Thursday, February 6, 2014

AnonyMail 2.0.33 Coming!

Since the last release of AnonyMail, I've been fortunate enough to receive a lot of feedback from users expressing concerns, filing bug reports, and putting in feature requests. I've been listening to everyone, squashing bugs, and picking the best features requests for the next version of AnonyMail, 2.0.33. I'm happy to say that we're at the cusp of a new release and I think you're all going to like it!

The new version of AnonyMail features better Tor support, no Python requirement (I use the cURL library to route message through Tor now), an improved user interface, a feedback mechanism, better stability on Windows, and improved message padding and delivery.

We should see a release within a day for Windows and Linux and it should in the Ubuntu Software Center soon after.

What is AnonyMail?

Some people have asked me what AnonyMail is and why they should use it. Let me explain:

There are times when you might need to send a completely anonymous piece of email. There are few ways to do this: 1) you could set up a fake webmail account somewhere or 2) you can use an anonymous remailer to send mail completely anonymous.

There are a few problems with each of those option:

  1. Using  a fake webmail address may protect you from the recipient knowing who you are but the webmail provider still knows. To remedy this, you could use something like Tor Browser Bundle to connect to the web mail provider but more and more of them are completely blocking connections from the Tor network making it nearly impossible to use the software to hide your identity.

  2. Anonymous remailers, while absolutely rock solid on anonymity, are hard to use. You have to have an intimate knowledge of cryptography, set up PGP. generate a key pair,  obtain the public keys for the remailers you intend to use, and then properly encrypt a message so that it will be delivered. Whew! I got winded just typing all of that!
Neither of the two above options are very easy to use, reliable, or user-friendly. That's where AnonyMail comes in. AnonyMail is like an anonymous remailer only easier to use. Because you can route AnonyMail connections through Tor, you can be completely anonymous even to us so there is no chain that someone seeking to uncover your true identity could follow.  This makes AnonyMail particularly well-suited for whistleblowers, secret crushes, anyone else needing high anonymity but ease of use.

Why isn't AnonyMail Open Source/Free Software? How can I TRUST you!?!

Whenever you're using security software, especially to express unpopular, controversial, or sometimes illegal speech, it's important that you're able to trust that the software isn't selling you out without you knowing it. As such, the recommended security advice is usually 'don't use closed source software' and I completely agree with that.. That said, AnonyMail is closed source software.

Because I'm a commercial developer and make my living off of software like AnonyMail, I can't take the gamble on donations that many open source developers have. I have to put food on my table, pay the bills, and still have a little money for beer (or Dr. Pepper, in my case) when I'm done. So I've come up with what I believe is a fair compromise that allows users to be able to trust AnonyMail while allowing me to keep it closed source.

I give you the source code.

Whenever you purchase AnonyMail, you get both the binary (precompiled version that you can install on your computer) and the source code which you can review and/or compile yourself. This means that, if you don't trust me, you can take the source code and create your very own installation of AnonyMail with the confidence that I've not slipped anything nasty in there.

So how do I protect my income while giving away the source code? Simple: AnonyMail is not open source or free software. You don't get the right to share it with your friends, rebrand it and create a competing project, or do anything else you can do with open source and free software. You get the right to review the source and compile a copy for yourself. That's it.

Personally, despite the howling objections of many people in the open source community, I find this a nice balance between security and revenue generation.  

AnonyMail is available for Windows, Linux, and (soon) Mac.

I'm always working to make AnonyMail better so please feel free to shoot me an email with your ideas and suggestion. You can even use the new version of AnonyMail to do it so you can do so totally anonymously.  Every new version of AnonyMail includes fixes and improvements that come directly from users just like you so don't be shy to email and share your thoughts!

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