Weakness in the keyserver network (Was Re: Global Directory signatures)

Jason Harris jharris at widomaker.com
Sat Jan 8 05:49:05 CET 2005

On Fri, Jan 07, 2005 at 05:41:25PM -0500, David Shaw wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 07, 2005 at 05:00:08PM -0500, Jason Harris wrote:

> > So it will take a bit more programming to make the GD accept the bogus
> > keys.  Or, maybe throwing keys at the GD and having it spam the world
> > will be a sufficiently entertaining attack.
> I give up.  When you actually want to discuss possible solutions for
> the problem at hand, let me know.  I'm not all that interested in the
> "The GD is eeeeeevil, and if it just disappeared the world would be
> the Way I Want It To Be" stuff.

You misunderstand...

> Fact: The GD exists.
> Fact: It makes signatures.
> Fact: They leak.

I don't dispute those facts.  However, we had stopped discussing them
and moved on to DoS attacks on keyservers, lest you forget.

I was merely saying that sending keys to the GD will make it generate
unwanted bulk/commercial/confirmation/whatever emails, i.e., spam.
Even if these confirmation mails go unanswered and don't DoS the GD by
adding lots of bogus keys to its database, one may still consider making
the GD send lots of email to unwitting victims to be a sufficiently
entertaining (DoS, against the email recipients, and by chewing the GD's
bandwidth) attack.

Also, if some people take the bait and bump their actual keys off the
GD by responding to the attacker-induced confirmations, I think the
attackers would be even more entertained.

Jason Harris           |  NIC:  JH329, PGP:  This _is_ PGP-signed, isn't it?
jharris at widomaker.com _|_ web:  http://keyserver.kjsl.com/~jharris/
          Got photons?   (TM), (C) 2004
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