[tor-dev] Future Onion Addresses and Human Factors

Alec Muffett alecm at fb.com
Mon Aug 10 21:36:22 UTC 2015

> On Aug 10, 2015, at 2:00 PM, Philipp Winter <phw at nymity.ch> wrote:
> Vanity addresses encourage people to only verify the human-readable part
> of an address before clicking on it.  That creates a false sense of
> security, which is already exploited by spoofed onion service addresses
> whose prefix and suffix mimics the original onion address.

That does strike me as a risk.

That said, if an address is completely incapable, even hostile to validation by human eyeballs, then what happens is “trust” migrates to using a bunch of tools which are forgeable, spoofable, hackable, trojanable.

The resultant risk might be worse for its greater resistance to detection.


ps: for an investigation of what happens when you build a “communities” app around “non-human-readable” barcodes and without a discovery mechanism, see this article; such innovation gives me great hope for humanity finding solutions to apparently high-friction technologies, but it also clearly hampers broader inclusiveness, the latter arguably being one of Tor’s most important goals:

http://mashable.com/2014/10/24/hacks-facebook-rooms/ <http://mashable.com/2014/10/24/hacks-facebook-rooms/>

Alec Muffett
Security Infrastructure
Facebook Engineering

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