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Re: Why encrypt intra-remailernet.
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I was finally able to read Lance's stuff. Great work! Ironically, I
arrived at the conclusion that his methods are necessary just before
downloading my mail (including his stuff). With that in mind, I have now a
new DRAFT: model. I anticapate continued discussions on this matters
mostly under that topic. Also, could you send me a copy of Chaum's paper?
I don't have metamail, but I can convert GIFs, if you could send it PGP -a.
> From: Nathan Zook <[email protected]>
> [ Re: remailers checking signatures on incoming messages ]
> > What benefit does Alice gain?
> > 1) Plausible deniability. Remember, "reasonable doubt." Remember Abscam?
> > The gov't is in a good position to fake source info. This squishes
> > that. (It squishes even better if Chaum _requires_ signatures.)
> She doesn't get that. A signature lets her prove that she sent a
> message. It doesn't let her prove she didn't send a message.
If Chaum only accepts validly signed packets, she can. (Or at a minimum,
the government must demonstrate that she compromised these other keys.)
> > 2) If Chaum sends Alice a copy of the message that failed the signature
> > check, Alice knows that someone is trying to spoof her. This
> > information may be critical in determining how serious her opponents
> > are.
> I don't really understand this threat that Alice may be "spoofed". Why,
> of all places, would her opponents try to spoof her through an anonymous
> remailer? Isn't this kind of like sending mail with no return address,
> and pretending it comes from someone else? This seems terribly subtle.
It's called "faking evidence". It's a real problem, especially if you are a
religious nut with guns. Or just a nut with guns. If the government knows
you are using the remailers, and wants to establish that you are using them
to conspire, this is the only way to fake evidence.
As for hacking PGP, I am convinced that the mixmaster-type remailers
require their own package. Coming soon.
> I can see the problem with standard packets in a chaining context, that
> they would shrink slightly in size as each successive remailer stripped
> off its envelope. Re-encrypting would solve this by providing more
> padding. OTOH you can actually stick padding into a PGP packet if you
> know what you're doing. I have a perl script around somewhere which will
> do this.
But padding is worthless if Eve runs some of the remailers. I know I just
changed the threat model, but stay tuned...
> > The most obvious one: Eve checks messages (in vs out) for matching tails.
> > If the tails match, the messages match. The only way around this is for
> > the entire message to be wrapped. Thus, the extropian requirement.
> It is true that encrypting messages intra-remailer would prevent this
> attack as far as that one remailer in the chain is concerned. But it
> seems to me that the message still suffers from this attack against the
> remailer network as a whole. This points up the fundamental problem with
> this form of encrypted reply block. They are really not secure unless
> the body itself gets transformed at each step as in Chaum's model.
This attack fails if the last link encrypts on the way out, since the
session key changes. Bob still gets the dupe message, Eve gets no info.
There may be another way to handle dupe messages, stay tuned...
> > When I say that the Mark I remailers are laughably easy to crack, I mean
> > laughably easy.
> None of this is news.
Then why did you say, "Let's not start rumors..."?
> > Get stuck? Need a hint? Resend a message. Watch for the repeat on the
> > out.
> That's why Chaum identified one of the main features of a remailer being
> that it would reject duplicates. Mixmaster does some version of this,
> although that needs improvement to really meet this attack.
Not if Chaum encrypts to Bob. Chaum encrypting to Bob pushes Eve back to
Wei Dai's work.
> > Alice has been hauled into court. The Feds claim that she is the one that
> > actually sent messages M1,...Mx to Bob through Chaum, even though these
> > messages have varied From: (and From) lines. As root, she cannot claim
> > that this is not possible. OTOH, if Chaum requires a match, the Feds would
> > have to claim that she compromised the secret keys of all of all the
> > cooresponding From: addresses. Much tougher.
> OTOH, if Alice actually has signed those messages, her jig is up pretty
> good, wouldn't you say? Do we really want to force people to use the
> nets in a mode in which they can be incriminated like this by a hostile
I suppose that depends on the threat model. If the gov't has control of
all the remailers, she's toast, except for being able to claim that the
message was forged. Here, she loses. In all other models, the gov't gains
only the proof that she used the remailer net. In and of itself suspicious
(some places and times), but presumably _not_ a hanging offense.
> > Seriously, if a sight is being shadowed, then it is insecure. It is to our
> > advantage to know this. You are right that we "don't care" where a message
> > comes from only if we assume that the message _didn't_ come from an LEA.
> > (Or a big corporation. Some of them probably have the power to do this,
> > too.)
> Hell, Detweiler has the power to do this! He's spoofed messages plenty
> of times. How do we know? Because of remailer logging. That's the real
> threat, IMO (the logging).
I mean the power to spoof a remailer, in the sense of processing messages
for it, possibly altering them. I admit, with intra-remailer encryption,
this is equivalent to compromising the key.
> > If it did, then the remailer net is under attack, and we most
> > definitely _do_ care about that.
> Even if a message comes from a fake address that is hardly evidence of an
> attack by a powerful opponent. It could just be an extra-paranoid
> legitimate remailer user who doesn't want to extend any more trust than
Yes, but... If the address faked is [email protected], then I have something
to be upset about, no?
> I meant to refer to encrypted messages identical in size and otherwise
> opaque, so that your apparent rate of output is constant.
Okay, but in practice we need a lot of garbage.
> > >Do you see your suggestion as protecting against Wei's in/out correlation
> > >attack?
> > Yes! Well, not by itself. My suggestions about "rational use of garbage"
> > do that. If Bob recieves x messages each tick, 0 to x of which are real,
> > Eve is hosed--if all messages are standard sized & encrypted!. Eve is even
> > more hosed if the x messages are concatenated & superencrypted. If Alice
> > sends y messages each tick, Eve is hosed. Even more so if the messages are
> > concatenated & superencrypted.
> How can Bob arrange to receive a constant number of messages each tick?
Every remailer knows to send Bob x messages per tick. It's right after his
PGP key in the database.
> Do all his messages come from one remailer? Or do all of the remailers
> which might send to him check among themselves before sending to him so
> they can mutually know how many fake messages to send?
Each remailer does its own work. The sum of equals is equal.
> IMO the real solution to the correlation attack is to have a constant
> message generation rate. That is sufficient. Solutions to the other
> attacks mentioned in Chaum are described in Chaum. (This attack was not
> described in Chaum's paper.)
But the correlation attack might mean more than just A sending to B. It
could be B recieves message, then commits act X.
> > >Of course it was Chaum himself in his 1981 paper (which I think is available
> > >from the CP FTP site) who described the duplicate-message attack. I don't
> > >see that inter-remailing encryption helps much, because the attacker can
> > >still notice that whenever they inject message A, _something_ goes to
> > >Bob. The real solution, as Chaum pointed out, is that the remailer must
> > >reject duplicate messages, even when separated by days. Doing this without
> > >keeping a database of all messages ever sent is left as an exercise.
> > >
> > I disagree. If identical input to Chaum does not produce identical output
> > to Bob, how does Eve coorelate them? Repeating, she can match the top of
> > the body of messages, so random tails reveal the actual encrypted message,
> > for whatever that is worth.
> I'm not sure what you mean by "matching the top of the body of messages".
> Are you referring to an encrypted reply block, which might be the same
> for two different messages to the same user? Or are you suggesting that
> messages would have some headers or some other structures at their top
> which would be preserved through a remailer?
No. I was refering to your trust in packing garbage on the end of a pgp
message. If the headers and bodies are encrypted separately, and the
remailers just tack garbage onto the end of the message, you get 12345xyz
one time, and 12345pqr the second. Match.
> > And if Bob receivs x packets per tick, or a BIG packet every tick, how does
> > Eve trace it?
> If the input to Bob really can be made constant across the whole remailer
> net then this does seem to largely protect against duplicate-message
> insertion, in conjunction with the intra-remailer encryption. However it
> would apparently also be necessary for every remailer to send a constant
> number of packets to every other remailer. Otherwise a bolus of
> duplicates into one remailer would all leave to go to the next remailer
> at once and would show up. This means that the net as a whole has to
> carry a constant traffic load on all inter-node links, which could mean a
> large cost in bandwidth load.
Your analysis, as I see it, is essentially correct. I think that the total
load can be time-dependent, but should be even across all remailers on each
tick. We need a lot of garbage in the net in order to cover all types of
> No, of course message size standardization is a necessary step. This has
> been recognized for 15 years.
So why mention it in this context?
> > > It's one thing if I send a message along with thousands of
> > >other people, and Bob gets a message along with everyone else. But if I
> > >send 10 messages and Bob gets 10 from that batch, that fact alone can
> > >help to link us up. So splitting my big message into 10 standard ones
> > >isn't that great if they're all sent at once. Ideally you'd want to
> > >dribble them out at some standard rate, a rate at which you always send
> > >a message whether you have something to send or not. But this may introduce
> > >unacceptable latency.
> > "Dribble them out at some standard rate". Yes. y packets per tick. Set y
> > equal to your average number of real packets per tick, plus 3 standard
> > deviations. Since you are chaining, the latency of you input will be less
> > than the latency of the remailernet.
> OK, but chances are your average number of real packets per tick is < 1,
> e.g. if a tick is a few hours and you only send one or two messages
> a day. So when you do need to send that 500KB GIF it's going to take a
> lot of ticks.
But I said average plus 3 standard deviations. If you know you are going
to send GIFs at some point, you make a point of setting you standard that
high. BTW, I envision a tick period of 30 minutes to an hour.
> I would sum up by agreeing with several points: the need for standard
> message sizes, and for a standard rate of message output. I am neutral
> on whether a remailer may want to super-encrypt a message to the next
> link in the chain (whether a remailer or an end user) if it happens to
> have a key handy. I don't see any harm in this and the remailer
> software will already handle this transparently on the receiving end.
> I disagree with the idea of remailers checking signatures. I don't
> agree that inter-node remailer encryption provides significantly more
> protection than padding. I think that encrypted reply blocks are
> unsafe even with inter-node remailer encryption. See Chaum's paper for
> ways that encrypted reply blocks can be used safely. We have also had
> some suggestions here for modifications to Chaum's method. And I don't
> see how you can arrange to receive a constant load from the net without
> a highly centralized system, which would have its own dangers.
Hopefully, I made my positions on these matters clear. As I said, I have
new ideas, several of which supercede these.
On multiple Request-Remailing-To:'s
> I don't follow how requiring pgp wrappers would kill this. Couldn't
> he create a remailing request to 10 remailers, wrap that in pgp, stick
> on a remailing request to 10 remailers, wrap that... and end up with
> the same effect?
Yeah. I realised this right after sending it. Genius that I am. I guess
you have to limit the number of remailers in the multiples to 1. Even
then, you could end up with a remailer-based spam. (joy) I guess you have
to, as a matter of policy, allow 1 remailer and nothing else or any number
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