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Re: Mixmaster Security Issues

   Date: Wed, 30 Aug 1995 18:17:02 -0700

Can't answer all of your questions, but I'll answer the ones I can,
which will save time for someone else to answer the rest of them.

   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?

Well, on the one hand, PGP uses IDEA, which is arguably better than
triple-DES, but PGP also only uses the key length(s) of choice, which
is to say that if you use the minimum length, you have very little
security.  Also, Mixmaster packets remain the same length from hop to
hop, so they are harder to track.

Not every PGP remailer reorders.

   For example, is each remailer in the path limited to knowing only
   the next remailer in the path?

And the previous one.  For PGP-chaining, that tells you a lot, because
you can observe the message length getting smaller.

   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

No.  The hop list is a constant length, and the list is back-encrypted
through the chain, so that all you can ever know is the next hop,
which the previous remailer couldn't know because it couldn't decrypt

And not even the first or last necessarily!  Both the source and
destination are running Mixmaster (by definition).  There's no reason
why mixmaster must remail -- eventually it delivers.  And someone
sourced the mail using Mixmaster.  If the source or destination is not
on an advertised remailer, or the destination was non-local to the
destination remailerthen it's pretty obvious that someone on that host
is an endpoint.  But that's one of the beauties of Mixmaster --
there's a large security increase in setting it up as a remailer and
advertising it.

   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?

Security is increased.

   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?

You're ignoring the case where it is to/from a machine that runs a
public remailer.

-russ <[email protected]>    http://www.crynwr.com/~nelson
Crynwr Software   | Crynwr Software sells packet driver support | PGP ok
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