[tor-dev] Proposition: Applying an AONT to Prop224 addresses?

Ian Goldberg iang at cs.uwaterloo.ca
Sun Mar 26 20:19:58 UTC 2017

On Sun, Mar 26, 2017 at 02:24:41PM +0200, Alec Muffett wrote:
> Hi,
> So: a bunch of us were discussing Prop224 Onion addresses, and their
> UX-malleability.
> Specifically: that there are small bit fields in the current Prop224 Onion
> Address schema (eg: version, and other future structure?) which can be
> tweaked or amended without otherwise changing the functionality of the
> address, or without much changing what the user sees in the (say) browser
> address bar.
> This is a point of significant concern because of issues like phishing and
> passing-off - by analogy: t0rpr0ject.0rg versus torproject.org  - and other
> games that can be played with a prop224 address now, or in future, to game
> user experience.
> We discussed the existing "hash the public key before base-32 encoding"
> approach, but hashing breaks the prop224 key blinding.
> Ian Goldberg - thank you Ian - offered this attractive solution: apply a
> *reversible* "All Or Nothing Transform" (AONT) to the entire Prop224 Onion
> Address, prior to Base32 Encoding.
> This way, even a single-bit mutation of (say) version number will have a
> "diffusion" effect, impacting ~ N/2 of the bits whilst having O(1) cost and
> being reversible so as not to impact the rest of Prop224.
> The result would be onion addresses which are less "tamperable" / more
> deterministic, that closer to one-and-only-one published onion address will
> correspond to an onion endpoint.
> What does the panel think?

One thing I thought of later is that, assuming the version field is
"under" the AONT, then there is *no* visible version field in the final
address, so you would have to commit to "For any possible future onion
address of this fixed length, the first thing you have to do to decode
it is this particular AONT."  This seems a bit suboptimal to me.  And
since the version field basically *is* the tweakable field in the
current prop224 addresses, maybe this actually isn't so useful after
all for this version of the spec?
Ian Goldberg
Professor and University Research Chair
Cheriton School of Computer Science
University of Waterloo

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