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From Bill Moseley <>
Subject Re: [OT] Client authentication
Date Sun, 23 Sep 2007 18:59:18 GMT
On Sun, Sep 23, 2007 at 01:44:44AM -0700, Philippe M. Chiasson wrote:
> > If the concern is that someone might spoof an IP address then the
> > shared secret seems adequate.
> If the secret is ever compromised, you have to update every single
> client/server out there. If a client cert is compromised, you revoke it
> and carry on doing business as usual.
> > If the concern is that someone might hack a client machine and make
> > fake requests to the server then it seems the hacker would have access to
> > the client cert just as easily as the shared secret.
> Yup, but you can revoke a client-cert, not a shared secret...

Hum, perhaps I'm missing something.

The shared secret can be a single pair between a specific client and
the server.

The server is setup with a list of known secrets, so it's possible
that each client has its own secret pair with the server.  If a client
is compromised then just that secret pair is removed/replaced and
other clients continue.

> > But, as I said, I have not used client certs before so I might be
> > missing a key point.
> Oh, and a bonus point. Client applications can generate their own certs,
> and only get your CA to sign them.  It's a much neater approach IMO. And
> totally worth the slight extra complexity of running your own CA.

Plus, it all happens at a higher level.  The shared secret has to be
at the application, where mod_ssl can handle client cert.

It's just something I need to learn more about...


Bill Moseley

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