0xdeadbeef comes of age: making keysteak with GnuPG

Daniel Kahn Gillmor dkg at fifthhorseman.net
Fri Oct 10 18:23:57 CEST 2014

On 10/10/2014 12:01 PM, David Leon Gil wrote:
> (While I know that if a root CA were caught intentionally issuing an
> MitM cert for keybase.io or pgp.mit.edu would face likely
> delisting/bankruptcy.)

I'd like to believe that also, but i think that some of the members of
the CA cartel might be "too big to fail" in the current infrastructure.
 There's no chance that the CA will go bankrupt if they aren't delisted
(since the CA market is a lemon market), and every web site certified by
the bigger CAs has an incentive to argue against that CAs' delisting
(because it will break their web site).

And you're still relying on the targeted keyserver operators themselves
to resist malicious intrusions on their keyservers (whether via legal or
financial or technical coercion).

Furthermore, pointing everyone at one or two servers which may not have
the capacity to withstand heavy load (or reliable uptime) runs the risk
of DoS of all those users, and increases the likelihood that OpenPGP
certificates simply won't get updated when those heavily-targeted
machines go down.

For years, a lot of people suggested pgp.mit.edu because it was
well-known, short, and easy to transmit.  in practice, pgp.mit.edu was
often bogged down, and wasn't even brought up to a recent version of the
modern keyserver implementation (sks) until sometime last year, i think.
 (many thanks to the current pgp.mit.edu admins, btw, who appear to be
currently doing a great job and providing an often-unappreciated public


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