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Re: Certificate proposal

At 09:04 AM 10/10/95 -0700, Hal wrote:
>Still, there is a problem here: how did the bank know that it _should_
>honor requests to withdraw money from bank account x if they are signed
>with a certain key?  How did it determine that that is a valid key, if it
>never had a secure channel to the person opening the account?  I think
>the answer is clearly that it cannot, that it must have had a secure
>channel.  Would a certificated key presented by Alice have been
>sufficient to create such a channel, do you think, or would a face to
>face meeting have been necessary?  (Or would an uncertificated key be

I think you're probably right, though a one-way secure channel is enough.
If Alice has a trusted copy of the Bank's key, she can open her account and 
get her key certified by them without them having to trust her key (modulo 
little details like government requirements that banks get positive 
identification for their accountholders.)

>What if you are accessing the bank via a MITM?  Consider this example:
>Alice writes you a check, signed with a key (without her name) which
>has a credential from the bank saying that it will back up the check.
>But you need the bank's key to check the credential, so Alice gives it
>to you, or you get it from a public cache.  Suppose the bank's key is
>fake, and Alice is defrauding you.  How do you tell?  

With online clearing, you'd be able to tell because Alice's check cleared
and your bank (which we're assuming you've got a secure channel to)
says you've got the money.  Or in the case of digicash, because the cash
Alice's bank gave you was good.

>Wouldn't a certificate on the bank's key be necessary, one which ties the
>name and reputation to the key?
Maybe not, but it would sure help.

>Or what if the bank really is and has always been behind a MITM?  You say
>that it is more profitable for the bank not to abscond with your money.
>What about the MITM?  He doesn't make any profits until he cheats.  

Hmmm.  That one's interesting; he pays fakes everything for a while,
including paying out money, and then pulls off the Big Con.

>It seems to me that a lot of protocols assume the existence of secure
>channels.  Yet the MITM attack shows that public key cryptography does
>not in and of itself provide a secure channel.  This is a problem which
>IMO should not be ignored simply because it is inconvenient.

#                                       Thanks;  Bill
# Bill Stewart, Freelance Information Architect, [email protected]
# Phone +1-510-247-0664 Pager/Voicemail 1-408-787-1281