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Re: True Names and Webs of Trust
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>> Zimmermann clearly understood all of this, but I don't think he
>> documented it properly. In my opinion, everyone should always
>> think in terms of man-in-the-middle attacks when signing a public
>> key. Mandating "True Names" is just an overconservative approach
>> suitable for people who don't fully understand the issue.
wilcoxb> My point exactly. My post "Stop Fixating on True Names" was
wilcoxb> an attempt to clarify things to said people.
Then you didn't clarify very well; to wit:
wilcoxb> Okay now does anyone want to do any of the above two things
wilcoxb> to me? If not then *don't* *worry* about whether my public
wilcoxb> key is signed by anyone or not. It makes zero difference to
wilcoxb> you until such a time as one of the above motivations
wilcoxb> Zimmermann et al. were/are naive to emphasize the Web of
wilcoxb> Trust as a means of introducing strangers.
The first paragraph clarifies nothing because it is dead wrong; the
second because it is arrogant, offensive, and dead wrong.
wilcoxb> From this perspective, the Web of Trust is the soul of
wilcoxb> public-key cryptography. From the other perspective ("Never
wilcoxb> ever sign a key which you got off of a bulletin board!"
wilcoxb> warns "pgpdoc1.txt") it is a cute anachronism.
The Web of Trust is a means of thwarting active attacks;
nothing more, nothing less. "Perspective" has nothing to do with it.
Given that active attacks are hard to explain and understand fully,
the PGP docs are correct to advocate a conservative approach to
signing keys. Novices *should* be taught to take the Web of Trust
seriously. (Yes, I am retracting my own statements quoted above; the
more I think about it, the more I think it is very hard to teach a
novice the details of active attacks.)
Moreover, I suspect that active attacks are more likely today than
when those docs were written, which makes their advice precisely the
opposite of an "anachronism".
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