a DoS vulnerability associated with conflated Message-IDs?

Subject:a DoS vulnerability associated with conflated Message-IDs?

Date:Thu, 08 Mar 2012 11:37:09 -0500

To:notmuch mailing list

Cc:

From:Daniel Kahn Gillmor


notmuch currently treats all messages with the same Message-ID as
the same message.  I think this could be a vulnerability :(

If two messages have the same Message-ID, is there a guarantee of which
of these messages will be produced during a notmuch show?

Either way, it seems to create a potential DoS attack on notmuch users.

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The attack:

Let's say there is a public mailing list that Mallory knows
bob@example.org is subscribed to.  alice@example.net sends a message to
the public mailing list detailing some problem that Bob probably needs
to deal with.

Mallory can just craft a content-free e-mail (or a dozen?) with the same
Message-ID as Alice's message, and send it to bob@example.org.

If Bob uses notmuch, he is much more likely to read one of Mallory's
bogus e-mails than to read Alice's original message.

Mallory's e-mail could also be crafted to look like spam, in the hopes
that Bob's spamfiltering scripts would mark the original message's
Message-ID as spam.

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I don't know how to fix this, and i'd be happy to hear if someone thinks
my analysis above is flawed and this isn't really a problem.

Any ideas on how to approach this?

       --dkg
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