[cryptography] Client certificate crypto with a twist

Ben Laurie ben at links.org
Wed Oct 10 12:15:43 EDT 2012

On Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 4:54 PM, Steven Bellovin <smb at cs.columbia.edu> wrote:
> On Oct 10, 2012, at 9:09 AM, Ben Laurie <ben at links.org> wrote:
>> On Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 1:44 PM, Guido Witmond <guido at wtmnd.nl> wrote:
>>> Hello Everyone,
>>> I'm proposing to revitalise an old idea. With a twist.
>>> The TL;DR:
>>> 1. Ditch password based authentication over the net;
>>> 2. Use SSL client certificates instead;
>>> Here comes the twist:
>>> 3. Don't use the few hundred global certificate authorities to sign
>>>   the client certificates. These CA's require extensive identity
>>>   validations before signing a certificate. These certificates are
>>>   only useful when the real identity is needed.
>>>   Currently, passwords provide better privacy but lousy security;
>>> 4. Instead: install a CA-signer at every website that signs
>>>   certificates that are only valid for that site. Validation
>>>   requirement before signing: CN must be unique.
>> http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-balfanz-tls-obc-01
> Sorry, I hit accidentally hit "Send".
> The issue with any sort of client-side certs is private key availability,
> and in particular moving it from client machine to client machine.  (I
> personally use about 4 different computers and three phones/tablets.  I
> need a secure, privacy-preserving mechanism to synchronize my key store.)

Possibly not everything you want, but...

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