[cryptography] preventing protocol failings

Ian G iang at iang.org
Tue Jul 12 18:56:50 EDT 2011


On 13/07/11 8:36 AM, Andy Steingruebl wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 2:24 PM, Zooko O'Whielacronx<zooko at zooko.com>  wrote:
>>
>> When systems come with good usability properties in the key management
>> (SSH, and I modestly suggest ZRTP and Tahoe-LAFS) then we don't see
>> this pattern. People are willing to use secure tools that have a good
>> usable interface. Compare HTTPS-vs-HTTP to SSH-vs-telnet (this
>> observation is also due to Ian Grigg).
>
> I reject the SSH key management example though.

The SSH-vs-telnet example was back in the mid-90s where there were two 
alternatives:  secure telnet and this new-fangled thing called SSH.

What's instructive is this:  secure telnet told the user to do 
everything correctly, and was too much trouble.  SSH on the other hand 
got up and going with as little trouble as it could think of at the 
time.  Basically it used the TOFU model, and that worked.

The outstanding factoid is that SSH so whipped the secure telnet product 
that these days it's written out of history.

(Granted, SSH wasn't really thinking about the large scale admin issues 
that came later.)

iang



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