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Peer-to-Peer by Andy Oram

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Putting low-tech “weaknesses” into perspective

Red Rover creates a high-tech relationship between the hub and the client (using SL and strong encryption) and a low-tech relationship between the client and the subscriber. Accordingly, this latter relationship is inherently vulnerable to security-related difficulties. Since we receive many questions challenging the viability of Red Rover, we present below in dialogue form our responses to some of these questions in the hope of putting these security “weaknesses” into perspective.

Skeptic:

I understand that the subscriber could change subscription times and addresses during a Red Rover visit. But how would anyone initially subscribe? If subscription is done online or to an email site, nothing would prevent those sites from being blocked. The prospective subscriber may even be at risk for trying to subscribe.

Red Rover:

True, the low-tech relationship between Red Rover and the client means that Red Rover must leave many of the steps of the strategy to the subscriber. As we’ve said above, another channel such as a letter or phone call (not web or email communication) will eventually be necessary to initiate contact since the Red Rover site and sites which mirror it will inevitably be victims of blocking. But this requirement is no different than other modern security systems. SSL depends on the user downloading a browser from a trusted location; digital signatures require out-of-band techniques for a certificate authority to verify the ...

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