BlockPGP: A Blockchain-based Framework for PGP Key Servers

Alexander Yakubov, Wazen Shbair, Nida Khan, Radu State, Christophe Medinger, Jean Hilger


Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is one of the most prominent cryptographic standards offering end-to-end encryption for email messages and other sensitive information exchange. PGP allows to verify the identity of the correspondent in information exchange as well as the information integrity. PGP implements asymmetric encryption with certificates shared through a network of PGP key servers. In this paper, we propose a new PGP management framework with the key servers infrastructure implemented using blockchain technology. Our approach offers fast propagation of certificate revocation among PGP key servers and elimination of man-in-the-middle risks. It also grants users the required access control to update their own PGP certificates, which is not the case with the current PGP key servers. A prototype has been implemented using Ethereum blockchain and an open source key server, named Hockeypuck. Finally, we evaluated the prototype with extensive experiments. Our results show that our solution is practical and it could be integrated with the existing public PGP key servers infrastructure.


PGP; Blockchain; Ethereum; Key server; PKI; Certificate Transparency; Web of Trust

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