[Standards] XEP-0384: Staleness of devices

JC Brand lists at opkode.com
Tue Aug 28 21:17:17 UTC 2018

Am 28. August 2018 16:42:13 MESZ schrieb "Philipp Hörist" <philipp at hoerist.com>:
>Yes you can call this a Heartbeat message, but it doesnt solve the
>it only makes it less likely.
>I as a client developer want to secure my users Communication, i cant
>depend for that on other devices sending me Heartbeat messages and
>advancing the rachet.
>I always have to have measures in place when a device does not answer
>for a
>long time.
>This does not even mean the device behaves wrong, it could just be that
>is offline for a month.
>If i dont stop encrypting to it after X messages, an attacker who gets
>hold of this device can decrypt all messages a full month back.
>As for the question if an amount X should go into the XEP. I dont think
>this is a good idea.
>After how many messages you should stop encrypting depends on your
>model, and how and for what you use the application.
>500 could be way too much or a way too low number.

I agree that choosing a specific amount is difficult because it's context dependent and we should therefore probably avoid doing so. 

However I do think it makes sense to mention in the XEP the issue  Paul brought up. 


>I think every application should set their own numbers.
>Am Di., 28. Aug. 2018 um 16:28 Uhr schrieb Jonas Wielicki <
>jonas at wielicki.name>:
>> Note, I’m not familiar with OMEMO and it’s ratchet system, so take
>> with a
>> grain of salt.
>> On Dienstag, 28. August 2018 13:26:51 CEST Paul Schaub wrote:
>> > Another countermeasure against stale devices is sending empty
>> > ratchet-forward messages on a regular basis. Those messages do have
>> > same format as KeyTransportMessages [3], in that they do not
>contain a
>> > body. Their purpose is to forward the ratchet without user
>> > The downside is, that a device has to do this on its own, so this
>is not
>> > a good defense against attackers devices.
>> Would it be possible for devices which exist and are used by a user,
>> not
>> for sending (for whatever reasons) to auto-reply with an empty
>> with
>> e.g. a probability of 1/10 or whatever to each message? This would
>> advancement of the ratchet (If I Understand This Correctly) without
>> interaction and it puts the burden on the device which still wants to
>> receive
>> messages (i.e. if an attacker chooses to not send these messages,
>> hurting themselves).
>> But yeah, I have no idea about OMEMO. Just throwing stuff in.
>> kind regards,
>> Jonas_______________________________________________
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Sent from my Android device with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.

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