On Thu, Sep 6, 2018 at 11:33 PM Tim Ruffing via bitcoin-dev
<bitcoin-dev@lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
> Now you can argue that the attacker is storing encrypted traffic today to 
> decrypt it later.

That is the argument. We know for that state level parties are storing
unimaginable amounts of data for future decryption, that threat isn't

> Sure,
> but if that's your threat model then Bitcoin is probably not the right tool 
> for you. (And if

Why not?

> you insist that Bitcoin is the right tool, then you can and probably should 
> use it over Tor
> anyway.)

Currently, Tor provides _no confidentiality at all_ in that threat
model.  Part of why I think this enhancement is interesting is because
without it BIP151 doesn't actually add anything for those p2p
connections running over Tor, but with it -- it at least adds some
long term confidentiality hedge.

> It's not worth the hassle, would hinder adoption,

Why do you say this?

> impression of "bulletproof" security. Even worse, there will be too many 
> people that will suddenly
> assume that Bitcoin is post-quantum secure.

People already make that claim with respect to public key hashing.  I
don't think "we shouldn't improve security because someone will
mistake an improvement for perfection" is an an especially interesting

> Key exchange indistinguishable from random
> ==========================================
> I would rather love to see a simple ECDH key exchange as currently used but 
> with an encoding of
> public key that provides indistinguishability from random bitstrings. 
> "Elligator" does not work
> but "Elligator Squared" [1] does the job for secp256k1 -- it just doubles the 
> size of the public

Here is where I turn the argument around on you:   This requires
writing a non-trivial amount of moderately complex new cryptographic
code (which is not the case for PQ schemes-- that merely requires
dropping in pre-existing code) and yet I am not aware of any attack
model that this which would any improvement in actually delivered
security:  Bitcoin traffic is _trivially_ identifiable by its traffic

(Blockstream  previously wrote the SW forward transform for asset
generation, but this requires the inverse too, as well as glue code.
It also isn't clear to me if it's possible to make this construction
constant time, which would be okay for BIP151 purposes but if we
wanted to have a generic uniform encoder in libsecp256k1 I think we'd
prefer it be constant time? maybe?)

The scheme in the BIP thus far achieves the property that there are no
fixed bytes for brain-dead byte matching DPI traffic filtering or
anti-virus to match on (or accidentally false positive on).  AV false
positives are already an existing problem with the current protocol
and any fixed bytes in the communication are at risk for false
positives or targeted filtering.   And achieving that property
requires basically nothing: a test for the first byte of a generated
serialized pubkey and a negate on the private key if it was wrong.

> key. Together with the encrypted packet lengths, the entire data stream looks 
> like random then,

No, it doesn't-- due to traffic analysis.  Including, for example, the
pattern that 64-bytes must be sent in each direction, before further
data continues, bursts of traffic coinciding with blocks newly found
on the network, etc.

I don't believe that indistinguishable keys are actually useful
outside of the context of things like stegnographic embedding-- cases
where protocol 'metadata' doesn't tell you that a key is there

I suppose if the code already existed to do it I might as well go
"okay, sure why not", it's not going to harm anything (the added
computation time to generate the uniform encoding would probably be no
more than a 10% slowdown).  I wouldn't argue against it on the basis
that someone might believe it resulted in anti-censorship properties
that it doesn't have ... even though it's clearly the case... because
I categorically reject that form of argument. :)

I think your view on the two distinctive proposals is askew: PQ
agreement has a clear benefit under a plausible threat model and is
quite easy to implement... while uniform encoding is somewhat harder
to implement (though admittedly not very hard) but doesn't appear to
provide a concrete benefit under any threat model that I'm currently
aware of...

> The key derivation can be improved. It should include each peer's 
> understanding of its role,
> i.e., requester (or "initiator" is the more common term) or responder. At the 
> moment, an attacker
> can create a situation where two peers think they're in the same session 
> (with the same session
> id) but they're actually not. Also, it's possible for an attacker to 
> rerandomize the public keys.
> That's nothing bad by itself but anything which restricts the flexibility of 
> the attacker without
> adding complexity is a good idea. Something like
>    "salt = BitcoinSharedSecret||INITIATOR_PUBKEY||RESPONDER_PUBKEY" should 
> just avoid this issue.

I also prefer the contributory key model, but Pieter proved me on IRC
last week that the attack form that I was concerned about was not

Do you actually have an attack in mind that you can spell out here?  I
don't see a harm in changing that, but given that I'd already twice
talked myself out of proposing the same thing, I'd like to understand
if I'm missing something. :)

> Re-keying
> =========
> The problem with signalling re-keying in the length field is that the length 
> field is not covered
> by the MAC.

It's AAD data in the mac, unless I misunderstand the protocol.

> Deterministic rekeying rules may be better. Otherwise there will be 
> implementations that rekey
> every 10 seconds

That would be pretty harmless, since the rekeying operation costs
similar to one message decryption.

> and implementations that just don't rekey at all (rendering the 10 s rekeying
> interval in the opposite direction useless).

The protocol requires rekeying at least after a given amount of data
is transmitted. Peers that violate that can be disconnected. But it
could be unfortunately infrequent.

> Different policies also make it possible to
> fingerprint implementations.

I agree that is a good point.

Personally I'd prefer that we used a ciphersuite that effectively
"rekeyed" every message-- along the lines of the constructions
described https://blog.cr.yp.to/20170723-random.html   Unfortunately I
was unable to find _any_ well analyized  authenticated encryption mode
that has the fast erasure property.   It's too bad because it would be
trivial to adhoc one (e.g. use the extra 32 bytes from the poly1305
chacha run to update the keys for the next message).

> What's better: 5 min or 30 min? I don't know, but both are reasonable 
> choices. (Thats's very much

It doesn't much matter, except for fingerprinting reasons.

> like discussions about ciphers... What's better AES-GCM or ChaCha20/Poly1305? 
> I don't know, but
> again both are reasonable choices.)

Here we have a very clear motiviation.  On devices without hardware
AES/clmul constant time AES-GCM is _terribly slow_ compared to
ChaCha20/Poly1305. Performance on the slowest devices is where the
the ones where the ciphersuite choice likely matters at all (because
it could actually make a meaningful difference in their system's
ability to keep up), and the slowest devices that I'm aware of users
commonly using are also devices without good AES-GCM performance.

On fast desktop hardware the performance of AES-GCM and
ChaCha20/Poly1305 is also fairly close.

So when it matters, chacha20/poly1305 is higher performance by a wide
margin.  (Too bad, because otherwise I'd much rather use AES-GCM)

> I didn't think about this in detail: maybe there are a few meaningful cases 
> where padding could
> hide the message length without too much overhead. (I'm not convinced, just a 
> random thought.)

This can be done at the message level. E.g. new TX messages that round
tx sizes up to the next multiple. I don't think useful low overhead
padding is otherwise possible.

> written in stone, again to avoid complexity and to avoid fingerprinting.

Writing things in stone is a great way to never finish a protocol.
Right now we know we have new upcoming proposals for messages where
the overhead matters, e.g. we need a replacement addr message ASAP,
and there is ongoing work for transaction relay that would also
benefit from low overhead.

The norm in Bitcoin is to ignore messages you don't know how to parse
anyways,  so there is no complexity that arises from "may negotiate"
itself-- only from actually making use of that possibility in the
future, so the merits of any particular usage could be decided when
something wants to actually use it.  The purpose of pointing out "may
negotiate" is, I think, primarily to avoid a debate about who would
assign numbers from this limited space in the future-- and the answer
just is that they're implementation defined (e.g. by the BIPs using

> necessary anyway, so maybe just use IDs for anything? ASCII is nice if you 
> want to debug your code
> or some random network failure but that's hard anyway when encryption is used.

Right, encryption kills external analysers in any case. It's also easy
to just logprintf traffic (this is open source software after all),
which doesn't have a decoding problem.

>  - "The Re-Keying must be done after every 1GB of data sent or received" Hm, 
> every peer updates its
>  own sending key, so this should just read "sent" instead of "sent or 
> received"?

I think it says 'received there' mostly because it's implicitly
telling you that you can hang up on someone who violates it. I agree
it would be more consistent to express it sending side there.
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