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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:21 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:14 pm
Posts: 1
Really enjoying my new yubikey but I'm trying to understand the PIN/PUK model. A big draw of having a yubikey for me is that (in principle at least), I'm less vulnerable to my machine being compromised, because the cryptographic keys I care about don't reside on it.

After accidentally entering my PIN 3 times incorrectly in gnupg and getting it blocked, I looked a bit more at the blocking procedure and was wondering if I'm still exposed to a different type of attack: a "for the lulz" attack that can't steal any keys from me, but can still cause me massive headaches by spuriously blocking my PINs and PUKs until I'm forced to reset my key. Here's the (hypothetical; I'm not necessarily actually this paranoid) scenario:

1. Attacker breaks into my computer
2. Attacker tries to steal muh keyz
3. Attacker gets frustrated, says "if I can't have them, nobody will"
4. Attacker enters my PIN incorrectly several times, followed by (potentially if it's enabled) my PUK
5. Attacker moves on, leaving me to clean up the mess of having to reset my yubikey and reprovision new keys all over the place

Is this a potential attack or am I missing something that makes it hard? It seems like this would be alleviated if each failed PIN/PUK attempt required me to physically touch the yubikey button to reactivate it, thus preventing all automated attacks that don't have physical access. Is it possible for me to configure my key to require a button press on failed PIN/PUK attempts?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:55 pm 
Yubico Team
Yubico Team

Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2014 3:44 pm
Posts: 283
First, to clarify...

GnuPG/OpenPGP doesn't have a PUK, PIV does.

PIN: 3 retries then locked
Resetting Code: none by default
Admin PIN: 3 retries then locked

PIN: 3 retries then locked
PUK: 3 retries then locked (device must then be reset)
Management Key: doesn't lock
(may be useful - https://developers.yubico.com/PIV/Intro ... ccess.html)

To your question, no, if someone has physical access to your YubiKey, or if they have control over your computer and the YubiKey is plugged in, the OpenPGP and PIV applets can be locked out / reset, and OATH applet can be reset / credentials deleted.

A feature request for a change to the OpenPGP applet could be submitted on GitHub, if you wish, but I'm not sure the viability of this scenario - https://github.com/Yubico/ykneo-openpgp/issues

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