[messaging] Introduction secrets and "unlinkable rendezvous" protocols

Trevor Perrin trevp at trevp.net
Sat Feb 15 16:50:55 PST 2014

>> On 02/14/2014 01:38 PM, Trevor Perrin wrote:
>>> (C) With no computers, there's various ways to agree on enough entropy
>>> for an unlinkable online rendezvous:
>>>  4. Exchanging public-key fingerprints used to retrieve Diffie-Hellman
>>> public keys (my suggestion).

Here's a better sketch of the "DH rendezvous" idea, fwiw.

Users could create signed "introduction certificates" weekly, containing:
 - their long-term public signing key
 - a short-term DH key
 - their mailbox server's address
 - an expiration date
 - a signature over all values

Users would publish these certs into an "introduction directory",
which would be a widely mirrored repository of unexpired introduction

During an offline meeting, users would exchange their long-term
fingerprints.  They would then enter the other party's fingerprint
into their app, which would perform some pre-rendezvous steps:
 - Retrieve the other party's introduction cert by querying one of the mirrors.
 - Calculate the DH shared secret between both parties' short-term DH keys.
 - Decide whose mailbox server to use as a rendezvous server, based on
the shared secret.  Also use the shared secret to derive the meeting
ID and a symmetric key for encrypting KeyExchange messages.

If Alice's mailbox server is being used for rendezvous, Alice will do
the following:
 - Alice will have a bunch of "rendezvous tokens".  Alice's mailbox
server gives these tokens to its users via a blind signature scheme,
so it can recognize authentic tokens but can't trace them.
 - Alice will use a rendezvous token to register the meeting ID with
the mailbox server, and post up her encrypted KeyExchange (over Tor).
The mailbox server will learn that one of its users is performing a
rendezvous, but won't know that it's Alice.
 - Bob will contact Alice's server using the meeting ID, post his
encrypted KeyExchange, and retrieve Alice's.
 - Alice will retrieve Bob's KeyExchange and the rendezvous is complete.

Advantages vs. rendezvous server with introduction secrets:
 - The "introduction directory" is handling public data so can be
mirrored widely (unlike a "rendezvous server" handling low-entropy
meeting IDs).
 - The mailbox/rendezvous server only stores rendezvous messages
associated with its own users, so is less susceptible to being flooded
with junk.
 - The "rendezvous latency" is reduced since only KeyExchange messages
need to be exchanged through the mailbox/rendezvous server (not key
agreement messages).
 - Rendezvous can be done based on public data (fingerprints), instead
of requiring a prior exchange of secrets.


More information about the Messaging mailing list