Re: Security for various IETF services

Randall Gellens <> Thu, 10 April 2014 02:01 UTC

Return-Path: <>
Received: from localhost ( []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 379DB1A0573 for <>; Wed, 9 Apr 2014 19:01:23 -0700 (PDT)
X-Virus-Scanned: amavisd-new at
X-Spam-Flag: NO
X-Spam-Score: -2.674
X-Spam-Status: No, score=-2.674 tagged_above=-999 required=5 tests=[BAYES_40=-0.001, DKIM_SIGNED=0.1, DKIM_VALID=-0.1, DKIM_VALID_AU=-0.1, RCVD_IN_DNSWL_MED=-2.3, RP_MATCHES_RCVD=-0.272, SPF_PASS=-0.001] autolearn=ham
Received: from ([]) by localhost ( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024) with ESMTP id HHKW7N8b3rU5 for <>; Wed, 9 Apr 2014 19:01:18 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from ( []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id D52D11A05D1 for <>; Wed, 9 Apr 2014 19:01:18 -0700 (PDT)
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=simple/simple;;; q=dns/txt; s=qcdkim; t=1397095278; x=1428631278; h=message-id:in-reply-to:references:date:to:from:subject: cc:mime-version; bh=4BermJ8hk7OHpErHmvoR6qsSRulc2OeHKF6L47wyIU0=; b=RALt0hET7j5qczfLl8YAYk9b0QjINam0RZgxN+afF24zdPZYjGKXXo59 JYavYzyptJlyb8z06sMSsfxRkTqkmFI8xdkVIADRTJCzkRyuhJ8ZxrxRk c7JA9LETPaTAFPCmXbtXoRPuR9ZMWAYFilTVo96u8dlvLiLOsdrdLE4qS w=;
X-IronPort-AV: E=McAfee;i="5400,1158,7403"; a="27803571"
Received: from ([]) by with ESMTP; 09 Apr 2014 19:01:18 -0700
X-IronPort-AV: E=Sophos;i="4.97,830,1389772800"; d="scan'208";a="713330351"
Received: from ([]) by with ESMTP/TLS/RC4-SHA; 09 Apr 2014 19:01:50 -0700
Received: from [] ( by ( with Microsoft SMTP Server (TLS) id; Wed, 9 Apr 2014 19:01:17 -0700
Message-ID: <p06240604cf6baa6b989d@[]>
In-Reply-To: <>
References: <> <> <p06240601cf639cb2113b@> <> <>
X-Mailer: Eudora for Mac OS X
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2014 19:01:16 -0700
To: Phillip Hallam-Baker <>, "Fred Baker (fred)" <>
From: Randall Gellens <>
Subject: Re: Security for various IETF services
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed
X-Random-Sig-Tag: 1.0b28
X-Originating-IP: []
Cc: Randall Gellens <>, "" <>
X-Mailman-Version: 2.1.15
Precedence: list
List-Id: IETF-Discussion <>
List-Unsubscribe: <>, <>
List-Archive: <>
List-Post: <>
List-Help: <>
List-Subscribe: <>, <>
X-List-Received-Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 02:01:23 -0000

At 9:12 AM -0400 4/9/14, Phillip Hallam-Baker wrote:

>>  To that end, I could imagine a requirement for some kind of 
>> roadmap. "The tools that access the IETF SMTP and HTTP sites use 
>> protocols X, Y, and Z. After <date>, we require them to use Secure 
>> X, Secure Y, and Secure Z, and traffic originated by the IETF 
>> sites shall use such protocols."
>  This sounds like a good idea.

To me it sounds like a knee-jerk reaction rather than an assessment 
of what we need to protect and what the costs are of various 

>  But we currently have a big problem in
>  that the IETF has two email security standards, not one. And the two
>  sides don't talk and this has created a stalemate that has blocked
>  ubiquitous use of either.

We actually have a few more email security standards, but regardless, 
I don't think the major barrier to deployment is that there is not a 
single standard.  There are a number of reasons why email end-to-end 
encryption is rarely used, which include the difficulty of managing 
keys, but it's also worth pointing out that end-to-end encrypted 
email breaks a lot of the anti-spam, unless users share their private 
keys with their mail provider (which kind of defeats the point).

Randall Gellens
Opinions are personal;    facts are suspect;    I speak for myself only
-------------- Randomly selected tag: ---------------
Frequently, people can tell you they've read a book and
liked it, but they can't tell you why.  We don't want the
reader to have to do the hard work of figuring that out.
                    --Duncan Smith, creator of NoveList.