Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Can't really complain... want more encryption (Score 1) 82

The goal is to have something that isn't limited to a device. This lessens the amount of code that is locked to one make, or even worse, one model. It also reduces the chance of security issues, since one company's EncFS implementation may be brain dead, while another's is quite up to par with security.

Same with device encryption. If each maker did its own thing with regards to encrypting /data, it would be difficult to make a ROM for that platform that would be up to par with security. At best, a factory ROM would have to have everything disassembled and the pieces used (with a lot of testing and even more luck) for the feature to work.

The more security in base Android, the better. This at least provides a baseline that we know is good. For example, we know any Android 4.x and 5.x device offers encryption of /data, and 5.x devices -should- encrypt that filesystem automatically (although there are exceptions.)

Limiting code to one make/model isn't good. For example, there are features of my old Atrix 2 which no new phones have, and likely would never have.

Comment: Re:Feature Request (Score 2) 102

by mlts (#49794259) Attached to: Android M To Embrace USB Type-C and MIDI

I wouldn't mind something along the lines of XPrivacy (or on iOS, Protect My Privacy) being integrated into Android where if a legacy app wants data, instead of getting an error, it gets bogus information. That way, some generic fleshlight app that asks for everything under the sun including root will be able to fetch data... but it will be all bogus. The ad ID, IMEI, location, username, accounts, list of stashed music, and pictures? Sure, it is valid data, but useless.

Comment: Can't really complain... want more encryption (Score 4, Interesting) 82

Lots of evolutionary fixes. The privacy stuff is better than nothing... but still all of nothing with legacy apps. The fingerprint standardization is good, because it allows an app that keeps keys to have an easy way to validate that the user is authorized.

Mobile payment - works with credit cards, as opposed to ACH debits, so thumbs up there. This means there is some way of rolling back fraudulent charges should something happen. With ACH based mechanisms, once the crook sucks the money out, there is little or nothing one can do.

Of course, there is one thing missing -- a standardized way to encrypt data on SD cards. Yes, /data is protected, but each device maker has their own way of securing SD card data. What is needed is protection similar to Blackberries in the past:

1: Offer compatibility with vfat and exFAT filesystems, by using loopback encryption (EncFS), as well as adding UNIX permissions via UMSDOSFS to keep apps separated. UMSDOSFS hasn't been used in ages... but is ideal for enforcing basic UNIX permissions while allowing for MS-DOS based filesystems to be used underneath.

2: Encrypt the entire SD card's partitions entirely similar to how /data is encrypted. This is the ideal choice, but it keeps the card from being able to be popped out and used with other devices.

Comment: Re:This has been played out before... (Score 2) 555

by mlts (#49791369) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage

RVs tend to have two rails. A 12 volt set of circuits, and 120 VAC. However, because it is only 3-4 meters at most, one can get away with using low-amp appliances on that rail.

A house, with its far longer runs should be on 120 for everything, and if 12 volts is needed... put a rectifier in the room. No need to use big fat meth-head attracting cables.

If one wants the advantage of clean power without needing a power supply for every box... this is a long since solved problem. Telcos have been using 48VDC and NEBS compliant machines for decades.

Comment: Re:Impractical (Score 2) 555

by mlts (#49791307) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage

Even with a few meters, it will require fat, all copper cables (A/C, one can use CCA due to the skin effect.) These are not cheap, and even the big fat ones are not run for more than a few feet.

As an RV-er, I'm familar with both 12 volt and 120 volt systems. For a LED TV or other low wattage appliance, 12 volt is better, just because it directly comes from the batteries. However, for a load like a microwave, A/C, heater, or anything above 300 watts, trying to run that on 12 volts would require very fat, expensive cable. High amperage DC stuff is expensive too. For example, since there are no zero crossings of the electricity, a switch needs to be made quite beefy to handle the arcing when being turned on and off.

USB-C can provide 100 watts is because it steps up the voltage, up to 48 volts. If the connector was trying to provide 25 amps at 5 volts via the thin little wires, they would arc into gas almost immediately.

Comment: Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 117

by mlts (#49783265) Attached to: Insurer Won't Pay Out For Security Breach Because of Lax Security

To boot, with physical security, intruders can get shot. However, if an attacker is going after your stuff via the Internet, there isn't much one can do back to hurt them, especially if they are in a country that doesn't like your home nation. It is a purely defensive war, where a victory can't be obtained, but only mitigating or avoiding a defeat.

However, we do have one thing on our side when it comes to computer security... the air gap. Not 100% secure (as Stuxnet showed), but it forces an attacker to put boots on the ground and deal with physical defenses. Next to the airgap are separated networks (NIPRNet/SIPRNet) that run on distinct leased lines as opposed to just going over Internet VPNs.

Comment: Re: Seems reasonable (Score 1) 117

by mlts (#49782981) Attached to: Insurer Won't Pay Out For Security Breach Because of Lax Security

For a while after 2001, there were auditors and "security consultants" (described best by another /. poster as "suit wearing chatter monkeys") which would do their job by chucking existing solutions and installing Windows, saying that Linux isn't "Sarbanes Oxley compliant." Thankfully this has gone to a dull roar... but in general, it still remains that an OS with FIPS, Common Criteria, EAL 3, and other certifications is going to be a lot more auditor friendly than one that doesn't.

I probably would say that an insurance company denying claims is likely the -only- way we (as proles) will ever see most companies start taking proper precautions [1] in keeping their barn doors closed. Regulations won't happen, lawsuits won't do much other than make lawyers rich, and even with bad PR, people will forget about it. Already, all but /. readers have pretty much forgotten about the Sony breaches, because the news media is covering the sins of the Duggar family.

[1]: Nothing is 100% secure, but proper security precautions are not hard to implement. Disk encryption for laptops is trivially easy. If proper routers are too expensive, a PC with a bunch of NICs and PfSense can do the job for a smaller installation.

Comment: Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 117

by mlts (#49782647) Attached to: Insurer Won't Pay Out For Security Breach Because of Lax Security

One has to be more specific than "firewalls" and "encryption" as well. I can put up a Linux box, use LUKS for all partitions except the kernel, stuff a rule in nftables, and I can claim I have both "firewalls" and "encryption".

However, does that mean an intruder from the outside is locked out. Hardly. The disk encryption means nothing when the volume is mounted and the data is being copied from remote.

What is really needed is going beyond generalities, but having a specific set of guidelines. FISMA comes to mind on this because part of the spec by NIST are security checklists and guidelines by OS and device. With a standard like this [1], it is easier to gauge if a company or organization is in compliance, has issues, or just completely fails.

Some guidelines also have varying levels of security, because not every machine needs to be at a "high" security level. As stated above, guidelines are not just about what settings are in an OS, but training with people, and basic physical security. Things like waving your badge at the door even though the door is open make significant security differences.

[1]: Most of it is obvious, like putting your VMWare management NICs on an isolated network, similar with the SAN management ports... but some of it might be useful. AppLocker in Windows comes to mind.

Comment: Re:Time for 2FA for the local router? (Score 1) 110

by mlts (#49777657) Attached to: Linux/Moose Worm Targets Routers, Modems, and Embedded Systems

The blessed fob idea could be used for a lot more than that, assuming BT or NFC connections (for short range items.) Not just for the network connections, but for things like recovering a lost password on a machine.

As you said, the concept of a physical key is a lot more common, and intuitive to a lot of people, so that might be a way of doing security on a home user basis.

No, this isn't perfect... but it would help immensely with security and close a lot of remote attack holes.

Excellent idea.

Comment: Time for 2FA for the local router? (Score 2) 110

by mlts (#49777029) Attached to: Linux/Moose Worm Targets Routers, Modems, and Embedded Systems

I wish more routers came either with a local method of configuration (an onboard touchscreen display like a lot of LTE Wi-Fi routers, USBSerial, or perhaps just a good old fashioned serial port, with a USB dongle and cable.) From there, one could configure some form of 2FA, which does mitigate the aspect of a compromised PC or network.

Comment: Re:E-mail client? (Score 1) 85

by mlts (#49775839) Attached to: Attackers Use Email Spam To Infect Point-of-Sale Terminals

What needs to be implemented on a POS terminal, if it has to run Windows, is AppLocker and other policy restrictions. I'd say even add DeepFreeze, so that if the terminal gets in some screwy state, a power cycle gets it back to normal. Updates can be handled by various mechanisms, be it a WSUS server if there are a lot of terminals, a USB flash drive with an installer on it, to get a machine to a known good patch level, or even a fresh image of the OS that gets copied over, which reads the terminals config files stashed on a separate volume.

AppLocker or something that blocks executables would have stopped this attack cold.

Comment: Re:Windows XP, not Linux (Score 1) 85

by mlts (#49775739) Attached to: Attackers Use Email Spam To Infect Point-of-Sale Terminals

I do see a lot of XPe (XP Embedded) point of sale installations around my neck of the woods.

Cash registers have two odd quantities. On one hand, they need good security. On the other hand, they may need to keep up with the latest things. At the minimum, EMV credit cards, but things like various payment items from a cellphone are can be needed as well.

Maybe POS machines should be split up into two VMs:

One part does the item totaling, inventory, calculations, purchase/returns, and other parts which stay pretty much static. Even EMV credit card processing can be added here.

The second VM would be just for handling the latest and greatest e-pay stuff, be it ISIS, SoftCard, PayPal, Google Wallet, Apple Wallet, CurrenC, Bitcoin, AltCoin, Namecoin, DogeCoin, pyreals, gil, ounces of precious metals, platinum pieces, and so on. This VM pretty much gets the total transaction amount from the other VM, and does a purchase, audit, or return.

Add a decent hypervisor coupled with a decent snapshot/backup mechanism, and this would provide adequate security and separation of functions.

Done right, it can be done relatively seamlessly, and would limit what happens if one side gets compromised.

Comment: Re:Easily defeated.... (Score 1) 530

by mlts (#49751787) Attached to: Ads Based On Browsing History Are Coming To All Firefox Users

Or use a VM with snapshots or change logs, and when done, roll back all changes, so no matter how much the browser tries to stash, all gets eradicated.

It also works well to deal with compromised browsers, especially if the VM is run in its own NAT segment, so the compromised instance can't gain knowledge of network topology.

Comment: Re:Firefox becomes Netscape (Score 1) 530

by mlts (#49751709) Attached to: Ads Based On Browsing History Are Coming To All Firefox Users

I actually paid for Netscape because it was a good browser at the time.

If the Mozilla Foundation needs cash, maybe a commercial browser may not be a bad idea, especially if it had enterprise level items like being able to be shipped as a .MSI, updated from an internal server like WSUS (not all internal machines have access to the Net in a lot of companies), offered GPO-like functionality to allow for insertion of internal keys, allowed for a recovery mechanism to the security key store, and so on.

This may not mean much to the average consumer, but a supported browser version that can be managed by IT quite well might be a good revenue source, especially with it being platform independent.

Similar with Thunderbird and SeaMonkey. Other than Outlook and mail.app, there are not many good MUAs out there these days. Eudora is dead, and the Bat and Lotus Notes are niche products. Having an alternative to Outlook might be a good thing for businesses, especially if enterprise level management/update functionality could be added in.

The question of whether computers can think is just like the question of whether submarines can swim. -- Edsger W. Dijkstra