[linux-elitists] GPG luser rant

Joey Hess joey@kitenet.net
Fri Apr 13 14:05:20 PDT 2001


Karsten M. Self wrote:
> While I haven't done so, I could as well create a highly secure key kept
> isolated (say, in a safe, or an encrypted file), and used only on a
> stand-alone system.   PKI allows for multinymity.   The infrastructure
> doesn't currently provide for good support of this (which of the four
> likely keys is Karsten using in this message, and how critically should
> I trust it?).  But support could probably be provided.

> I don't buy the argument that no security is preferable to an only
> moderately secure system.

I hold that no security, with the recipient well aware of that fact, is
*hugely* superior to a false sense of security fostered by systems that
claim to be secure. I would much rather reduce a scam artist to sending
unsigned mail purporting to be from me, since they couldn't get at my key,
than have them send mail signed with my lowest-security level key which
they easily obtained.

> As I understand, WEP was pretty much a weak algorithm from the get-go,
> offering little more than access control to wireless devices and
> networks, and as it turned out, flawed to boot.

Many things appear weak, flawed, and easily cracked in retrospect while
in their time they seemed solid. I'm not going to rule out the possibility
that in 5 or 10 years we'll be looking back at the the current crop of
prime-factorization-based cryprosystems in the same light. 

And I'm much less sanguine about the overall security of gpg than I am
about the validity of the underlying math -- gpg has *already* been shown
to have bugs with security implications, and it has more bugs -- all
programs do.

-- 
see shy jo



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