[cryptography] can the German government read PGP and ssh traffic?

ianG iang at iang.org
Sat Jun 2 01:02:50 EDT 2012

good post.

I often think in terms of low-med-high security, where low is equivalent 
to mailing lists (spam threat), medium is online banking through web 
browsers, and high is payment systems using direct cash (digicash, 
bitcoin, e-gold, etc because they are instantly redeemable by thieves, 
not paypal).

Passwords might get you to medium.  Browsers also might get you to 
medium.  But not beyond.  A problem with grand federated dreams is that 
while they tend to work a micro/paper level, they also tend to trash 
their assumptions & shed their security as they scale up.

Would it be possible to describe in general words what LOA-1 thru 4 entails?


On 31/05/12 04:25 AM, Joe St Sauver wrote:
> Peter commented:
> #That users know passwords and they "work" is a large part of the problem
> #with passwords: the same low entropy security token is used for multiple
> #systems with varying levels of sensitivity.  When using passwords, both the
> #user and the end systems must, in general, be trusted with the security
> #token; so say a user uses the same password on 20 services then *all* of
> #those services must be secure *and* the user must keep the password secure.
> I'd suggest that there are some options that can reduce the credential
> explosion while avoiding inadvisable reuse of credentials on multiple
> systems, e.g., federated authentication as implemented with Shibboleth
> via federations such as InCommon (ObDisclaimer: I work with Internet2
> and InCommon, although not on federated auth per se (other than as a user)).
> One credential, issued by one's home institution, but usable in a privacy
> preserving and secure way across multiple providers.... I think that's a
> huge win for users and for the sites that work with them, and this is
> certainly a theme/objective of the current US NSTIC (National Strategy for
> Trusted Identities in Cyberspace) work.
> I'd also suggest that might be helpful to frame the discussion in terms of
> NIST 800-63 levels of assurance. Passwords will work for LOA-1 and LOA-2,
> but if you need LOA-3 or LOA-4, they won't. (Obviously the various LOAs
> involve more than just use of passwords or multifactor authentication,
> but for the purpose of this discussion, let's just focus on that one
> aspect of LOAs for the time being)
> Of course, one problem that we sometimes run into (at least in higher ed)
> is that it can be hard to find an application that motivates going all the
> way to LOA-4. Pretty easy to dredge up use cases that motivate people to
> get to LOA-3 and multifactor, but LOA-4, well that's a bit trickier.
> Regards,
> Joe
> Disclaimer: all opinions strictly my own
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