Web Key Discovery

Sam Bull gnupg-devel at sambull.org
Fri Apr 6 17:22:18 CEST 2018

Sorry if duplicate messages get sent, I've already replied to this, but can't
find the email in my sent items or on the mailing list... Not sure what's going

On Fri, 2018-04-06 at 10:08 +0200, Bernhard Reiter wrote:
> Am Dienstag 03 April 2018 13:02:17 schrieb Sam Bull:
> > Why can't the web key discovery take the same approach?
> Because we want to defend to some extend against an email provider 
> manipulating the pubkeys it hands out for their users. Otherwise we are less 
> end-to-end. Therefore we essentially assume that one email address is one 
> identity.

I'm still not understanding how this adds any security at all. Surely, if an
email provider is manipulating the pubkeys, it would just create keys with
matching user IDs. What is the proposed attack that a matching user ID is
protecting against?

> My suggestion is: As you are the only user on the server and completely 
> controlling it: Add a new identity each time you create a new email alias
> automatically on a server. If you want more security use a hardware token.

Wouldn't the server need to have the private key in order to add additional user
IDs? That would obviously be a big drop in security. I already have 1000+
addresses, so it also seems a bit extreme sending a PGP key with 1000s of user

> Note that someone how gets to control your server, could just create a new 
> email aliases and a completely new keypair they control and divert emails 
> send to you, so you cannot defend against all of these attacks anymay.

If the private key is on there, then they would also be able to secretly monitor
all my communications.

Also, I am assuming because WKD is done with HTTP requests, that I can run the
WKD on my personal server, while email is handled by my email provider.
Therefore, actually, they could not divert emails sent to me, without also
compromising my email provider or DNS.
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