[jdev] end-to-end encryption -- making it happen

Peter Saint-Andre stpeter at jabber.org
Tue Jan 9 14:24:40 CST 2007


Justin Karneges wrote:
> On Tuesday 09 January 2007 11:33 am, Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
>> It's time for us to get serious about end-to-end encryption (e2e).
>>
>> Ian Paterson has been working hard on specs for e2e. I think we now have
>> the pieces in place for strong e2e between any two users, in a way that
>> even Aunt Tillie can use. Now we need to make it happen.
> 
> I read through the XEPs, and my initial reaction is ... holy smokes this is a 
> lot of material!  And we're worried programmers will have trouble parsing 
> CPIM? :)
> 
> I think the e2e XEPs may be great in the long term, but it will be years 
> before this is implemented widespread.  

So let's get to work, then. :-)

> First, we need thorough security 
> reviews of all the specifications by multiple parties.  

All the existing specs (RFCs/MUC/etc.) or the esession specs?

Security reviews of all the existing specs is a good idea, but that 
doesn't solve the e2e problem.

> Then we can 
> implement, and that will take time too.  

Right. Which is why it's time to get busy.

> Just to bring reality home here..  
> show of hands for developers even doing certificate validation with TLS?
> 
> Also, Ian also has a tendency to incorporate bleeding edge security algorithms 
> and procedures, that I'm not sure have received proper scrutiny..

The SHA family is broken. It's only a matter of time before SHA-256 and 
even SHA-512 are cracked (but those at least are a damn sight better 
than SHA-1). In any case these are negotiation options and we need to 
remain flexible with regard to algorithms as old ones are comprimised.

> The main thing I'd like to see are some security reviews by people who 
> actually design and implement crypto.  Let's hear from Peter Guttman or Eric 
> Rescorla.  We need prominent members in the security community that not only 
> will do a basic error check, but will also ask important questions like, "why 
> the hell are you doing it this way?" :)

See Step 1 in my previous email. A full security review of the esession 
specs by a prominent member of the security mafia is going to be part of 
this.

> I'll be implementing RFC 3923 until then.

Yes, and I see that you sign your email with a digital certificate using 
S/MIME. :-) IMHO RFC 3923 is simply not a go-forward technology because 
of the dependency on end-user PKI (hell, even very few members of the 
security mafia use S/MIME). The lack of a CPIM parser is the least of 
the problems with RFC 3923.

Peter

-- 
Peter Saint-Andre
Jabber Software Foundation
http://www.jabber.org/people/stpeter.shtml

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