[jdev] https://github.com/stpeter/manifesto and additional ideas

Ralf Skyper Kaiser skyper at thc.org
Fri Nov 15 17:10:48 UTC 2013


I agree that DNSSEC (and DANE) provides significant security advantages
compared to the status quo.

I note that with DNSSEC the trust is still with ROOT MASTER KEY which is
geopolitically aligned with US (and US policy).

I note that with pinning this problem goes away: The certificate no longer
depends on a ROOT MASTER KEY.

You mentioned two problems with pinning:

On Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 10:26 AM, Winfried Tilanus <winfried at tilanus.com>wrote:

> On 14-11-13 18:47, Ralf Skyper Kaiser wrote:
> Then to the certificate pinning: It has two problems:
> - It is not very user friendly, because it requires the user to judge if
> a change in the certificate is suspect or not.

This is not true. Please read the pinning draft and especially the part
about backup key. The user never has to make this decision.

> - There is no way to tell if the first certificate you accept is
> compromised or not. So you might pin a compromised certificate.

Correct. But we know this works. That's why SSH works. That's what SSH
uses. (And the attacker can not tell if the client has already pinned the
certificate or not. The attacker would risk exposure. A certificate change
would also trigger an alert when the attacker stops the attack. Performing
a active attack is high risk for the attacker and will most certainly be
detected - for one of the two above reasons).

> Still certificate pinning can help to detect and protect against MIM
> attacks. (That is how the Iranian eavesdropping program was detected, by
> a *security expert* who did certificate pinning).
> Now take a look at the manifesto. It states:
>  "provide user or administrative interfaces showing:
>   (...)
>   o a warning about any changes to a server's certificate"
> that last point IS certificate pinning.

Warnings dont work. We know this. The user just clicks through. It only
works for geeks (and i have my doubts there as well).

Certificate pinning would not allow the user to connect without reasonable
effort (re-installation of the software or manually  removing a pinned

> So I really don't understand the crusade you are undertaking here: first
> of all the certificate pinning you plea for, is already in the
> manifesto. Secondly the proposal of the manifesto also fixes one of the
> problems of certificate pinning, not perfectly but with the strongest
> mechanism we have available right now. You should be totally happy with
> the manifesto and sign it right away!

I think there is a place to support DNSSEC and PINNING.

(DNSSEC solves the first-connect problem, pinning protect thereafter).


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