[tor-dev] Discussion on the crypto migration plan of the identity keys of Hidden Services

George Kadianakis desnacked at riseup.net
Fri May 17 13:23:28 UTC 2013


I'm supposed to write a Tor proposal for the migration of the
long-term identity keys of Hidden Services. When I began writing the
proposal, I realized that some of my choices might not be appreciated by
Hidden Service operators, and that starting a discussion thread might be a
good idea before writing the proposal.

The problem with the current long-term HS identity keys is that they
are RSA-1024 keys which are considered weak, and they need to be
upgraded to a cryptosystem with higher security properties.

One of the main issues with this operation, is whether Hidden Services
will be accessible using their *old* identity keys even after the

That is, when we change the identity keys of a Hidden Service, its
onion also changes (since the onion is the truncated hash of its
public key). This will be quite problematic for Hidden Services that
have a well-established onion address.

There are basically two ways to do this:

a) After the transition, Hidden Services can be visited _only_ on
   their _new_ onion addresses.

   This is quite brutal, but it's the most secure and unambiguous
   option (might also be easier to implement and deploy).

   This change can be enforced both on the client-side, by rejecting
   any old RSA-1024 HS keys, and on the server-side, by only
   publishing the new keys in HS descriptors.

   To make the transition easier, we could prepare a tool that
   generates a new identity keypair before the flag day, so that
   Hidden Service operators can learn their future onion address
   beforehand and announce it to their users.

b) After the transition, Hidden Services can use both old and new
   onion addresses.

   This might result in a more harmonious transition, where Hidden
   Services advertise their new onion address to users that visit
   them in their old address.

   .oO(It would also be interesting to do a redirection on the Tor
   protocol layer ("I got this descriptor by querying for the old
   onion address, but it also contains a new onion address. I should
   probably use the new one."), but I don't think it's possible to
   redirect the user without knowledge of the application-layer
   protocol (e.g. 302 for HTTP). Still, a Tor log message might be

   The cons of this approach is that supporting both addresses might
   make the HS protocol more complicated and painful to implement, and
   it might also result in some Hidden Services never moving to the
   new onion addresses since clients can still visit them using the
   old insecure ones.

   This approach has a stricter variant, where the old addresses can
   only be used during a transitionary period (a few months?). After
   that, clients _have_ to use the new addresses. Of course, this
   means that we will have to do two flag days, coordinate Tor
   releases, and other no fun stuff.

I'm probably moving towards the latter option because the former will
make many people unhappy.


(This is not a thread to select the cryptosystem we are going to
use. It will derail the discussion, and we might also need to select a
specific type of cryptosystem in the end (e.g. a discrete-log-based
system) so that schemes like
can be possible.).

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