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- Jun 2021
New Trusted Third Parties Can Be Tempting Many are the reasons why organizations may come to favor costly TTP based security over more efficient and effective security that minimizes the use of TTPs: Limitations of imagination, effort, knowledge, or time amongst protocol designers – it is far easier to design security protocols that rely on TTPs than those that do not (i.e. to fob off the problem rather than solve it). Naturally design costs are an important factor limiting progress towards minimizing TTPs in security protocols. A bigger factor is lack of awareness of the importance of the problem among many security architects, especially the corporate architects who draft Internet and wireless security standards. The temptation to claim the "high ground" as a TTP of choice are great. The ambition to become the next Visa or Verisign is a power trip that's hard to refuse. The barriers to actually building a successful TTP business are, however, often severe – the startup costs are substantial, ongoing costs remain high, liability risks are great, and unless there is a substantial "first mover" advantage barriers to entry for competitors are few. Still, if nobody solves the TTP problems in the protocol this can be a lucrative business, and it's easy to envy big winners like Verisign rather than remembering all the now obscure companies that tried but lost. It's also easy to imagine oneself as the successful TTP, and come to advocate the security protocol that requires the TTP, rather than trying harder to actually solve the security problem. Entrenched interests. Large numbers of articulate professionals make their living using the skills necessary in TTP organizations. For example, the legions of auditors and lawyers who create and operate traditional control structures and legal protections. They naturally favor security models that assume they must step in and implement the real security. In new areas like e-commerce they favor new business models based on TTPs (e.g. Application Service Providers) rather than taking the time to learn new practices that may threaten their old skills. Mental transaction costs. Trust, like taste, is a subjective judgment. Making such judgement requires mental effort. A third party with a good reputation, and that is actually trustworthy, can save its customers from having to do so much research or bear other costs associated with making these judgments. However, entities that claim to be trusted but end up not being trustworthy impose costs not only of a direct nature, when they breach the trust, but increase the general cost of trying to choose between trustworthy and treacherous trusted third parties.
There are strong incentives to stick with trusted third parties
- It's more difficult to design protocols that work without a TTP
- It's tempting to imagine oneself as a successful TTP
- Entrenched interests — many professions depend on the TTP status quo (e.g. lawyers, auditors)
- Mental transaction costs — It can be mentally easier to trust a third party, rather than figuring out who to trust.
The main security property of personal chattel was often not other TTPs as protectors but rather its portability and intimacy.
The security properties of personal chattel was not a Trusted Third Party (TTP), but their portability and intimacy.