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Why Not Replace SSL Certificates With PGP Keys?

vik (17857) writes | about a year ago


vik (17857) writes "The whole SSL process has been infiltrated by the NSA, GCSB and other n'er-do-wells. If governments want a man-in-the-middle certificate they simply issue a secret gagging order to the CA to make them issue one. Consequently "certified" SSL certificates can no longer be trusted. Ironically self-issued certificates are more secure, but not easily verified.

However, PGP/GPG keys can be trusted and independently verified. They are as secure as we can get for now. Why not replace the broken SSL CA system with GPG/PGP encryption keys? Make the NSA-infiltrated stuff obsolete, and rely on a real-world web of trust?"

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Because sabotage (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about a year ago | (#44787355)

Re:Because sabotage (1)

vik (17857) | about a year ago | (#44787639)

IPSEC packet handling is separate from the PGP algorithm. Because one application using PGP may have been sabotaged, this does not mean the entire PGP system is broken, or that using SSL is any safer. There is stil a strong case to replace SSL with PGP.

Re:Because sabotage (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about a year ago | (#44787909)

You're missing the point.

Any coordinated attempt to establish a secure industry standard which has no backdoors or intentional weaknesses will be subject to infiltration and sabotage efforts. It doesn't matter what technology is involved.

That's not to say it's impossible in the future, but it does explain why it hasn't been done yet.r />

Re:Because sabotage (1)

darue (2699381) | about a year ago | (#44788353)

probably true

Problem solved, move on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787677)

The problem you're describing can surely be avoided through the use of certificate pinning. There are plenty of implementations of this including TACK [] from Moxie Marlinspike. There's also his Convergence [] which is a "secure replacement for the Certificate Authority System." I would investigate what's already out there before you try to roll your own implementation that requires a WoT using PGP/GPG keys.

Re:Problem solved, move on (1)

vik (17857) | about a year ago | (#44787761)

Convergence is no longer in active development, and TACK uses elliptic curve keys, which are suspect.

Thanks for the heads up ! (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#44788227)

Convergence is no longer in active development, and TACK uses elliptic curve keys, which are suspect.

Many thanks for the heads up !

The development for Convergence has stopped since 2011, and TACK ain't as secured as it should be.

"Independently verified" ... How? (1)

stoborrobots (577882) | about a year ago | (#44788159)

This idea relies on the assumption that:

... PGP/GPG keys can be trusted and independently verified...

But this is in no way guaranteed. How would you independently verify a PGP key? What additional level of guarantee do you have using PGP which you don't have by using a certificate?

The underlying infrastructure behind SSL keys and PGP keys are the same: you have a small collection of trusted, independently verified entities, who then verify and mark keys for the people they verify. As long as you can find a sequence (a "certificate chain", or "Web of Trust") of verification markings (called "certificates" or "signatures") from the presented key to a key you can trust (a "Certificate Authority" or "Trusted Key"), you accept the presented key. There is nothing in PGP which prevents an eavesdropper using a gag order or a gun to compel someone in the trusted sequence into issuing a man-in-the-middle signature, much like you assert they could do for an SSL certificate...

What extra does using PGP buy us, other than that I probably met the head of the trust chain at least once?

sounds good. Get it done folks. (1)

darue (2699381) | about a year ago | (#44788347)

wouldn't someone have to host a repository of public keys (for use in authenticating?)
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