Security team successfully cracks SSL using 200 PS3's and MD5

Florian Weimer fw at
Sat Jan 3 15:45:58 UTC 2009

* Brian Keefer:

> My apologies if you were commenting on some other aspect, or if my
> understand is in some way flawed.

I don't think so.

There's a rule of thumb which is easy to remembe: Never revoke
anything just because some weak algorithm is involved.  The rationale
is that that revocation is absolute and (usually) retroactive, but we
generally want a more nuanced approach.  If certain algorithms are too
weak to be used, this is up to the relying party to decide whether
it's fine in a particular case.  On the other hand, replacing
MD5-signed certificates in the browser PKI is costly, but the overhead
is very finely dispersed (assuming that reissuing certificates has
very little overhead at the CA).  I think it's doable if the browser
vendors could agree on a flag date after which MD5 signatures on
certificates are no longer considered valid.

(The implicit assumptions in that rule of thumb do not always apply.
For instance, if weak RSA keys are discovered which occur with
sufficiently high probability as the result of the standard key
generating algorithms to pose a real problem, the public key may not
reveal this property immediately, it may only be evident from the
private key, or only after a rather expensive computation.  In the
latter case, we would be in very deep trouble.)

More information about the NANOG mailing list