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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 [1], 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 public key.

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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