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Re: Traffic Analysis and Namespace Dereferencing

On Tue, 2 Jan 2001, David Megginson wrote:
> John Wilson writes:
>  > Performing an HTTP GET on an arbitrary URL is not an innocuous
>  > action.
> Very well put -- there are many dangers, including (as John points
> out) denial-of-service (intentional or unintentional) and maliciously
> altered schema information.

For altered schema information, hopefully digital signatures
will help sort this problem out.  Right?

And from my weak understanding of the issues, denial-of-service attacks
are commonly based on dynamic content; hence the CPU or the server's
disk becomes the bottleneck.   However, a catalogue would be a relatively
static web page, right?  Thus well known and implemented caching techniques 
are readily available.  For instance, the web page can be kept in the
server's memory.  Thus, a denial-of-service attack in this case would 
have to flood the server's pipe... which is a bit harder to do.

> Even without technical or security problems, however, automatic
> dereferencing will make it possible discover trade secrets, personal
> information, etc. simply through traffic analysis.
> Let's say that I have defined a popular Namespace for encoding
> peer-to-peer records:
>   http://www.megginson.com/ns/p2p
> Now, imagine that IBM plans a big announcement next Thursday, but is
> keeping it heavily under wraps.  I bring up my server log and find
> 10,000 hits for http://www.megginson.com/ns/p2p from a research domain
> at ibm.com.  Hmm.

I am no expert in this field... however, I would think that this
would be IBM's own fault for not installing a caching router!
For most medium to large organizations, fetching a catalogue 
should be a very quick, LAN operation.

Kind Regards,