[messaging] Are we pursuing real solutions for security?

Daniel Kahn Gillmor dkg at fifthhorseman.net
Tue Mar 11 10:33:20 PDT 2014

On 03/11/2014 01:26 PM, Tony Arcieri wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 6:15 AM, Daniel Kahn Gillmor <dkg at fifthhorseman.net>wrote:
>> Short Authentication Strings have potentially severe problems in
>> anything other than a human→human synchronous communications
>> environment
> This is the only use case of fingerprints I'm considering in this thread.
> I'm not talking about their use by machines in e.g. cryptographic protocols

The dialog box image you linked to (http://i.imgur.com/2bEWKNS.png) is a
joke about Internet Explorer, which is a classic example of
human→machine interaction (the user of the web browser is trying to
authenticate a remote machine, which is the web server), not human→human

This use case still a real security issue, and i haven't heard a
plausible answer yet about how SAS can be used to verify a web server's
key without introducing a number of troubling vulnerabilities.

Just because a SAS is useful for one case doesn't mean that exploring
other problem spaces is "studying the wrong solution".


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