Native JS Encryption

Mike Shaver mike.shaver at gmail.com
Sat Mar 19 15:59:57 PDT 2011


On Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 2:45 PM, Robert Accettura <robert at accettura.com> wrote:
> Are there any successful key based encryption schemes that have actually succeeded with "normals"?

TLS would be the obvious example, bitlocker and other encrypted file
systems as well.  We have hopes for the Firefox sync mechanism too,
though we built our own cryptosystem to some extent, so...we'll see.

Most "normals" don't use crypto APIs of any kind, so I'm not quite
sure what you mean.

>  In my view when we look at GPG, PGP, the complexity was always the key to failure (pardon the pun, I couldn't resist).

API complexity?  That's the reason for things like Keyczar: they
provide an API where the simplest thing to do is also the safest, and
provide fewer places for people to slip up in mode selection, key
management, etc.  Crypto is hard, and even very experienced
practitioners get it wrong a lot.  Giving people raw AES/SHA-256/etc.
is unlikely to lead to them building secure systems, though it will
likely let them believe that they did.

Keyczar et alii are not a panacea: you still need to actually manage
the environment, but they take away a lot of error surface, and remove
the need for a lot of arcane mathematical knowledge.

> While I'm not opposed to something along those lines, I do think that the more traditional schemes should be considered though perhaps discouraged.

I don't see the value of adding something that we immediately
discourage people from using.

Mike


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