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The coordinator issues milestones that the Iota network use as a root of trust when validating transactions. These milestones are signed, which in turn means that keys exist for signing the milestones.

If an adversary obtained the keys used to sign milestones, what attacks could they carry out?

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    Your question assumes that the coordinator uses the same method of private key generation as the standard client software which is an unbacked assumption taking into account that the coordinator uses another signing algorithm. – Come-from-Beyond Jul 24 '18 at 21:06
  • I have broadened the question so that assumption is not made. – Cybergibbons Jul 25 '18 at 11:28
  • I've added that info into "About me" in my profile. Is it a good place for that? – Come-from-Beyond Jul 25 '18 at 19:56
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"Root of trust" are wrong words.

Anyway, if the adversary was issuing conflicting milestones (by confirming transactions leading to an inconsistent state of the ledger) then IRI would stop updating confirmation status of the transactions. That would require human intervention to resolve which might look as node operators approaching the original coordinator operator and asking for a new public key derived from a new private key.

It should be emphasized that the full nodes don't trust the coordinator's milestones, the nodes use the coordinator for finalization of the transaction status, not for deciding if a particular transaction is legitimate or not.

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