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Comment: Re:Pretty pointless (Score 1) 324

by swillden (#49201661) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

If I were a vendor, even one who really wanted to be cooperative, I'd balk at that, because the chances of something like a backdoor being discovered are too high. It would be actively sabotaging my customers, and not just to the NSA.

That did not stop RSA from including NSA's compromised random number generator and making it the default selection. Maybe their alternatives included a secret court order, NSL, or being paid 10 million dollars.

Indeed it didn't. Idiots. $10M appeared to do the trick. Though they did apparently take the money and adopt the PRNG before it was realized that it was likely backdoored, and before we realized that the NSA had abandoned their mission to improve US COMSEC.

Comment: Re: Many are leaving ham radio too (Score 1) 135

You have the Part 15 and ISM services for that. You really can buy a microwave link that's metropolitan-distance and legal to use.

We lost much of our 440 capability to PAVE PAWS in California. Remember, Amateur Radio is not the primary service on many bands. The military is on 440.

Comment: Re:Many are leaving ham radio too (Score 1) 135

If you want that nearly infinite microwave spectrum, you have the Part 15 and ISM services. Absolutely nothing is stopping you. Power is not the issue with those frequencies, it's line of sight and Fresnel zones.

No, I absolutely do not have to prefix my words with anything. You do that by posting as an anonymous coward. I use my real name to indicate that I stand behind my words.

Comment: Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 1) 685

by puto (#49193749) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?
You have no idea of what you talk about. I am citizen of Colombia, Spain, Panama, and the United States. When I am in any other country of the US, I lose all support of US consular services, because I am beholden to the laws of those countries. I cannot commit a crime in Colombia and scream for US help... Please stop giving bad advice on the internet.

Comment: Oh Come On, it's a Press Release (Score 4, Insightful) 85

OK, no real technical data and some absurd claims here.

First all-digital transceiver? No. There have been others. Especially if you allow them to have a DAC and an ADC and no other components in the analog domain, but even without that, there are lots of IoT-class radios with direct-to-digital detectors and digital outputs directly to the antenna. You might have one in your car remote (mine is two-way).

And they have to use patented algorithms? Everybody else can get along with well-known technology old enough that any applicable patents are long expired.

It would be nicer if there was some information about what they are actually doing. If they really have patented it, there's no reason to hold back.

Comment: Re:C++14 != C++98 (Score 1) 395

by AuMatar (#49186445) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which Classic OOP Compiled Language: Objective-C Or C++?

The reason they're useful for iterators is that they fucked up iterators. There should have been a base abstract iterator class with child classes for the various types/classes. Then you could have just declared it as an iterator* and not worried. Rather than providing bad patches they should fix the initial problem. Patching on mistakes just leads to problems.

Comment: Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 1) 125

by swillden (#49182821) Attached to: Linux 4.0 Getting No-Reboot Patching

If someone gains root, they can swap out the on-disk boot image that contains the kernel, and wait for someone else to reboot it as part of normal maintenance.

Assuming there isn't something that prevents the boot image from being replaced. See my other, more extensive, comment in this thread.

Comment: Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 3, Informative) 125

by swillden (#49181487) Attached to: Linux 4.0 Getting No-Reboot Patching

But what you're saying is that rebooting is somehow a magic cure-all that guarantees the system isn't infected somehow

Don't be condescending. I'm not saying rebooting is a magic anything.

Whether or not this matters depends on the threat model and why the attacker is interested in patching the kernel. For example, one purpose would be to disable other kernel security features, such as SELinux, or dm-verity. Most SELinux rules are configured and the configuration can be altered by root, but some are compiled into the kernel and can only be modified by modifying the kernel. Altering the persistent kernel image may not be possible for a variety of reasons (read-only media, SecureBoot, etc.). In addition, in security-sensitive and mission-critical contexts an unexpected reboot may well be noticed.

I don't understand your assertion about SecureBoot. Are you referring to some known vulnerability of some particular secure boot system? Given a decent implementation of secure/verified boot, an attacker should not be able to convince the system to boot a modified kernel image, which means that run-time modification of the kernel is the only option if the attacker needs to bypass some kernel security enforcement.

In general, the security model of a high-security Linux system assumes that the kernel is more trustworthy than root. The ability for root to modify the running kernel invalidates this assumption, which most definitely is a security issue.

In the context of a system without mandatory access controls there may not be any reason to care, since once an attacker has obtained root there probably isn't any limit to what he can do.

Comment: Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 2) 125

by swillden (#49180351) Attached to: Linux 4.0 Getting No-Reboot Patching

It's no more a risk than current patching that requires a reboot, except that you don't have the downtime of a reboot.

Sure, if your concern is error, rather than malice. An attacker who gains root could use this to dynamically patch a backdoor into the running kernel. Rebooting the machine would potentially enable someone to notice.

As another poster noted, though, you can already dynamically patch the kernel for malicious purposes by loading a malicious module, assuming that hasn't been disabled. In contexts where security is crucial, I would disable both dynamic module loading and run-time patching.

Comment: Re:Pretty pointless (Score 1) 324

by swillden (#49179733) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

I assume the communication companies were handing over a lot more than the NSLs can demand in the spirit of cooperation and that is why the retroactive immunity was necessary

The GP wasn't suggesting that excessive data was handed over, he said that an NSL could be used to demand installation of a backdoor. If I were a vendor, even one who really wanted to be cooperative, I'd balk at that, because the chances of something like a backdoor being discovered are too high. It would be actively sabotaging my customers, and not just to the NSA... a backdoor can't distinguish between users, it lets in anyone who figures it out. And, of course, if the existence of the backdoor were published it would do serious damage to my business.

Even companies who want to cooperate are going to be reluctant to do potentially business-destroying favors for the government. There would be a great deal of incentive to fall back on the law and refuse on the grounds that the law doesn't authorize such requests.

Comment: Re:FDE on Android doesn't work as of yet (Score 1) 119

by swillden (#49179701) Attached to: Google Backs Off Default Encryption on New Android Lollilop Devices

I'm skeptical that an Android device would survive running flat out for two years to crack a PIN. The heat and battery life issues I experienced when I tested it demonstrate clearly that mobile devices simply aren't designed to run full-speed 24x7.

Also, it should be pointed out that the attack I described is far from easy to carry out. Among other things, it requires dumping the contents of flash, which basically requires removing the flash chips from the mainboard without damaging it, then either putting the flash chips back or installing new flash, then the device must be unlocked, a custom, hostile OS flashed, and finally the attacker can start the multi-year process.

Note that the 630-day figure I cited is on average. It would take twice that long for a guaranteed break.

Finally, if you add one more character to your passcode (7-character alphanumeric), the crack time jumps from 630 days on average to 124 years.

I agree that Lollipop FDE still needs some improvement, but it's already quite good.

Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 1) 658

by swillden (#49176897) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

Civil disobedience has ALWAYS carried the potential for punishment and if you break the law to make your point that the law is unjust you should stand ready to be arrested, imprisoned and tried in court for what you choose to do.

Your argument would carry more weight if the government who'd be trying Snowden weren't the same one he outed for violating its own laws, with the active collaboration of its judicial branch. Not to mention all of the recent fully-public sidestepping of due process for hundreds of other enemy combatants. Oh, and the torture, including of US citizens. And... do I really need to go on?

Snowden has extremely good reason to be skeptical of the fairness of a trial... or if he'd even get a real trial.

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