Noteworthy Placebo Mongers


    3.0.0 • Public • Published


    Mad science p2p pipe across the web using webrtc that uses your Github private/public key for authentication and a signalhub for discovery

    We also want to support other key hosts beyond Github. If you have suggestions or want to help implement this check out this issue.

    npm install -g webcat

    If you have trouble getting it to compile try following the wrtc install instructions


    webcat lets you establish a p2p pipe to other github users over the web. Let's say I wanted to connect to @maxogden

    First I need to configure webcat once

    webcat --configure
    Enter your github username: mafintosh

    Then on my machine I run

    webcat maxogden
    hello max

    On Max's machine he runs

    webcat mafintosh
    hi mathias

    webcat will create a p2p pipe between connect me and max by using a signalhub to exchange webrtc metadata and Github private/public keys to authenticate that Max is actually @maxogden and that I am actually @mafintosh

    On my machine my prompt now looks like

    webcat maxogden
    hello max
    hi mathias

    And on Max's machine it now looks like

    webcat mafintosh
    hi mathias
    hello max

    How it works

    webcat works the following way

    1. First you sign a message that says you want to connect to another user using your Github private key
    2. You post this message to a known signalhub in the channel /{another-username}
    3. The other user does the same thing only they posts it to the channel /{my-username}
    4. One of you receives the connect message and verifies that it came from the right person by looking up the other users public key using{another-username}.keys (and this will work in the browser if Github adds CORS GET to this API!)
    5. You then create a webrtc signal handshake, sign it and post it to the other user's lobby
    6. The other user receives this and posts back a signed version of their signaling data
    7. You use this data to establish a secure webrtc connection between eachother that is encrypted using DTLS
    8. You are now connected :)

    warning. we invented the first 6 parts of this scheme. it has not been properly peer reviewed so use at your own risk :)

    we use the following crypto dependencies:

    • openssl from node core (rsa signing and https for fetching public keys)
    • dtls from webrtc

    Use cases

    You can use webcat to pipe files across the internet!

    On my machine

    webcat maxogden < some-file

    On Max's machine

    webcat mafintosh > some-file

    Pipe to yourself

    Assuming you have your github key on two different machines you can also open and pipe between them by using the same username.

    On one machine connected to the internet that has your Github key

    echo machine one | webcat mafintosh

    On another machine connected to the internet that has your Github key

    echo machine two | webcat mafintosh

    Programmatic usage

    You can use webcat from node as well.

    var webcat = require('webcat')
    var stream = webcat('mafintosh') // put in the name of the person you want to talk to






    npm i webcat

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    • mafintosh