Robot CA at toehold.com
Fri Dec 6 12:55:44 2002
At 17:03 2002-12-05 -0500, you wrote:
>On Thu, Dec 05, 2002 at 03:34:54PM -0600, Kyle Hasselbacher wrote:
>> All this gives us is a binding between a key and an email address.
>> It makes it safer to use that key when sending mail to that address.
>> It's better than using an untrusted key because you can be more sure
>> it will work and not require the user to backtrack somehow.
>Agreed, BUT: in the real world, there is no way to guarantee that
>every key holder will get this email checking signature. Therefore,
>there will be some keys with, and some keys without. Therefore we
>must handle both cases. My thinking is that since we have to handle
>both cases, there is no benefit derived here.
>If Granny gets Alice's key, and it doesn't have the signature, her
>only proper course of action is to use the key untrusted since she
>doesn't know if Alice has had her key validated or not.
>I think that an email checking robot could be very useful in closed
>communities - say, the Debian folks, a university, or even a
>particular ISP or email provider (the "hotmail.com" robot?). In a
>closed community, Granny CAN say "if the key isn't signed, I won't use
>it". This is why some companies have a "official key signer" key, and
>the Debian folks have their own authentication scheme.
>Doing this for all email across communities has no benefit that can't
>also be gotten via smart code on Granny's computer, and since we need
>that smart code anyway for those keys that aren't email-validated, why
>do the work twice?
>> >We've discussed one reason thus far: it makes it a lot harder for
>> >Mallory to perform a DoS attack against by publishing a bogus "Alice"
>> >key. Still, remember that Granny's software can defeat the same
>> >attack by just encrypting to all "Alices".
>> If Alice doesn't have a key at all, Granny's software hasn't defeated the
>> attack. It's also not defeated if Granny has a bogus key but not the real
>> one (though this seems less likely).
>If Alice doesn't have a key at all, then all schemes fail. Let's
>presume at least that Granny can get some of Alice's keys.
>If Alice has multiple keys, and one is validated, then Granny
>encrypted to the validated one.
>If Alice has multiple keys, none validated, Granny encrypts to all
>Granny can get.
>Now, since Granny has no way to know if Alice has gotten her key
>validated, Granny can't tell the difference from the first case and
>the second case where she was unable to get the validated key. This
>is the case for all non-closed communities.
>(Yes, I know Alice could tell Granny to look for the email validation
>signature, but if Alice can communicate securely with Granny, then
>Alice could just read her a key fingerprint as well).
No, Granny will NEVER read any fingerprints!
And Alice might tell Granny to use the robot, (if it's not done
automatically by her software). And ask her about which e-mail adress she uses.
NB This can be implied TODAY with GPG and GPG Relay + key submission to the
In the near future it can be done invisibly by e-mail software!