[bitcoin-dev] p2p authentication and encryption BIPs

Eric Voskuil eric at voskuil.org
Wed Mar 23 21:40:50 UTC 2016

On 03/23/2016 01:36 PM, Tom via bitcoin-dev wrote:
> On Wednesday 23 Mar 2016 16:24:12 Jonas Schnelli via bitcoin-dev wrote:
> * why would you not allow encryption on non-pre-approved connections?


> * we just removed (ssl) encryption from the JSON interface, how do you suggest 
> this encryption to be implemented without openSSL?


> * What is the reason for using the p2p code to connect a wallet to a node?
> I suggest using one of the other connection methods to connect to the node. 
> This avoids a change in the bitcoin protocol for a very specific usecase.

Agree, P2P and client-server protocols are distinct use-cases. Missing
this distinction is the root cause of problems with the bloom filters

> * Why do you want to do a per-message encryption (wrapping the original)? 
> Smaller messages that contain predictable content and are able to be matched 
> to the unencrypted versions on the wire send to other nodes will open this 
> scheme up to various old statistical attacks.

Privacy cannot currently be achieved unless the server is trusted. In
most wallet scenarios that's not a reasonable assumption unless one
controls the full node. So this is only useful in the case where the
wallet is trusting a remote server, and as you point out - message
encryption is weak in this case. In a trustless server scenario
encryption would be unnecessary overhead.

>> Responding peers must ignore (banning would lead to fingerprinting) the 
> requesting peer after 5 unsuccessfully authentication tries to avoid resource 
> attacks.
> Any implementation of that kind would itself again be open to resource 
> attacks.
> Why 5? Do you want to allow a node to make a typo?

Agree, denial of service protection can and should be much more flexible
than this. It's not necessary to incorporate DoS protection into a
protocol. I think maybe this stems from the ill-advised attempt at
messaging reliability.

>> To ensure that no message was dropped or blocked, the complete communication 
> must be hashed (sha256). Both peers keep the SHA256 context of the encryption 
> session. The complete <code>enc</code> message (leaving out the hash itself) 
> must be added to the hash-context by both parties. Before sending a 
> <code>enc</code> command, the sha256 context will be copied and finalized.
> You write "the complete communication must be hashed" and every message has a 
> hash of the state until it is at that point.
> I think you need to explain how that works specifically.

Also, this gets into the area of messaging reliability. This is
certainly not something I would recommend for a P2P protocol optimized
for maintaining a cache of public data.


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