[rc5] SOURCE CODE AND REQUESTS FOR OTHER PLATFORMS

Seth D. Schoen sigma at ishmael.nmh.northfield.ma.us
Sun Jun 22 02:20:10 EDT 1997


David Sowder wrote:

>Like I said in my last post, the personal proxy could be placed on a
>machine that did nothing else (I.e. a 286 or 386 that's just lying around)
>and would be restricted to only communicate on the RC5 ports.  In this
>way, the worse thing the untrusted code could do would be to send bogus
>information to the RC5 servers and/or clients, which would be a stupid
>thing for the RC5 organizers to program into _their_ personal proxy code,
>or to erase everything on the personal proxy machine's hard drive, which
>again would be a stupid thing for the RC5 organizers to put in their code.

>This arrangement would in effect be the same as someone else running the
>v1/v2 gateway, just that it would be running on your machine.

I think that once again there is a problem satisfying conditions which
all seem to be required by the projects' organizers:

(1) Any published source code cannot be trusted, in the sense that
protocols that it implements can be compromised by modifying the source
code.
(2) Only trusted code (and coders) can know the v2 protocol.
(3) Only code written by someone who knows the v2 protocol can implement
a v1/v2 gateway.
(4) A trusted coder would not want to allow untrusted code to submit
blocks to the project [this one, as I said, I'm not sure of, but it seems
to be the rationale for expiring protocol v1]

Then, I conclude:

Everyone trusted the knowledge to create a gateway will be unwilling to
to create a gateway which will interoperate with published source code.

(Ironically, someone breaking the security-through-obscurity of the
new protocol could actually launch a "spoofing attack" to submit
valid data: they could make a functional v1 client illegitimately
pretend to be a v2 client by using the v2 protocol, which they had
reverse-engineered, in order to permit the v1 client to submit its
(accurate) data to the keyserver.  I would find it very humorous
if somebody actually did that -- like breaking into a bank vault to
make a deposit after the bank is closed.)

-- 
Nothing is more dangerous for man's private morality than the habit of
commanding.  The best man, the most intelligent, disinterested, generous,
pure, will infallibly and always be spoiled at this trade.
            -- Mikhail A. Bakunin (thanks to Rabbi Albert Axelrad)
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