Secure e-mail provider Lavabit famously shut down in early August after nearly 10 years of operation due to government pressure shortly after it became known that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden used the service to send messages to human rights activists.
The 350,000 user accounts have been in limbo ever since and while many have likely moved on to another service, there will soon be a chance to retrieve e-mails stored in the Lavabit system. In a prepared statement, Lavabit founder Ladar Levison sympathized with users about the loss of personal data as he also used the service as his only e-mail account since its inception.
The two-part process is already under way with the first step allowing users to change their passwords with a newly secured SSL key. Lavabit said this step was created due to recent events in the news that led people to believe their account information may have been compromised. Phase two kicks in on October 17 and will allow account holders to access e-mail archives and personal account data so that it can be extracted.
Of course, a new SSL key may not mean very much at this stage in the game. A number of publications reported last month that the NSA has used supercomputers to crack encryption codes. They’ve also reportedly installed secret back doors into software with the help of various technology companies. It’s unclear whether or not this is the case but given recent leaks, I wouldn’t put it past the NSA.
Former Lavabit users are urged to visit https://liberty.lavabit.com to begin the recovery process.