W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-wsc-wg@w3.org > July 2007

Re: ACTION-272: self-signed certificates

From: Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie>
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2007 01:26:03 +0100
Message-ID: <46AE819B.1080906@cs.tcd.ie>
To: Serge Egelman <egelman@cs.cmu.edu>
CC: public-wsc-wg@w3.org


Serge Egelman wrote:
> We went over this.  The $20 GoDaddy example I cited before.  I 
> registered a domain and purchased a certificate using PayPal, and it's 
> all under Stephen's name.  


Same thing was done back in about 98 under Warwick Ford's name and
a number of times before and after. No big deal then. No big deal
now. Sorry if you thought that was cute.

The issue of what to display is real. Your work there helps.

Whether a cert costs $20, (or even real money like 20:-) is immaterial.
The fact that it is traceable is significant, and the non-zero cost
means that undirectected attacks on that basis fail to scale. Directed
attacks where each attempt involves either the same server cert or
else a CA interaction can be noticed and hence the $20 or even $0
cert is accountable, at least as much as needs be.

However, I remain surprised that you keep on about this. Don't most
phishes depend, as you tell us over and over, on the passive indicator
being useless. Yet you suddenly prefer one such over another on
apparently no basis whatsoever. I don't get that.


 > Nothing is linked back to me, there is zero
> accountability (BTW: Johnathan said that he'd pull the root if this were 
> the case, though I doubt that's happened).  

You think paypal is anonymous? Hmm...

 > If I were a phisher, and
> this scheme worked (let's pretend that user's will notice, understand, 
> and obey the SSC indicators---which we currently know to not be the 
> case), I'd start dropping $20 for each site to get a real CA-signed 
> certificate.
> The current figures state that phishers make anywhere from $250-1000 per 
> victim.  Dropping $20 really isn't a big deal.  Hell, dropping $500 on 
> an EV cert may be worth it, if we can ever come up with useful 
> indicators, but that's a different matter...
> I really think that we should just classify non-EV and SSC certificates 
> as the same thing: only useful for encryption.  We show an encryption 
> indicator, which will only be noticed by the tech-savvy users anyway. 

On what basis do you think that EV certs are better? (Serious question.)

Didn't you notice the thread where we saw that they need the browser
code to know  the funny handshake? (As was the case before with
server-gated crypto. Its a fine, but ultimately silly distinction.)

> And then we primarily focus on consistency.

There you do have a point. As with user attention.

But you are off base in terms of PKI.

Received on Tuesday, 31 July 2007 00:24:32 UTC

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