[Cryptography] PRISM-Proofing and PRISM-Hardening

Phillip Hallam-Baker hallam at gmail.com
Thu Sep 19 18:21:58 EDT 2013

On Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 5:11 PM, Max Kington <mkington at webhanger.com> wrote:

> On 19 Sep 2013 19:11, "Bill Frantz" <frantz at pwpconsult.com> wrote:
> >
> > On 9/19/13 at 5:26 AM, rsalz at akamai.com (Salz, Rich) wrote:
> >
> >>> I know I would be a lot more comfortable with a way to check the mail
> against a piece of paper I
> >>
> >> received directly from my bank.
> >>
> >> I would say this puts you in the sub 1% of the populace.  Most people
> want to do things online because it is much easier and "gets rid of paper."
>  Those are the systems we need to secure.  Perhaps another way to look at
> it:  how can we make out-of-band verification simpler?
> >
> >
> > Do you have any evidence to support this contention? Remember we're
> talking about money, not just social networks.
> >
> > I can support mine. ;-)
> >
> > If organizations like Consumers Union say that you should take that
> number from the bank paperwork you got when you signed up for an account,
> or signed up for online banking, or got with your monthly statement, or got
> as a special security mailing and enter it into your email client, I
> suspect a reasonable percentage of people would do it. It is, after all a
> one time operation.
> As with other themes though, one size does not fit all. The funny thing
> being that banks are actually extremely adept at doing out of band paper
> verification. Secure printing is born out of financial transactions,
> everything from cheques to cash to PIN notification.
> I think it was Phillip who said that other trust models need to be
> developed. I'm not as down on the Web of trust as others are but I strongly
> believe that there has to be an ordered set of priorities. Usability has to
> be right up there as a near-peer with overall system security. Otherwise as
> we've seen a real attack in this context is simply to dissuade people to
> use it and developers, especially of security oriented systems can do that
> of their own accord.
> If you want to get your systems users to help with out of band
> verification get them 'talking' to each other. Perry said that our social
> networks are great for keeping spam out of our mailboxes yet were busy
> trying to cut out the technology that's driven all of this.
> Out of band for your banking might mean security printing techniques and
> securing your email, phoning your friends.

Bear in mind that securing financial transactions is exactly what we
designed the WebPKI to do and it works very well at that.

Criminals circumvent the WebPKI rather than trying to defeat it. If they
did start breaking the WebPKI then we can change it and do something

But financial transactions are easier than protecting the privacy of
political speech because it is only money that is at stake. The criminals
are not interested in spending $X to steal $0.5X. We can do other stuff to
raise the cost of attack if it turns out we need to do that.

So I think what we are going to want is more than one trust model depending
on the context and an email security scheme has to support several.

If we want this to be a global infrastructure we have 2.4 billion users to
support. If we spend $0.01 per user on support, that is $24 million. It is
likely to be a lot more than that per user.

Enabling commercial applications of the security infrastructure is
essential if we are to achieve deployment. If the commercial users of email
can make a profit from it then we have at least a chance to co-opt them to
encourage their customers to get securely connected.

One of the reasons the Web took off like it did in 1995 was that Microsoft
and AOL were both spending hundreds of millions of dollars advertising the
benefits to potential users. Bank America, PayPal etc are potential allies

Website: http://hallambaker.com/
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