Wells Fargo reported to me some time ago that they tried using digitally
signed S/MIME email messages and it did not work even for their _own employees_.

Also, in an effort to make their certs more valuable, CAs have made digitally
signed messages imply too much -- much more than they warrant or can even 
There are now all sorts of legal implications tied to PKI signatures, in my 
largely exagerated and casuistic.

If someone forges a digitally signed Citibank message, or convincingly spoofs
it, the liability might be too large to even think of it.

Using a non-signed codeword that the user has defined beforehand allows the
user to have a first proof that the message is legitimate. Since the user
chooses it, there is no privacy concern or liability for the bank. Of course,
here trust decreases with time -- a fresh codeword is more valuable. But if
the user can refresh it at will, each user will have the security that he wants.

Matt Crawford wrote:
On May 26, 2005, at 13:24, Ed Gerck wrote:

A better solution, along the same lines, would have been for Citibank to
ask from their account holders when they login for Internet banking,
whether they would like to set up a three- or four-character combination
to be used in all emails from the bank to the account holder.

Why couldn't they just use digitally signed S/MIME email? I'm sure that works just as well as signed SSL handshakes.

Oh.  Answered my own question, didn't I?

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