Gmail and SSL

William Herrin bill at
Wed Jan 2 19:36:30 UTC 2013

On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 1:39 PM, Christopher Morrow
<morrowc.lists at> wrote:
> goodness-scale (goodness to the left)
>  signed > self-signed > unsigned

Hi Chris,

Self-signed and unsigned are identical. The "goodness" scale is:

Encrypted & Verified (signed) > Encrypted Unsigned (or self-signed,
same difference) > Unencrypted but physically protected > Unprotected

> I don't think there's much disagreement about that... the sticky
> wicket though is 'how much better is 'signed' vs 'self-signed' ? and I
> think the feeling is that:

I don't see how "feeling" plays into it.

Communications using an unverified public key are trivially vulnerable
to a man-in-the-middle attack where the connection is decrypted,
captured in its unencrypted form and then undetectably re-encrypted
with a different key. Communications using a key signed by a trusted
third party suffer such attacks only with extraordinary difficulty on
the part of the attacker. It's purely a technical matter.

The information you're trying to protect is either sensitive enough
that this risk is unacceptable or it isn't. That's purely a question
for the information owner. No one else's opinion matters for squat.

Bill Herrin

William D. Herrin ................ herrin at  bill at
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004

More information about the NANOG mailing list