Keybase - Crypto for everyone's Files and Chats

Keybase is a key directory that maps social media identities to encryption keys that are publicly auditable. Keybase allows users to encrypt and decrypts chat and files between users and teams using mobile, web, and CLI clients.

Episode Transcription

In this episode, we're going to talk about Keybase, Keybase is not only a chat platform, but it's also a way that we can share encrypted files with people. Now my ... I really cringe when somebody sends me credentials via email, or text, or SMS, WhatsApp, et Cetera, because it's really not the way we should be sharing it. We should really be encrypting this, sending it, and decrypting it. When it's talking about credentials, it's secure stuff. If you're sending out your credentials to your bank account, you don't want this going over your public slack channel or on a WhatsApp group, you want to keep this quite private.

Now, the benefits of Keybase is, it takes the concept of identity. Identity is a difficult thing. In-person, we see someone, we know someone, we validate, "Hey, I know this person." In computers, somebody says, "Hey, I am Brian," but you have to trust that it's Brian. Now, what Keybase allows you to do is actually verify yourself by multiple means. So you can verify yourself via PGP, your Twitter account, different social profiles, your website, Bitcoin IDs. And once you establish this, you build kind of trust of your profile. It's like validating that you're actually you.

Now, as people start following you, it actually builds trust even more because now people are validating, "Yes, this is Brian and it is his Twitter account," and it builds this trust profile for you. Now what this allows us to do is share encrypted files with other people. I can actually just use their Twitter handle, and I can share an encrypted file with somebody via Twitter. Keybase scrapes Twitter and verifies that this is actually the user that you're targeting, and it decrypts the message this way.

I use Keybase as the sole purpose of, some sort of chat but also using team file sharing. So it has a team functionality where I can share files within the team that's all encrypted, and everyone within the team has to decrypt this, and then be able to view what these files are, passwords, SSH keys, whatever we put in there.

But additionally, I can share files with customers, I can share it with whoever I want to delegate with. The command-line interface is great because I can do all these encryption on the fly, I can determine what encryption techniques I want to use, I can chat with various people to find different people on there. It's really popular within the crypto segment because it's using a lot of this technology that crypto is using as a chat platform.

And like I said, it's becoming more of a standard way of sharing credentials. So I know in the Terraform world, people use it quite often to share credentials back and forth as a secure method because Keybase is open source, it has several security audits done to it, so it's pretty well validated as a proper platform, and then you compare it to other platforms like WhatsApp and things like this. We don't really know what's happening behind the scenes because it's all closed source, we know they're doing metrics tracking and all these things, where if it's open-source we can actually look at it and see what's going on, and it has the potential to interface to anything we want to use.

Now like I said, my user profiles, Brian_56kcloud, and we set up a team account, combining different team members in it, and I have several different team accounts. And through the command-line, I can actually access the team account so it's just a file share. And it's quite interesting. Let me just put my command prompt, because I can go into Keybase ... and see Keybase, and in here I can see, okay I have a private, public team, I can go into public and then I can see all the different users in there.

So basically you go, my username, double point in someone else's username, and you can create instantly a share with that person instantly. So our ... sorry, it's my username, the username of the person you want to share with, and it instantly makes a share available for both of us. I can see my username with, for example, other people we work with, and I can actually put a file into this directory and automatically puts it into this person's directory encrypted. So only they can decrypt it and bring it down with their keys. Very cool.

I can also put extra encryption on it. So if I encrypt a certain file, then they have to use certain encryption to decrypt it. It just adds an extra layer of security. I feel much better this way. So if you have any takeaway from this, don't share your credentials via email, or SMS, or text. Find an encryption method that you can use to share credentials. Keybase is something that I recommend, so Give it a try, it's quite good, it works on the cell phone, it works on the web, and also has a nice command-line tool.

That's all for today. Have a great day, and we will see you next time.
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