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Re: Chain of Trusted Forwarders

2005-05-29 09:07:44
On Sun, 29 May 2005 03:14:23 PDT, David MacQuigg said:

Let's assume authentication works perfectly, so we are looking just at the 
cost/benefit to spammers of acquiring/burning reputable IDs.  Let's also

Broken right there.  Authentication never works *perfectly*.  You're looking at
the cost/benefit of acquiring a reputable-*appearing* ID.

Wander over to the police station in any town that has both a large college
and bars, and ask if there's any problems at all with fake IDs.

ignore the occasional hijacking of a reputable ID.  As you say, this must 
be a production process involving large numbers of names.  Let's look at 
the benefit first, as that seems easiest.  The system I imagine would give 
a spammer about an hour of operation with a B-rated ID before the downgrade 
notification propagates to all that care about a quick response.

Often, an hour is more than sufficient...

easily checked, and will cover almost all wannabe operators of Public Mail 
Servers.  For individuals, I would insist on a face-to-face with someone I 
trust, maybe one of my subscriber ISPs in the same town.  My representative 
could copy the individuals driver's license and credit cards, and snap his 
picture.  I would also run a check of credit and police records.

Congrats.  You've re-invented the PGP Web Of Trust, although usually people
don't bother doing the extra step of running credit and police records.  The
fact is that the PGP Public Keyserver system has only several million e-mail
addresses in it, and only some 100K (last I checked) in the "well connected
set" (meaning keys that *have* done this sort of thing enough to be
identifiable to anybody else in the set).

You might want to think about what lesson that teaches us about the *reality*
of the workability of this solution before hand-waving and saying "This is 

The fee for this service might include a bond, to be returned after the 
first six months of operation.  I really don't care if individual 
applicants find this burdensome.

The last I heard, Alan Ralsky was having no trouble making the mortgage on
a $1.5M home from his spamming operations.  Explain to me what level you will
set this bond at that will deter Mr Ralsky, but will *not* prove a major 
to the vast majority of the 5,000 or so ISPs in the US - most of whom are
small businesses that have perhaps 10% of Ralsky's profit margins.

More to the point - are *YOU* prepared to put up a bond that big for *your*
business?  You ready to put a quarter mill or so of *your own funds* up (no,
you can't borrow for this - your *own* cash, please..)

(Yes, you're going to have to make it that big - if a spammer can guarantee
that his mail Really Looks OK, they'll probably cough up the bucks.  And no
amount of hand-waving about "but they won't be able to do it multiple times"
will convince me - wander over to the ROKSO list and ask yourself why some
of the biggest names are on their 5th or 6th provider - if they're getting
connectivity via pink contracts, they *WILL* be able to get cut-rate bonds
posted via the same means....)

                                  My customers are email receivers, and I 
don't think I will lose much business if a few individuals decide that 
using a reputable ISP to forward their mail is easier than getting a 
"license" to operate their own Public Mail Server.

Let me guess - you're *also* OK with ClearChannel over half the radio stations,
and a total of 7 companies controlling 95% of record/CD sales?

Remember that *you* lose 100% of your business when you get borged by one
of the 'Big 5' ISPs in the upcoming consolidation that you seem to want to 

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