Re: [CFRG] Please review draft-ietf-drip-rid

"Blumenthal, Uri - 0553 - MITLL" <> Fri, 17 September 2021 19:11 UTC

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From: "Blumenthal, Uri - 0553 - MITLL" <>
To: "Riad S. Wahby" <>
CC: Michael Scott <>, "<>" <>
Thread-Topic: [CFRG] Please review draft-ietf-drip-rid
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Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2021 19:10:56 +0000
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Subject: Re: [CFRG] Please review draft-ietf-drip-rid
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On 9/17/21, 14:42, "Riad S. Wahby" <> wrote:

>    Hello Uri,
>    As I've said privately, I appreciate your position even though
>    I disagree with it. But this thread seems to be going in a slightly
>    concerning direction:
>    "Blumenthal, Uri - 0553 - MITLL" <> wrote:
>    > While we both understand that I am not a spokesman for such a group,
>    > as nobody appointed or authorized me to do so – IMHO, this group
>    > would include all the US Government, all the vendors who sell
>    > to US Government, and probably same contingent for other countries.
>    The "some of us" context here was "Ed25519 is not acceptable".
>    Broadening this to include morally equivalent (PQ-wise) cryptography
>    (e.g., the NIST curves, ECDSA, ...), it seems pretty clear that the
>    official position of the US Government is that such cryptosystems
>    *are* acceptable. After all, they are in-use and recommended.

Acceptable as *new* designs? I'm not a spokesman for the US Government, but I doubt that. For reasons listed below. 

Acceptable as part of "sustainment"? E.g., a new email client that does good old RSA-based S/MIME? Very likely yes - but that's not what CFRG does, is it?

>    Perhaps once the current NIST competition concludes we will see a quick
>    shift to PQ cryptosystems as sole recommendations. But I doubt this
>    very much: experience tells us that breaking newly deployed and
>    not-yet-well-understood cryptosystems is much easier than building
>    crypto-threatening quantum computers.

Well, none of us can build a crypto-threatening quantum computer yet, I agree. Can you break, e.g., SABER (if it's that much easier ;)?

Once NIST PQC publishes its first PQ standards (Jan 2022), we'll see if recommendations change then.

>    So: I do not think it is correct to claim the USG and its subsidiaries
>    as ideological allies here.

I cannot claim anybody as "ideological allies". I'm appealing to the common sense here. 

Designing and standardizing a new protocol takes time. So does creating commercial implementation(s) - once the protocol is reasonably stable. Once there is a product, it needs to gain some market share. Again, time.

>From the time this is done, and until the time some other (e.g., quantum) technology or science makes this product obsolete and vulnerable - is the actual "useful lifetime" of this "new thing". And I'm saying that investing in something that may have only a few years of "useful lifetime" is not worth it.

Question to all: I understand it's fun to design new things, and it's fun to publish something - but how long should the *expected* "useful lifetime" of "it" be for the effort to actually make sense (and bring benefits other than adding to a list of pubs)?

My personal experience - recently came up with a new protocol (details are irrelevant here, and not of interest to the wide audience), and was asked to make sure it is quantum-resistant. 

>    .  .  .  .  .
>    This argument does not seem productive: essentially all cryptography
>    is based on hardness assumptions that have not been proved or disproved
>    (and, given our current knowledge, seem unlikely to be). If we accept
>    the above argument, the logical conclusion seems to be "disband CFRG".

You equate "make new designs quantum-resistant" with "let's disband CFRG"??? Hmm...