive is encrypted at rest. A good practical solution is a hardware token like a Nitrokey, which stores keys and exposes a limited API to the host. For most end users, a token is a hassle: one needs to carry it around, it needs to be inserted, and it is not possible to work if it is left at home. And, it needs to be purchased. There is a better solution, which doesn't cost anything. A trusted computing module (TPM) is like an always-connected hardware token only more powerful (the keys can be bound to a particular OS installation, it can store nearly an unlimited number of keys, not just three) and TPMs are already present in most computers. This project will add support for TPMs to Sequoia PGP including comprehensive test suites and in-depth documentation for both software engineers: as an API and end-users as a way to use TPM bound keys through Sequoia's command-line interface (sq) for decryption and signing.

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Sequoia PGP — Improve interface of Sequoia PGP commandline

Sequoia PGP is a new OpenPGP implementation, which is written in Rust and focuses on ease of use. To date, the main product is a library. This project will focus on sq, Sequoia's command line tool. The project consists of three parts. First, useful functionality will be added to sq making sq comparable to gpg. Second, the human-readable interface will be augmented with a JSON interface. This will make it easier and robuster to use sq from scripts. Finally, this project will add an acceptance test suite to sq thereby strengthen the foundation for future changes.

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Sequoia GPG Chameleon — Implement well-known API's for using OpenPGP

Sequoia's GnuPG Chameleon is a drop-in replacement for the widely-used encryption software GnuPG. It offers the same interface, while at the same time replacing the underlying OpenPGP implementation. This approach brings security benefits to everyone directly or indirectly using GnuPG before, while providing a smooth migration path that does not require changes to existing software.

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Peer-to-Peer Access to Our Software Heritage — Access Software Heritage data via IPFS DHT

Peer-to-Peer Access to Our Software Heritage (SWH × IPFS) is a project aimed at supporting Software Heritage’s mission to build a universal source code archive and preserve it for future generations by leveraging IPFS’s capabilities to share and replicate the archive inadecentralized, peer-to-peer manner. The project will build a bridge between the existing Software Heritage (SWH) API and the IPFS network to transparently serve native IPFS requests for SWH data. In the short term, this allows users using IPFS to form their own Content Distribution Network for SWH data. Longer term, we hope this will serve as a foundation fora decentralized network of copies that, together, ensure that the loss of no one repository, however large, results in the permanent destruction of any part of our heritage. The end product would be a perfect application of IPFS’s tools and a step in the direction of a decentralized internet services infrastructure.

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Tauri Apps — A safer run-time for web technology based apps

Tauri is a toolkit that helps developers make more trustworthy applications for the major desktop platforms - using virtually any frontend framework in existence. A popular use case is to create a desktop or mobile version of a web app, rather than wasting effort on creating native clients for each platform. Unlike other solutions (e.g. Microsoft's Electron), it is built in the type-safe language Rust - and the team has a focus on strong isolation, shielding the user from malicious or untrusted code downloaded "live" from the internet. After all, once breached, such an app can for instance siphon off cryptocurrencies or bootstrap other more persistent malware.

In this project, the team works among others on a particularly innovative feature, to prevent JS injection for all application types. In this approach Rust Code Injection is used alongside dependency-free EcmaScript, Object.freeze(), and a filtering iFrame that is the only subsystem permitted to communicate with the API. This will help to create more secure applications,

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TrustING — Ultrafast AS-level Public-Key Infrastructure

TrustING is a human-transparent and agile Trust Infrastructure for a Next-Generation Internet. This infrastructure enables any two entities to establish secret keys that can be used to encrypt and authenticate data. The foundation of TrustING is the AS-level Public-Key Infrastructure (PKI) of the SCION Internet Architecture that provides sovereignty (ensuring absence of global kill switches), trust transparency, and algorithm agility, among others.

The TrustING service establishes symmetric keys with other domains in advance, and then relies on those keys to derive keys for local hosts. The core novelty of this approach is the ability to derive keys purely locally on both sides of the communication, without even requiring key transport. By making TrustING a control-plane mechanism offered by the network infrastructure, higher-level applications can make use of it without having to worry about complexities such as exchanging key material or establishing trust.

To show the viability of TrustING, we will implement TLS trust bootstrapping using TrustING and additionally demonstrate the efficiency of TrustING by using it to authenticate SCMP (SCION's equivalent of ICMP) messages.

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Trustix — Make build logs available as publicly verifiable, tamper-proof Merkle trees

Software build infrastructure is vastly underestimated in terms of its potential security impact. When we install a computer program, we usually trust downloaded software binaries. But even in the case of open source software: how do we know that we aren't installing something malicious which is different from the source code we are looking at - for instance to put us in a botnet or siphon away cryptocurrencies? Typically, we have confidence in the binaries we install because we get them from a trusted provider. But once the provider itself is compromised, the binaries can be anything. This makes depending on individual providers a single point of failure in a software supply chain. Trustix is a tool that compares build outputs across a group of providers - it decentralizes trust. Multiple providers independently build the software, each in their own isolated environment, and then can vouch for the content of binaries that are the outcome of reproducible builds - while non-reproducible builds can be automatically detected.

In this project the team will work on further enabling trust delegation, by offloading log verification to trusted third parties - heavily inspired by the Delegated Proof of Stake consensus algorithm. It will bring Trustix into the Nix and the Guix ecosystems that are most amenable to Trustix' approach. The ultimate goal is for Trustix to integrate seamlessly into the entirely decentralized software supply chain so we can securely distribute software without any central corruptible entity.

>> Read more about Trustix

Tvix — Alternative Rust-based software build transparency

Tvix is a modern design and implementation of the Nix package manager (GPLv3). It brings a modular architecture in which components such as the build environment or package store are replaceable, which enables new use-cases and platforms. A graph-reduction evaluation model will make it possible to use Nix for package definitions and entire system configurations, its proven and tested use case, as well as for granular build definitions for individual components of software. Tvix will be fully compatible with nixpkgs, the existing package definition set for Nix, letting its users leverage more than a decade of community contributions and making it useful right out-of-the-box.

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TypeCell — CRDT-based collaborative block-based editor

TypeCell aims to make software development more open, simple and accessible. TypeCell integrates a live-programming environment as a first-class citizen in an end-user block-based document editor, forming an open source application platform where users can instantly inspect, edit and collaborate on the software they’re using. TypeCell spans a number of different projects improving and building on top of Matrix, Yjs and Prosemirror to advance local-first, distributed and collaborative software for the web.

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LIP6 VLSI Tools — Logical validation of ASIC layouts

The software we run critically depends on the trustworthiness of the chips we use. LIP6's VLSI tools are one of the few user-operated toolchains for creating ASIC layouts where the full source code is available for inspection by anyone. This provides a significant contrast to commodity chips from vendors like Intel and AMD, where anything beyond coarse technical detail is shielded away by NDA's. This project will improve Coriolis2, HITAS/YAGLE and extend the whole toolchain so that it can perform Logical Validation. It will also upgrade the code to make it faster, able to handle larger ASIC designs, and add support for lower geometries (starting with 130nm) which are more energy-friendly.

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Verified Reowolf — Formal protocol verification with Reowolf

Using formal methods, we rigorously validate and verify functionality and security properties of essential Internet protocols. In this project, we unambiguously specify Internet protocols using Reowolf's Protocol Description Language (PDL). We research and develop validation tools for certifying the compliance of software/hardware implementations of essential Internet protocols with respect to PDL specifications; and, we research and develop a mathematical formalism, using the state-of-the-art theorem prover Coq, for the verification of properties of protocols specified in PDL that identify precisely under what conditions important properties, such as network integrity and service availability, remain to hold or when they break. The results are important for long-term stability of the Internet, and will be published open access & open source.

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Yrs — Collaborative editing with CRDT written in Rust

Yrs "wires" will be a native port (in the Rust programming language) of the Yjs shared editing framework. Abstractly speaking, Yjs allows many users to concurrently manipulate state that eventually converges. It is a popular solution for enabling collaborative editing (Google Docs style) on the web because it is indefinitely scalable, works peer-to-peer, and has a rich ecosystem of plugins. There are plugins that allow you to connect with other peers over different network providers (WebRTC, Websocket, Dat/Hyper, IPFS, XMPP, ..) and there are many editor plugins that allow you to make existing (rich-)text editors collaborative.

The Yjs project is about connecting projects with each other and providing a network-agnostic solution for syncing state. A native port will allow native applications (e.g. XI, Vi, Emacs, Android, iPhone, ..) to sync state with web-based applications. We chose Rust because it's well suited to be embedded in other languages like C/C++, PHP, Python, Swift, and Java. With Yrs, we want to connect even more projects with each other and provide a modern collaboration engine for native applications.

The Rust implementation will implement the full feature set of the shared types, including the event system. This will enable users to parse existing Yjs documents, manipulate them, and implement collaborative applications. The port will make it easy to "bind" to another language so that the shared state is available in other languages as well. There will likely be a WASM binding, a C++ binding, and a Python binding (provided by Quantstack). Other existing features like awareness, selective Undo/Redo manager, relative positions, and differential updates will be added after the initial release.

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Reinstatement of crypto.signText() — Cryptographic signatures brought back to the browser

Since the 1990s Netscape and Firefox supported the ability to sign an arbitrary piece of text with a digital certificate, and have that signature returned to the webserver. The texts being signed have historically ranged from transaction records, financial declarations, and court documents. This project implements a set of Native Browser Web Extensions that bring the digital signing of text to all modern browsers that support the NMBE standard. The process of choosing the certificates and generating the signatures is performed outside of the browser, using APIs native to each operating system. Web pages communicate with the extensions using the Javascript crypto.signText() function, and the signed documents are returned packaged as a PKCS7 response. The project aims to make digital signing accessible, while being browser agnostic.

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Distributed Mechanism Learning — Privacy preserving ways of distributed data usage

Mechanism design is a field concerned with finding rules for economic processes which incentivize self-interested agents to behave in a way, such that a common goal is reached. This project aims to build robust infrastructure for mechanism design via machine learning, to make theoretical results more applicable to practical networked deployments. We plan to do this by finding solutions for the following two problems and making them accessible to developers, while keeping the required domain knowledge to a minimum:

On the one hand, a trusted third party is often assumed to exist, which is supposed to learn and execute the mechanism. In practice, finding neutral trusted parties who do not stand to gain anything from cheating can be hard. To solve this problem, we distribute the computation of the trusted party over multiple computers, ideally controlled by different entities, using multiparty computation. This way, we get a more robust trust base with better alignment of incentives.

On the other hand, current models often assume prior knowledge about preference distributions of agents to learn optimal mechanisms. In practice, this knowledge is not always available. We exchange finding optimal solutions using prior information with finding approximate solutions using no prior information, by way of differentially private learning. This results in more general applicability, especially in settings with sparse information.

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libresilient — Create robust web presence with service workers and DHT

A browser-based decentralized content delivery network, implemented as a JavaScript library to be deployed easily on any website. LibResilient uses ServiceWorkers and a suite of non-standard in-browser delivery mechanisms, with a strong focus on decentralized tools like IPFS. Ideally, users should not need to install any special software nor change any settings to continue being able to access an overloaded LibResilient-enabled site as soon as they are able to access it once.

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lpnTPM — TPM 2.0 compliant open hardware Trusted Platform Module

lpnTPM is Open Source Software (OSS), and Open Source Hardware (OSHW) Trusted Platform Module (TPM, also known as ISO/IEC 11889) is an international standard for a secure cryptoprocessor, a dedicated microcontroller designed to secure hardware through integrated cryptographic keys. What makes lpnTPM different from generally available solutions is openness. Software and hardware of lpnTPM can, without limits, be audited, fixed, and customized by communities and businesses. Open design address the lack of trustworthiness of proprietary closed source TPM products, which currently dominate the whole market. lpnTPM in production mode protects software by secure boot technology, and only the lpnTPM owner will update it. TPM modules enable measured boot and support verified boot, Dynamic Root of Trust for Measurement, and other security features. Another benefit of lpnTPM would be physical design, which solves the lack of standardization around pinout and connector. The ultimate goal of lpnTPM is to provide a trustworthy platform for future open evolution of Trusted Platform Module software and its application to various computing devices, resulting in better adoption of platform security.

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Securing Decentralised Live Information with m-ld — Collaborative editing of LInked Data based on CRDT

m-ld is a software technology for live information sharing. It enables software engineers to reliably add real-time collaboration, support for offline working, and service resilience to both new and existing software architectures. It achieves this by operating at an "information" level, creating reusable patterns for maintaining the consistency and integrity of application content that is being edited from multiple locations at once. m-ld is built from the ground up on a W3C standard information representation, contributing ideas for its evolution, and is committed to open standards and open source. This project will research and prototype modifications to the primitives of the m-ld core protocol to natively support strong assurance of data integrity and traceability, with authority assignable to identified users or groups, so that they can be reliably assured of the integrity and controlled availability of their data.

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oqsprovider — Post-quantum/quantum-safe cryptographic algorithms for OpenSSL

Quantum computers will bring to an end integrity and confidentiality provided by "classic" public key cryptography such as RSA and implemented in security application frameworks such as OpenSSL. Therefore, a new class of "post-quantum" or quantum safe crypto algorithms (QSC) is being standardized by NIST. In order to bring QSC to easy deployment, these algorithms need to be added to existing security installations: oqs-provider is a standalone integration of QSC into the OpenSSL software framework. By simply inserting an oqs-provider binary, any OpenSSL installation as well as all applications built on top of OpenSSL permitting crypto-providers is (to be) automatically enabled to use any QSC algorithm supported by the liboqs open source framework. liboqs in turn provides the QSC algorithms that are either finalists or candidates of the NIST Post-Quantum Cryptography standardization competition. This way, users of oqs-provider-enabled OpenSSL installations can cease to be concerned about the risk that quantum computers create. The Open Source communities working on OpenSSL and OpenQuantumSafe can benefit in turn from mutual validation and re-use of their respective work efforts.

>> Read more about oqsprovider