Useable PKI

From IIW

Useable PKI

Thursday 2F

Convener: Steve O.

Notes-taker(s): Andrew H.

Tags for the session - technology discussed/ideas considered:

Discussion notes, key understandings, outstanding questions, observations, and, if appropriate to this discussion: action items, next steps:

PKI is 20 years old, ongoing frustrations about lack of adoption

  • Consumer adoption has to be zero effort from there perspective - i.e. having the right value proposition for the tech
    • Also need to demonstrate that their lives would be better in some way with crypto
  • Key management is a still a problem 
  • Tech experts tend to overestimate the value or purpose of crypto
  • There may be value in use of certificates for digital signatures/protection
  • In Denmark, everyone has an eID (public/private keys) that they can use for real life purposes. But it would not have happened without the Government doing it for their own purpose.
  • Need to find a better mid-way solution for key management, maybe cloud-based/enterprise run, that is ‘better’ than today but not necessarily perfect
  • Why not just blockchain it all?
  • Lots of discussion about encrypted communications
  • What are the issues with PKI that need fixing?
    • Nothing is really, truly interoperable
    • There are some security flaws that are addressed over time
  • What is the problem that needs to be solved?
    • It is hard to get end-user applications up and running
    • Maybe it’s a user-education problem?
    • How do we get herd immunity?
  • Expectation management is needed
    • Fear of loss of keys equals loss of access to my stuff
    • To make it ubiquitous, it probably needs to be adopted by a mass-market producer. e.g. Unix only became ubiquitous when Apple picked it up
    • Key issuer model - can accommodate all kinds of different key models
  • Blockchain
    • A secure data store with distributed copies of the ledger
    • Blockchain creates the notion of ‘ownership'
    • Can create the ability to prove and protect ownership over any data object - global registry
    • PGP keys can be stored in the profile which means that the username can be considered trustable to the same level as the key
      • Built on OpenName protocol
  • Service providers
    • Provide services to fill many of the stated needs (encrypted email exchange, encrypted file sharing, etc)
    • Issue is do you trust the service provider
    • is moving to a desktop model to enable the ability to detach from the servers and do local processing
  • Need to look to correlated/corroborated sources
  • The setup ceremonies seem to take effort & is that too much to expect?
    • The ‘runtime’ operations - does it take effort to validate that the communication is trusted? Apps still need to be built - but it’s easy to design and build.
  • U2F seems to be moving in the right direction
  • Seems that removing the CA / central infrastructure wherever possible (for peer to peer at least)