Subject: Re: BPG call for use cases
To: Thor Lancelot Simon <email@example.com>
From: Curt Sampson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 07/22/2005 13:20:38
On Thu, 21 Jul 2005, Thor Lancelot Simon wrote:
> Not everyone does understand the underlying cryptographic operations;
> not everyone *can* understand the underlying cryptographic operations;
> not everyone *should have to* understand the underlying cryptographic
I wonder if we're talking about the same thing here? Here are some
examples of things that I think users really need to be able to
understand to use the system effectively.
* The difference between a public key and a private key.
* The difference between keys used for signing and encryption.
* The difference between a key and an identity.
* How keys and identities are associated.
* How one decides to trust a key.
The GPG interface obscures all but the first of those.
> Joe User ought to be able to walk up and say bpg --generate-key (or
> whatever the command-line syntax is) and get a resulting object that
> he can sign and encrypt with using the best current practice for
> signing and encrypting (probably RSA keys somewhere north of 1024
> bits, these days, with the key properties set to prefer AES and SHA512).
At first glance, that does not seem like an entirely unreasonable aim
to me. However, I suspect we would both agree that using a cryptosystem
provides nothing but the illusion of security if used incorrectly. (The
classic example would be the new ssh user who generated a keypair and
then sent me his private key.) So the question is probably more where we
draw the line.
In this case, can one reasonably use PGP without understanding the
difference between the signing and encryption keys, indeed, without
understanding that they are two separate keys? Can one reasonably use
PGP without understanding the difference between a key and an identity,
indeed, without understanding that they are two separate things?
If so, perhaps we do want a single "--generate-key" option as you
describe. But if not, than options such as that may merely open up the
ability to provide the illusion of security to some of the people using
that option, while not providing any real security.
Curt Sampson <email@example.com> +81 90 7737 2974 http://www.NetBSD.org
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