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[Announcement] - PM Encryption & Removal of Tapatalk

Started By:
Lazereth, 1 Week Ago
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  1. Head of Cybersecurity

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    #1
    SFC 240

    As a result of our ongoing efforts to comply with the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and my own personal obsession with cybersecurity, database level encryption has just been deployed for all private messages.

    This has been a feature that both myself and Jordan have wanted to implement for quite sometime, however vBulletin provided no built-in means of accomplishing this securely, thus a custom implementation of this feature was needed. By integrating a peer-reviewed, cryptographically secure library with our private messaging system, and incorporating it into vBulletin's core scripts, PM titles, contents, and read receipts are now encrypted. Furthermore, each message is individually authenticated at decryption, ensuring that if you are able to view the message, it has arrived from the sender unaltered. This process occurs completely seamlessly, and if I haven't broken anything horribly, you shouldn't see any difference when viewing your private messages.

    Despite its obvious privacy improvements, it also provides some protection should a worst case scenario occur with the UFPlanets database, such as it ever being dumped, with the private messaging data remaining secure. However, such protection also comes with some limitations. All UFPlanets systems will automatically conform to the new encryption standard when sending or viewing a private message, however, third party systems which read from our database directly such as Tapatalk will be unable to decrypt your private messages; thus you will see a string of encrypted data when attempting to view them via external sources. Whilst Tapatalk has been an interesting experiment, the benefits that Tapatalk provides compared to the requirements of full database and plugin access to the UFPlanets forum isn't proportional to the potential privacy/security risks. Low Tapatalk usage numbers, complaints regarding notifications to use the Tapatalk app on mobile devices, and the security implications of having a third party service having that level of access to our data has resulted in a decision to phase it out over the next couple of weeks; being inevitably superseded by the already more popular WIP mobile friendly theme of our main website.

    Whilst this will be unfortunate news to the few members who use Tapatalk, the benefits of this move serves to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of your online communications whilst you are using our services. This is in keeping with the UFP's longstanding insistence on privacy for our members, as evidenced by our constant resistance to officially moving over to less secure VOIP services such as Discord, in which your private data is not confidential. Thus you know that if you request your data to be deleted, there is only one location that information exists, and will be deleted in its entirety without being stored on third party servers.

    Despite these new custom functions being extensively tested (Thank you Sammy, Three, and Bedders for breaking the things that I love) the fact that it effects several existing systems may create some unexpected bugs. Should you spot any oddities with the private messaging system, please report it immediately in the bug testing forum, no matter how small it is.

    As always, should you have any questions regarding these changes, myself, Jordan, and the rest of CL6 are available to help where we can.

    Thanks.
    Lazereth
    "Oh hi, Mark." - Tommy Wiseau
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    #2
    Are there any other buttons that you don't want me to press that I should go ahead and press?
  3. Staff Writer

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    #3
    Thanks for all you are doing to help keep UFP secure... even if I am fairly certain that you were speaking Klingon for the majority of the announcement.
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    #4
    Will pms be the only thing not accessible through Tapatalk or will the forums be completely inaccessible through the app?
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    #5
     –  Last edited by JCarrill0; 1 Week Ago.
    Will pms be the only thing not accessible through Tapatalk or will the forums be completely inaccessible through the app?
    Low Tapatalk usage numbers, complaints regarding notifications to use the Tapatalk app on mobile devices, and the security implications of having a third party service having that level of access to our data has resulted in a decision to phase it out over the next couple of weeks;
    -
    JCarrill0
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    #6
    Low Tapatalk usage numbers, complaints regarding notifications to use the Tapatalk app on mobile devices, and the security implications of having a third party service having that level of access to our data has resulted in a decision to phase it out over the next couple of weeks; - Laz
    Don’t take this the wrong way but I read the entire post. I don’t appreciate people quoting something that I’m asking for clarification on. I am trying to find out if the app will have access to general forums and not private messages or if I will be unable to access any of the forums from the app. The post is specifically focused on private messages and while it can be interpreted as removing the entire forums from the app it could also be as the title would suggest limited to private messaging.
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  5. Head of Community Gaming

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    #7
    We'll be phasing out Tapatalk entirely. Jordan and Laz are working on an improved mobile theme for our site.
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    #8
    Don’t take this the wrong way but I read the entire post. I don’t appreciate people quoting something that I’m asking for clarification on. I am trying to find out if the app will have access to general forums and not private messages or if I will be unable to access any of the forums from the app. The post is specifically focused on private messages and while it can be interpreted as removing the entire forums from the app it could also be as the title would suggest limited to private messaging.
    My apologies. I for one use the App myself and was enjoying using it until recently when it no longer recognizes my Username/Password anymore.

    We'll be phasing out Tapatalk entirely. Jordan and Laz are working on an improved mobile theme for our site.
    I can't wait!

    - JC
    JCarrill0
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    #9
    My apologies. I for one use the App myself and was enjoying using it until recently when it no longer recognizes my Username/Password anymore.



    I can't wait!

    - JC
    I use it because it has more filtering features and categories. It also is easier to read than my web browser but I can try out the new mobile.
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  7. Head of Technical Services

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    #10
    My apologies. I for one use the App myself and was enjoying using it until recently when it no longer recognizes my Username/Password anymore.



    I can't wait!

    - JC
    Yeahhh, we added new password encryption which is totally incompatible with the flimsy encryption Tapatalk uses for its integration. Those who are still logged in (if you log out you won't be getting back on it) can continue to use Tapatalk until we send it to its grave.
    Jordan
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