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


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Don't listen to troglodytes (Score 1) 299

by sinij (#49300539) Attached to: Scientists: It's Time To Resolve the Ethics of Editing Human Genome
Natural evolution takes millions of years and doesn't select for traits we would find useful. It is time to take matter into our own hands. Start hacking genome. Sure, there will be numerous failed experiments and disasters along the way, but self-programming is the only way we can get better. Do-nothing alternative eventually leads to resource exhaustion and collapse of our civilization.

Ethics? Who cares about some rigid individualist standards that are based on logically bankrupt bearded-man-in-the-sky concepts, ones still subscribing to such dated notions will be left on the heap of history. There is no ethical problems with species struggling for improvement, but there is imperative to do so.

Comment: Re:Would it matter? (Score 1) 576

These are two different assumptions. What if FTL-using civilizations exists, and What if these civilizations also moved to world-constructing stage of technology.

What I'd ask you in turn - what a civilization that can construct and move planetoids hundred miles across would want with our dirtball?

Comment: Re:No surprise... (Score 2) 114

by sinij (#49088729) Attached to: Duplicate SSH Keys Put Tens of Thousands of Home Routers At Risk
First, there is no such thing as perfectly secure information system. The best we could do is mitigate identified risks. The best any standard could do is specify how to mitigate specific risks.

In case of NIST CAVP (part of FIPS testing most people are familiar with), the risk they are mitigating is that cryptographic algorithm you are using is flawed in some way. This certification program is hugely successful, there are robust standards and specs, and hardly anyone these days end up with bad algorithms because free certified reference implementations and free testing vectors were made available.

Second, different aspects of FIPS program focus on different risks. For example, at higher certification levels (e.g. CMVP FIPS 140-2 Level 3 or 4) the program provides very robust and comprehensive assurance that both algorithm and methods of use of these algorithms within cryptographic module is secure. I am too lazy to dig through the specs, but I am positive that at level 3 it explicitly examines key storage. The flaw with FIPS is actually opposite of what you state - the level of scrutiny ramps up so rapidly that it is impossible to satisfy it only with a software implementation at above level 2. As a result, overwhelming majority of certifications are against lowest tiers that are limited in scope.

Now, people look at CAVP certification (algorithm testing for software product) and make ignorant statement that the ENTIRE FIPS PROGRAM is ineffective. Even when it is very evident that it accomplishes exactly what it promised to do. To leave you with an example - PCI (payment transactions) requirements cap at FIPS 140-2 level 3. This is stuff that touches MONEY! FIPS 140-2 level 4 is spook-level robust, they even have a requirement to trip zeroization if you attempt to freeze or x-ray the chip.

Comment: Re:This is a general problem (Score 1) 114

by sinij (#49087987) Attached to: Duplicate SSH Keys Put Tens of Thousands of Home Routers At Risk
Cryptography knowledge in software development is very shallow. Most only know to integrate OpenSSL (without FIPS module). Ask them about entropy, and they start talking about the heat death of the universe. Even Linux kernel guys, who otherwise tend to be knowledgeable, would tell you that /dev/urandom is a desirable and secure choice.


Comment: Re:No surprise... (Score 3, Insightful) 114

by sinij (#49087887) Attached to: Duplicate SSH Keys Put Tens of Thousands of Home Routers At Risk
FIPS is not a joke - it ensures that that your cryptographic algorithms are implemented correctly and meet the standard. So you don't generate matching private/public keys or all 0 keys and other preventable but non-obvious to people outside of crypto mistakes. FIPS does not guarantee that you use these algorithms intelligently, there are other certifications that do that.

Comment: Re:FTFY (Score 2) 114

by sinij (#49087611) Attached to: Duplicate SSH Keys Put Tens of Thousands of Home Routers At Risk
Yes, clearly what John Matherly did was by far more harmful than idiotic design decisions that resulted in such unforgivable "barn doors open" security holes. Because if he didn't disclose this vulnerability, nobody else would have found it and everyone would still be perfectly safe.


At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.