Mix Network - How IT Works - Message Format

Message Format

To accomplish this, the sender takes the mix’s public key, and uses it to encrypt an envelope containing a random string, a nested envelope addressed to the recipient, and the email address of the recipient (B). This nested envelope is encrypted with the recipient’s public key, and contains another random string (R0), along with the body of the message being sent. Upon receipt of the encrypted top-level envelope, the mix uses its secret key to open it. Inside, it finds the address of the recipient (B) and an encrypted message bound for B. The random string is discarded.

is needed in the message in order to prevent an attacker from guessing messages. It is assumed that the attacker can observe all incoming and outgoing messages. If the random string is not used (i.e. only is sent to ) and an attacker has a good guess that the message was sent, he can test whether holds, whereby he can learn the content of the message. By appending the random string the attacker is prevented from performing this kind of attack; even if he should guess the correct message (i.e. is true) he wont learn if he is right since he doesn't know the secret value . Practically, functions as a salt.

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