[Standards-JIG] The Great Encryption Debate

Ian Paterson ian.paterson at clientside.co.uk
Fri Aug 19 13:19:47 UTC 2005


> > > may sound silly to use X.509 without a CA, since security-wise 
> > > that's no better than simply using plain RSA keys.
> What the Certificate format brings is signed metadata 
> (notably the JID). It also means the key format is 
> "ready to use" for things like TLS.

I'm not entirely sure that signed metadata is important when people are
validating unsigned keys (out-of-band). How does it help a
man-in-the-middle if Bob associates Alice's public key with another JID?

*If we don't need signed metadata*, then I'm not very convinced by the
"ready to use" argument either. All clients will need the code to turn a
public key into a cert. So does it really matter when the cert is
created and by who?

I'm still concerned about the lack of compactness of self-signed certs
when compared to SubjectPublicKey. I expect people will end up
publishing quite a few public keys (from several different CAs and WoTs,
for each client machine they use).

- Ian




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