How to build an insecure system out of perfectly good cryptography

October 17, 2001
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Halligan 111


Problems in network security systems tend not to be subtle mathematical flaws in the cryptography, but instead broader system issues. This talk starts with a tutorial on network security protocols, key distribution mechanisms, and PKI models. Then it gives examples in which deployed systems and industry standards have made decisions that make things insecure, unscalable, or unmanageable. Examples are insecure PKI models, an email standard that allowed forging signatures, and a public-key based security system that had no advantages over a secret-key based scheme. The talk ends with a list of reasons deployment of good systems has been so slow.