hashed user IDs [was: Re: Security of the gpg private keyring?]

Hauke Laging mailinglisten at hauke-laging.de
Thu Mar 10 11:23:56 CET 2011

Am Donnerstag 10 März 2011 06:17:25 schrieb Robert J. Hansen:

> while you could conceivably come up with an
> email address with high enough entropy, it's easier to just use
> anonymous services and dead-drop emails.

Of course, you can create a key with UIDs without name and email only but such 
keys are not very comfortable to have in your keyring ("What's that?"). Of 
course, you can add a UID annotation feature without having the hashing 

But not having the hashing feature makes it more difficult to get the key (and 
key updates). Keyserver access is pretty anonymous. If you put keys on a 
website (the address of which the one can have given you who gave you the non-
public email address) then that is another way to try to reveal the identity 
of the communication partner.

I appreciate your effort to consider the problem as a whole. It would be a 
pity to create something that turns out to be useless in the end. But that is 
not a problem here any longer: Those people who just want to protect their 
social connections by signing other keys without revealing their identity to 
those who don't know it already have no need to cover their target addresses 
because the marketing people and "just curious" normal ones are not capable of 
reading their email traffic. So there already is a use case. Your objections 
for the high security cases are very good to raise awareness but point outside 
the gnupg sphere.

You made a brute force calculation. Why should keyservers allow brute force 
searches for hash IDs? If you use millions of remotely controlled idiot PCs 
simultaneously for that then it may be hard to track them but then we are 
close to a DoS, aren't we?

PGP: D44C 6A5B 71B0 427C CED3 025C BD7D 6D27 ECCB 5814
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