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[tor-talk] A Tor-based Public-Key Infrastructure
First off, this is my first post to tor-talk, so I'm not even really
sure this is the right place, but...
Recently, I've been toying with an idea inspired by a posting on
tor-talk by Mike Perry from September 2013 , in which alternatives
were discussed to Web of Trust (WoT); specifically, the suggestion
“Every time GPG downloads a new key, re-download it several times via
multiple Tor circuits to ensure you always get the same key.”
I've developed it more, and I've come up with a comprehensive public-key
infrastructure that associates e-mail addresses with arbitrary data
(such as public keys). We assume Alice is using the e-mail address
alice@xxxxxxxxx, and Bob is using the e-mail address bob@xxxxxxxx Alice
wants to get Bob's public key securely. My goal with this is slightly
different from most PKIs: I simply want either Alice or Bob to notice if
anything fishy is going on. They can then simply publish broadly that
something is off. (This would be a nice thing to eliminate; if anyone
has any ideas, feel free to suggest them).
The obvious solution is to have Bob upload his public key to bob.com,
and then Alice can simply use the three-tor-circuit method to download
Bob's public key. However, this has the flaw of trusting bob.com;
bob.com could simply serve up the wrong public key.
To solve this, Bob could periodically check that bob.com is serving up
the right public key. The intervals would have to be random, since Eve
could simply MITM everyone and serve up the wrong public key except when
she knows Bob usually asks.
However, this still has a problem: let's say Bob is a high-value target
like a journalist, and Eve is, for example, an intelligence agency. Eve
could simply sit outside Bob's house, and, whenever she sees a packet
into the Tor network, not MITM anyone for a few seconds. Thus, Bob's
illusion that his public key is being served up authentically is
maintained, but yet Eve can still MITM Alice (or anyone else). This
doesn't even seem too far-fetched; this is what NSA's QUANTUM injection
is, is it not?
To solve this, Bob would send some sort of traffic to the first relay
every (average latency of the tor network) / 2 seconds, which would
almost always be something meaningless (like a TLS warning message),
except occasionally when it's actually a request to bob.com to grab the
I have a few questions:
* Do I actually have to worry about QUANTUM-style attacks?
* Are there any vulnerabilities that I'm missing?
* Is this practical? Would it effecively DDOS the Tor network?
* Could I do this in any way that doesn't rely on DNS?
1. Available in the archives online @
On 11/01/16 07:00 AM, tor-talk-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
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