Internet Identity and Conspiracy 101

Recently, I’ve started to work on the problem of sybil attacks in mobile nets, and I came across this old discussion on identities in the Internet. The Snakes of Medusa and Cyberspace: Internet identity subversion.

In short, there are a few basic categories under which identities may fall under in Cyberspace: `True Name’, `Anonymously’, `Pseudonymously’, and, more importantly, `Pseudoanonymously’ (i.e., the message identification is of a `fake’ identity, a person that does not exist despite the implicit indications of the message (such as a signature with a realistic name, including a phone number, etc.). The problem with the latter category is that ” A message that is anonymous could be `from anyone’, including a known megalomaniac, and people would be cautious in revealing information to that nonentity… But someone who supposedly `exists’ automatically carries more implicit trust — including a very important kind of trust that they are unique from other individuals.” That’s called pseudospoofing.

Here we go with Conspiracy 101:
“Once subscribed, the CryptoAnarchists could use the aforementioned techniques of pseudospoofing to build up the reputations of their tentacles [fake identities] and manipulate others with those tentacles.If someone suggested a robust protocol for identification on one of these mailing lists, they could engage a single or even multiple tentacles into sabotaging the proposal with scathing criticism and derailing discussion into irrelevant areas. … Once a few snakes of Medusa had their fangs into Cyberspace, an antidote to the invisible, spreading, self-reinforcing poison would be virtually impossible to administer — Medusa would certainly do *anything* to avoid swallowing it!”

Comments are closed.