[Top] [All Lists]

Re: Bug#40394: forwarding an encrypted PGP message is useless

2002-04-09 14:30:02

At 3:33 PM -0500 4/9/02, john(_dot_)dlugosz(_at_)kodak(_dot_)com wrote:

But I think PGP uses "sign, then encrypt" which means software could
decrypt but leave the signature intact.  As I recall, this was thought to
be a non-problem with respect to re-targeting, because you can put the
recipient's name in the message at the application level.  e.g. "Dear Sue,"
is part of the message, so it can't be mistaken as a message to Joan.  But
that doesn't handle the issue of private information in the message.  It's
possible for Sue to reveal the signed message to someone else, who can
verify the signature, without needing Sue's key.  I would prefer if that
were impossible--without Sue's key, the message can't be authenticated

OpenPGP specifies that the signature goes inside the envelope. The reason
for this is that if the signature is outside the envelope, then the
attacker knows both the source and destination of the message. In short, it
provides cryptographically enhanced traffic analysis.

Yes, you're right, someone can decrypt a signed message and then send on
the signed, decrypted message. They can also take a screenshot of the
screen and send the image on to someone else. I know many people who do not
sign messages for this very reason. We added a non-signature integrity
check to OpenPGP messages so you'd have some way of knowing you got the
message intact without requiring the sender to sign it.

There are security risks to signing messages. A good friend of mine is of
the opinion that you should never sign anything that you aren't willing to
forward on to City Hall for inclusion in the public record. He never signed
anyone ele's key for this reason, let alone a message. I'll add that this
guy was an VP at an investment bank, not a cypherpunk with outlaw fantasies.

I'm not quite that extreme, but I don't sign anything that I wouldn't sign
if it were on paper, not on bits.

Mathematics cannot solve real-world security problems. If you're confessing
secrets to someone who gossips, you have security problems. If you send
signed, encrypted messages to someone who will decrypt them and send them
(or send a screenshot of your messagae) on, then you have the same security

A trusted channel to an untrustworthy person is not secure. And to
paraphrase Laotse, you cannot create trust with cryptography, no matter how
much cryptography you use.


<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>