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Mixmaster Security Issues
Apart from thwarting traffic analysis attacks, how does the security
of a Mixmaster Type II remailer packet compare to that of a
PGP-chained Type I message?
For example, is each remailer in the path limited to knowing only
the next remailer in the path? Is there any way for a remailer
(except for the first and last in the chain) to know how many hops
have already occurred or how many remain? Is there a session key
chosen via an RNG? If so, how random is the RNG? Is it seeded from
a pseudo-random source that's at least as secure as measuring
keystroke latencies, as PGP does?
Lance Cottrell's original "remailer essay" which proposed the Type
II concept envisioned, if I'm not mistaken, the use of PGP
technology to do the actual encryptions. Now it seems that another,
seemingly proprietary, implementation of RSAREF was used, instead.
What was the reason for this change?
Would any security be lost if Type I and II technology were combined
and a PGP-chained Type I packet were initially sent via Mixmaster?
This would would seem to provide the necessary protection against
traffic analysis while bypassing any *POSSIBLE* hidden weaknesses in
Mixmaster. IOW, if the outer Mixmaster "envelope" were "steamed
open", perhasps based on some hidden weakness in Mixmaster, the
inner, nested PGP envelope(s) would remain intact.
BTW, what volume of message traffic is the Mixmaster network of
remailers currently handling? Is much cover traffic necessary to
minimize delays while providing enough reordering to thwart traffic
analysis? (IOW, so a remailer with a reordering pool size of five
messages, and averaging one REAL message a day, wouldn't have to
keep a message for an average of five days before sending it on its
next hop, as a worst-case scenario).
Is my math correct in surmising that chaining a message through five
remailers, each with a reordering pool of five messages, could mean
that the message eventually leaves the chain as one of 5^5 (3125)
possible messages? (My math is a bit weak, so please feel free to
correct my methodology, if necessary.) If so, does that work in
reverse? Could a given output message that finally surfaced in the
clear be narrowed down to one of 3125 Mixmaster input messages
through traffic analysis? Or would the fact that the attacker
didn't know the exact number of hops utilized significantly increase
the odds against identifying the sender? What effect, if any, would
increasing the number of available remailers have on traffic