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Petname systems are naming systems that claim to possess all three naming properties of Zooko's triangle - global, secure, and memorable.[1] Software that uses such a system can satisfy all three requirements. Such systems can be used to enhance security, such as preventing phishing attacks.[2] Unlike traditional identity systems, which focus on the service provider, Petname systems are decentralized and designed to facilitate the needs of the enduser as they interact with multiple services.[3][4]


Though the Petname model was formally described in 2005 by Mark Stiegler, the potential of the system was discovered by several people successively.[3]


  • The GNU Name System (GNS) – a decentralized alternative to DNS based on the principle of a petname system[5]
  • CapDesk – a distributed desktop environment[6]
  • Petname Tool (discontinued browser extension) – There was a browser extension available for Firefox called Petname Tool that allowed pet names to be assigned to secure websites. Use of this extension could help prevent phishing attacks.[7]

PetName Markup Language[edit]

The PetName Markup Language (PNML) is a proposal for embedding Petname information into other systems using a custom markup language.[4]

PNML consists of two tags:

  • <pn>pet-name-string</pn>
  • <key>stringified-cryptographic-key</key>


  1. ^ "An Introduction to Petname Systems".
  2. ^ Sadek Ferdous; Audun Jøsang; Kuldeep Singh; Ravishankar Borgaonkar (2009). Security Usability of Petname Systems. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer Science+Business Media. ISBN 9783642047657.
  3. ^ a b Audun Jøsang; Torleiv Maseng; Svein J. Knapskog (29 September 2009). Identity and Privacy in the Internet Age: 14th Nordic Conference on Secure IT Systems, NordSec 2009, Oslo, Norway, 14-16 October 2009, Proceedings. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-3-642-04765-7.
  4. ^ a b "The PetName Markup Language".
  5. ^ Schanzenbach, Martin; Grothoff, Christian; B., Fix (2022-02-03). "The GNU Name System". GNUnet. IETF. Retrieved 2022-02-04. The design of GNS incorporates the capability to integrate and coexist with DNS. GNS is based on the principle of a petname system and builds on ideas from the Simple Distributed Security Infrastructure [SDSI].
  6. ^ "E and CapDesk".
  7. ^ Markus Jakobsson; Steven Myers (2006). Phishing and Countermeasures: Understanding the Increasing Problem of Electronic Identity Theft. Wiley-Interscience. ISBN 0471782459.

External links[edit]