Axolotl Protocol for Cryptographically Secure Messaging: An Illustrated Primer


At Open WhisperSystems Winter Break of Code, I had the privilege to announce our integrated RedPhone/TextSecure roadmap for iOS and Android.  Code named Whisper, it offers a cross platform one stop solution for secure messaging and phone calls. This is a big deal! Close to a billion people are using data channel messaging and phone call applications insecurely, and the events of the past year show that this means they can and will be fodder for the surveillance industrial complex.

“To negotiate with that, we can’t lead with concessions, but rather with all the opposition we can muster.”

-Moxie Marlinspike, OWS founder, Wired 2013

With Whisper we will be offering a messaging solution that is indeed the opposition we can muster, at full force.

Axolotl Protocol

As part of my work on TextSecure iOS at WBOC I began implementing the secure messaging Axolotl Protocol designed by Trev P. and Moxie Marlinspike having several conversations with Moxie in the process.

Background reading



Towards the end of the Winter Break of Code, I began to see the protocol in the colors, helped no doubt by my liberal use of colored pens in my personal notes. Finding this useful, I transcribed my notes into a more readable format, and here are the results (note this is the Axolotl protocol as implemented in the TextSecure protocol, and the full Axolotl protocol is more general)

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