Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2004/203

How to Cheat at Chess: A Security Analysis of the Internet Chess Club

John Black and Martin Cochran and Ryan Gardner

Abstract: The Internet Chess Club (ICC) is a popular online chess server with more than 30,000 members worldwide including various celebrities and the best chess players in the world. Although the ICC website assures its users that the security protocol used between client and server provides sufficient security for sensitive information to be transmitted (such as credit card numbers), we show this is not true. In particular we show how a passive adversary can easily read all communications with a trivial amount of computation, and how an active adversary can gain virtually unlimited powers over an ICC user. We also show simple methods for defeating the timestamping mechanism used by ICC. For each problem we uncover, we suggest repairs. Most of these are practical and inexpensive.

Category / Keywords: cryptographic protocols / cryptanalysis, implementation

Date: received 18 Aug 2004, last revised 15 Nov 2004

Contact author: jrblack at cs colorado edu

Available format(s): Postscript (PS) | Compressed Postscript (PS.GZ) | PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20041115:235110 (All versions of this report)

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