Forsta Message Vault
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README.md

Forsta Message Vault

This is a bot that performs secure autonomous monitoring of an entire organization's messaging traffic, storing all messages and useful metadata to support basic forensic investigation and export via a web-based UI.

Integrity of all data and its appearance through time is ensured via SHA256 fingerprints and Merkle-chains; proof of no regeneration of fingerprints is ensured via external blockchain association (using opentimestamps.org).

This is a descendant of the Forsta Messaging Bot codebase, which you can use for secure message receipt, processing, storage, and/or transmission on the Forsta messaging platform.

Please see the CHANGELOG for the current set of features!

NPM Change Log License

Quick Start

Hosted (by you)

These deployment buttons can be used to validate that this message vault will meet your organizations needs with as little setup pain as possible.

Deploy Deploy to Docker Cloud

Bundled Download (embedded database)

For serious deployments we recommend you run your own database server, but for small sites or testing these bundles may suffice.

Decentralized Data Security

What is important to Forsta is that your messaging data is only accessible to messaging clients that you are in control of, whether the client is an app running on the phone in your pocket, or a bot that is running on a server in your datacenter or the compute cloud of your choice.

Some organizations need to be able perform forensic e-discovery on past messages. Others may need to be able to automatically monitor for transmission of sensitive information. Or maybe they want something to automatically deliver sensitive information, or answer help-desk questions and handle after-hours inquires. Or individual users might want to be able to securely access their own message histories after buying a new phone and reinstalling their messaging client.

There are countless needs like these, and typically they are satisfied using centrally-managed infrastructure that can receive, store, process, and respond to messages as needed. Even systems that have pluggable architectures to facilitate outside development of these sorts of capabilities usually rely on a centralized approach. Unfortunately, the centralized approach provides a tempting, centralized target for outside attackers -- and it also requires users to trust that insiders won't abuse their access to all messages. Forsta is different.

Forsta does not offer anything that depends on centralized receipt, storage, or processing of users’ messaging data. Instead, Forsta makes it trivial for others to run messaging “bots” to perform these functions. These bots are just another kind of messaging client, like the messaging clients running in users’ browsers and on their phones. And just like the other messaging clients, Forsta bots send and receive end-to-end encrypted messages to do their work while running in a context controlled by the user.

Install Requirements

  • Node.js 8 (or newer)
  • Ruby
    • sass (gem install sass)

Installation

You can choose from our official docker image or NPM package depending on your preference.

Docker

To run a stack using docker-compose that includes postgres for storage, just get the docker-compose.yml file from the top level of this repository and run:

docker-compose up

NPM

npm install -g forsta-message-vault
message-vault

Developer Install

If you want to extend the Forsta Message Vault or just get closer to the code, you can install and run directly from the source code:

git clone https://github.com/ForstaLabs/message-vault.git
cd message-vault
make
npm start

You will also need to have an instance of Postgres available. Before running the server, be sure to set the following environment variables:

RELAY_STORAGE_BACKING=postgres
DATABASE_URL=postgres://postgres@localhost/postgres

(That database URL is for the default docker postgres you'll get if you do a make docker-db-run.)

Usage

Once running, the default port and listening address are 0.0.0.0:4096. If you are running locally you can access the web interface by opening http://localhost:4096.

You can change the listening address by setting LISTEN_ADDR to a valid host address for your server, E.g. something like localhost or 127.0.0.1 to only accept local connections.

The default listening port can be changed by setting PORT to any valid numeric port, e.g. 8000.

Storage is managed through Forsta librelay which currently supports local filesystem, Redis, and Postgresql. For more information about setting up custom storage see: https://github.com/ForstaLabs/librelay-node#storage.

License

Licensed under the GPLv3: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.html

  • Copyright 2015-2016 Open Whisper Systems
  • Copyright 2017-2018 Forsta Inc.