Scare tactic?

Damien Miller djm at
Thu Sep 20 19:52:47 EDT 2007

On Wed, 19 Sep 2007, Nash Foster wrote:

> Any actual cryptographers care to comment on this? I don't feel
> qualified to judge.

I "discovered" this minor weakness in most of the open source IPSec
implementations in May of last year (identical checks for degenerate
exponents are actually recommended in RFC2142 section 

It didn't seem like this weakness could be used for much - an evil IKE
endpoint could use it to force disclosure of symmetrically encrypted
exchanges that were keyed from DH, but such an endpoint has a myriad 
of other ways they could disclose this same information. Protocols that
do not perform authentication after DH (e.g. Tor) get bit much harder

Anyway, I fixed OpenBSD's isakmpd[1], tighened the checks in OpenSSH[2]
and reported the problem to the security contacts of ipsec-tools/racoon
and openswan (two other open source IKE implementations).

Racoon and openswan never bothered bother to fix it despite me sending a
patch for racoon at least.  I recall a rather bizarre conversation with
an openswan developer who said he would only accept a patch if I wrote
him a testcase to go with it.

OTOH Racoon/ipsec-tools would benefit from the extra sanity checks
that Ben Laurie added to OpenSSL for the 0.9.8a release[3], assuming
it was compiled against that version or later.



The Cryptography Mailing List
Unsubscribe by sending "unsubscribe cryptography" to majordomo at

More information about the cryptography mailing list