At 04:54 PM 6/10/2003 +0100, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Honig
> Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003 6:42 PM
> Subject: Re: Keyservers and Spam
> Why not publish your key under a bogus name that goes no-where?

The answer is simple. I cannot publish a PGP under a false name, because if
I did, who would sign it to attest that the genuinely did belong to the
person to whom it claimed to belong? Would you?

If _anyone_ signed a key with a bogus name on it, and got found out, then
_their_ credibility as a key-signer would go down the plug-hole, which in
turn would mean that PGP users would decrease their trust in the key of the
signer, which in turn would mean that any OTHER key signed by that signer
would immediately become less trusted.

I have to partially disagree, in the area of well known pseudonyms. Why would you want to contact someone you've never actually met? Because of their reputation, that's why. So what if the name by which you know them is fake, in the sense of not being the one on their driver's license? Like, for example, Mudge, Hobbit, Lucky Green, Black Unicorn. Three of whose keys I have signed in good faith, to attest that if you trust me, and send mail to one of those, it will get to the individual you thought it would get to, even though you don't know their name. Did that make sense?

That still doesn't solve your fundamental problem, though... I bet they all get spam.

I have had to my original question suggest that there simply _is_ no
solution, except live with it. Either don't publish your key (which means
that no-one can find your key even if they have a priori knowledge of your
email address), or do (and accept the price in spam). This seems to be the
reality of how it is. This being the case, I am now starting to wonder if it
might be time to invent a new PGP keyserver protocol which addresses this
issue. Keyservers could then start to implement the new protocol, and, in
time, the problem would be solved. Does this make sense? Is this reasonable?

There's a relatively simple hack that helps in this context; have the keyserver refuse to return more than some small number of keys for any query. If I ask for the keys of all the "Jill"s, it'll say "too many... refine search". (There are 252 on If I ask for "Ramonsky" it'll hopefully return just a couple (or in this case none). It should refuse too many requests in a row from a single source. By the time a spammer with a list of common names gets around this with either a long, slow attack, or a distributed attack, much of the value will have gone out of it for them.


Greg Rose                                       INTERNET: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Qualcomm Australia          VOICE:  +61-2-9817 4188   FAX: +61-2-9817 5199
Level 3, 230 Victoria Road,      
Gladesville NSW 2111    232B EC8F 44C6 C853 D68F  E107 E6BF CD2F 1081 A37C

--------------------------------------------------------------------- The Cryptography Mailing List Unsubscribe by sending "unsubscribe cryptography" to [EMAIL PROTECTED]

Reply via email to