Commit f8abaf9e authored by Matthew Hodgson's avatar Matthew Hodgson

explicitly define backward & forward secrecy

as it repeatedly trips people up, including me
parent a18a4e8e
......@@ -267,8 +267,16 @@ future research.
### Lack of Backward Secrecy
Once the key to a Megolm session is compromised, the attacker can decrypt any
future messages sent via that session.
[Backward secrecy](https://intensecrypto.org/public/lec_08_hash_functions_part2.html#sec-forward-and-backward-secrecy)
(also called 'future secrecy' or 'post-compromise security') is the property
that if current private keys are compromised, an attacker cannot decrypt
future messages in a given session. In other words, when looking
**backwards** into the past at a compromise, messages sent since the compromise
will be secret.
By itself, Megolm does not posess this property: once the key to a Megolm
session is compromised, the attacker can decrypt any future messages sent via
that session.
In order to mitigate this, the application should ensure that Megolm sessions
are not used indefinitely. Instead it should periodically start a new session,
......@@ -279,7 +287,15 @@ with new keys shared over a secure channel.
### Partial Forward Secrecy
Each recipient maintains a record of the ratchet value which allows them to
[Forward secrecy](https://intensecrypto.org/public/lec_08_hash_functions_part2.html#sec-forward-and-backward-secrecy)
is the property that if the current private keys are compromised, an attacker
cannot decrypt *past* messages in a given session (unless past private keys
are retained). 'Perfect forward secrecy' means that no past keys are retained.
'Partial forward secrecy' means that some past key data may be retained. In
other words, when looking **forwards** into the future at a potential
compromise, messages sent prior to the compromise will be secret.
In Megolm, each recipient maintains a record of the ratchet value which allows them to
decrypt any messages sent in the session after the corresponding point in the
conversation. If this value is compromised, an attacker can similarly decrypt
those past messages.
......
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