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Comment: Re:Apple iOS File System Encryption (Score 2) 186

by QuantGuy (#35164780) Attached to: iPhone Attack Reveals Passwords In Six Minutes

Your statements are generally accurate about how the iOS 4 cryptosystem works. However, they apply only when the applications in question are actually requesting data protection services from the OS. If an application doesn't require data protection, these restrictions won't be enforced. See this presentation from last year's WWDC (the person who posted it probably broke NDA, but whatever).

The Fraunhofer paper states that some types of sensitive materials could be obtained without the passcode. Hence the screaming headlines. But it is just as interesting to note that some items WERE NOT accessible without the passcode, which implies that they were protected using the data protection techniques you described (and as outlined in the PDF).

I think what happened here is that the items that the Fraunhofer researchers were able to access were related to apps didn't require data protection, OR the specific keychain items were marked kSecAttrAccessibleAlways or kSecAttrAccessibleAlwaysThisDeviceOnly. That's a guess.

If that's true, then all that is needed is for Apple to make a few minor code changes to the apps so that they observe the proper data protection policies.

Comment: This story is a crock (Score 2, Interesting) 394

by QuantGuy (#32968466) Attached to: Cyberwarrior Shortage Threatens US Security

This story is the biggest bunch of BS.

I listened to this story on NPR. Instead of actually relying on hard data, the reporter simply found someone who estimated there are only 1,000 qualified "cyber" professionals in the US. The source presented no hard data, just a gut feel that there aren't enough people. This figure is about as well-sourced as the claim (often repeated) that the underground malware economy is bigger than the market for illegal drugs.

Meanwhile, instead of calling outside the beltway, NPR also called up Alan Paller, the head of the SANS Institute, who parroted the same line. How Paller can say that there are less than 1,000 qualified security professionals with a straight face is beyond me. SANS claims to have trained over 150,000 people. Does that mean that 99% of their "graduates" are therefore unqualified?

The worst part about this is that NPR did not even bother to disclose Paller's blatant conflict of interest. Contrary to popular belief, SANS is NOT a non-profit. It's in business to make a buck. I can't think of a better way to plump up the attendance rolls than to manufacture scare stories about "shortages" of professionals.

I've got no real issues with Paller other than the fact that he's just another garden-variety huckster. I've got a bigger problem with NPR, who was just plain sloppy.

Comment: Re:The bad guys thank you Tavis. (Score 5, Insightful) 497

by QuantGuy (#32587246) Attached to: Miscreants Exploit Google-Outed Windows XP Zero-Day
There are a lot of "go-to" commentators that the press goes to for supposed insights about security. Graham is one of them. He's a smart guy, but also one of the worst carnival-barkers in the industry; always chasing stories. Here are a few classics:
  • On Bluetooth phone viruses, apparently the next big thing in malware (2004): "If you don't know about bluejacking these messages can be quite a shock" (2004)
  • On the groundswell of Mac malware: "This means two real viruses have emerged for the Mac OS X platform in less than a week. The question on everyone's lips is - when will we see the next one, and will it have a more malicious payload?" (2006)
  • On "naming and shaming" (his words) countries from whose IP address space spam appears to emanate: "A new dirty 'gang of four' - South Korea, Brazil, India and their ringleader USA - account for over 30% of all the spam relayed by hacked computers around the globe." (2010)

It is a bit rich that he's asking Tavis whether he "feels good about himself." Just saying.

Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.

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