MLS: A Secure, Usable End-to-End Encryption Protocol

End-to-end encryption is an important tool that allows us to protect our data, keeping our conversations private and secure. However, most commonly used solutions can be overly complex and often lack the usability needed for wide adoption. Message Layer Security (MLS) is a new protocol that could address both of these problems, providing users with an encryption solution that is both secure and easy to use.

High-Level Overview

MLS is an open standard for secure messaging, providing end-to-end encryption between two or more parties. It is built on the principle of a “shared secret” that is shared by all participants in the conversation. The shared secret is used to generate a unique encryption key for each message, which is then used to encrypt and decrypt the messages sent between the parties. This provides a high level of security, as only participants in the conversation have access to the encryption keys.

The protocol is designed with user experience in mind, making it easier for non-technical users to understand and use. It uses a simple protocol that is designed to be implemented in a variety of messaging applications with minimal effort.

Security Features

MLS provides a high level of security through the use of encryption protocols and digital signatures. Messages are encrypted using the TLS protocol, and the digital signatures are used to verify integrity of the messages. This prevents malicious actors from decrypting the messages and modifying their contents.

The protocol also includes features to detect and prevent man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. This is done by using a key agreement protocol that requires the participants to establish an authenticated shared secret before any messages are exchanged. This shared secret can then be used to detect any MITM attempts, ensuring that messages are only sent between the intended users.


MLS is designed to be easy to use, allowing it to be implemented in a variety of messaging applications. The protocol is implemented in two parts, allowing for flexibility in how the keys are generated and managed. The first part of the protocol produces a shared secret and encrypts the messages, while the second part handles the key management and digital signatures.

This makes it easy to implement MLS in existing messaging applications, as the protocol can be tailored to the specific needs of the application. The protocol can also be adapted to allow for different levels of security, depending on the needs of the user.


MLS is an open, secure and easy to use end-to-end encryption protocol, providing users with a high level of security and usability. It is designed to be adapted to existing messaging applications, allowing for a wide range of implementations of the protocol. This makes it an ideal solution for users who want a secure and easy-to-use messaging solution.

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