[FoRK] Petnames in Firefox

Tyler Close tyler.close at gmail.com
Sat Apr 23 09:34:08 PDT 2005

A year or so ago, we briefly discussed the work I did on httpsy and
petnames for web browsing. At the time, the only available software
was a proof-of-concept web browser written in Java. Recently, I sat
down with the Firefox source and a XUL tutorial and started porting
the ideas to Firefox. I've now got a fully functional petname system
for Firefox. It is compatible with existing HTTPS sites, so you can
petname your bank. Now that I can use petnames in my everyday web
browsing, it seems unimaginable to use SSL sites without them. You can
get the petname tool at:


A bit of context for those not familiar with the petname concept:

A petname is a local binding between a user chosen name and a
cryptographic identity. The user's software provides an on-the-fly
translation between encountered cryptographic identities, such as an
SSL site, and the user's chosen names. This translation helps the user
recognize and remember encountered cryptographic identities, while
shielding him from the complexity of the underlying crypto. A petname
system is often a viable alternative to a public CA system. A petname
system is also much more resilient to phishing attacks, as explained
in my paper:



The web-calculus is the union of REST and capability-based security:

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