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Re: client-side signature checking of Debian archives (Re: When should we https our mirrors?)

On Sun, Oct 23, 2016 at 7:28 PM, Russ Allbery <rra@debian.org> wrote:
> The idea is to *add* HTTPS protection on top of the protections we already
> have.  You're correct that it doesn't give you authentication of the
> packages without a bunch of work, and we should assume that the general
> public CA system is compromised.  But that actually doesn't matter much
> for our purposes, since the point is to greatly increase the cost of
> gathering data about what packages people have installed.
> The value of HTTPS lies in its protection against passive snooping.  Given

Exactly! Much better said than how I originally phrased these issues.

> what package and at what version.  HTTPS doesn't *prevent* this, but it
> requires the attacker to do much more sophisticated traffic analysis, or
> take the *much* more expensive and *far* riskier step of moving to active
> interference with traffic, neither of which nation-state attackers want to
> do and neither of which they have the resources to do *routinely*.
> It won't help if a nation-state actor is targeting you *in particular*.
> But it helps immensely against dragnet surveillance.

Again, exactly right and well stated. We can never stop targeted
attacks, but we can make passive data collection more expensive and
increase the chances that a targeted attack is detected.


Kristian Erik Hermansen

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