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Comment: Re:How does it secure against spoofing? (Score 1) 116

by Opportunist (#48199749) Attached to: Google Adds USB Security Keys To 2-Factor Authentication Options

No, there is no guarantee that the user will not use a mobile phone to access his online banking (and the idiocy of some banks pushing out mobile apps for online banking doesn't actually improve security in that area either).

You can't make the user secure. You can only offer it to him and hope that he's intelligent enough to accept it.

Comment: 80s movies? Really? (Score 3, Interesting) 611

by Opportunist (#48198887) Attached to: NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

So it's also the 80s movies to blame that women are not interested in careers like soldier, spy, pilot, policeman (apology, -woman), archaeologist, exorcist, karate fighter,...

Has anyone ever looked closer at the 80s? The 80s were not a geek decade. The only movie I can remember where geeks were not just the comic foil (ok, even in that one they were) was "Revenge of the nerds". The whole "engineering geeks" were no role model in 80s movies, and even less so in TV series. Whenever they were in some prominent role, they were the little sidekick of the actual hero. Be it Automan's creator Walter, who was mostly a comic sidekick (ok, the show wasn't that memorable, but the special effects were great for its time) or Street Hawk's Norman who was some timid, beancounter-ish scaredy-cat. The geek roles were at best meant to make the hero shine some more.

Actually, the only engineer role I can remember that was allowed to be superior in areas to the hero and be more than a nuisance to him was that of Bonnie in Knight Rider.

A woman.

Comment: Re:How does it secure against spoofing? (Score 1) 116

by Opportunist (#48198737) Attached to: Google Adds USB Security Keys To 2-Factor Authentication Options

The second channel will not secure a compromised channel, but it will make it easier to detect it.

There are various defenses against replay attacks, most of them relying on keys being tied to the current time and only being valid NOW but neither before nor after. But that is only good against a replay, it is quite useless when the attacker is manipulating your own communication. That has been the staple of attacks against banking software since the advent of the OTPs, and the only sensible defense against that is actually a two channel communication. Out of band one way transmission (i.e. sending a OTP to the customer to use in the transaction) doesn't help here.

There is very little you can do to combat malware infections unless you are willing to use a second channel. At some point in the communication the data is vulnerable to modifiction, no matter how well you try to shield it. It resides in memory, unencrypted, at some point in time. And if nothing else, this is where it will be manipulated.

And it's heaps easier to do if the interface used is a browser. You can literally pick and choose just where you want to mess with the data.

Comment: Re:How does it secure against spoofing? (Score 1) 116

by Opportunist (#48198661) Attached to: Google Adds USB Security Keys To 2-Factor Authentication Options

Ok, using what frequency? As far as I'm aware the whole spectrum that could be used by 3G is owned by some telcos and considering just how expensive using those freqs is they will hardly be so nice to let you use them for a little bit. They'll want to see money for that!

Comment: Re:How does it secure against spoofing? (Score 1) 116

by Opportunist (#48198589) Attached to: Google Adds USB Security Keys To 2-Factor Authentication Options

The system you describe has been implemented often. Most often I've seen it with online games and the like where the main threat is the use of credentials by a malicious third party (i.e. some account hijacker stealing username and password, logging into your account and doing nefarious things with it). For that, you don't need a dongle. You need two synchronized devices that output the same (usually numeric) key at the same time. Basically you get the same if you take a timestamp, sign it using PKI and have the other side verify it. If you have two synchronized clocks, transmitting the signature (or its hash) suffices. That doesn't really require plugging anything anywhere, although it probably gets a lot easier and faster to use if you don't have to type in some numbers and instead have a USB key transmit it at the push of a button.

But that's no silver bullet. All it does is verify that whoever sits in front of the computer is supposedly who they claim to be and entitled to do what they're doing. It does NOT verify what is being sent, or that the content being sent is actually what this user wanted to send.

If anything, it protects Google rather than the user. Because all that system does is making whatever is done by the user of the account non repudiable. Because whatever is done, it MUST have been you. Nobody else could have done it, nobody else has your dongle.

Comment: Re:How does it secure against spoofing? (Score 1) 116

by Opportunist (#48198461) Attached to: Google Adds USB Security Keys To 2-Factor Authentication Options

Technically, "real" two factor authentication, with two different channels involved, require an attacker to infect and hijack BOTH channels if he doesn't want the victim to notice it.

As an example, take what many banks did with text message as confirmation for orders. You place the order on your computer, then you get a text message to your cell phone stating what the order is and a confirmation code you should enter in your computer if the order you get as confirmation on your cellphone is correct. That way an attacker would have to manipulate both, browser output on the computer and text messages on the phone, to successfully attack the user.

In other words, it does of course not avoid the infection. It makes a successful attack just much harder and a detection of the attack (with the ability to avoid damage) much more likely.

Comment: How does it secure against spoofing? (Score 5, Insightful) 116

by Opportunist (#48196909) Attached to: Google Adds USB Security Keys To 2-Factor Authentication Options

What keeps me (or my malware, respectively) from opening a google page in the background (i.e. not visible to the user by not rendering it but making Chrome consider it "open") and fool the dongle into recognizing it and the user into pressing the a-ok button?

A machine that is compromised is no longer your machine. If you want two factor, use two channels. There is no way to secure a single channel with two factors sensibly.

Comment: Plot Twist (Score 1) 458

by LoyalOpposition (#48189797) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

A 39-year-old UK man has been convicted of possessing illegal cartoon drawings of young girls exposing themselves in school uniforms and engaging in sex acts.

What if they write a sequel with a plot twist where the girl was actually a Taiwanese 25-year old police woman who was undercover in the school trying to find illegal song downloaders? Will he get out of gaol retroactively?

~Loyal

Comment: Re:Censorship (Score 2) 109

by Opportunist (#48179839) Attached to: BBC Takes a Stand For the Public's Right To Remember Redacted Links

The problem is less that people think they're anonymous. The problem is more that it's usually not they themselves that post "incriminating" content but their peers, and with the internet this means it's here to stay.

For reference, take Star Wars Kid and all the other involuntary internet celebrities.

Comment: Re:As expected from google (Score 2) 109

by Opportunist (#48179819) Attached to: BBC Takes a Stand For the Public's Right To Remember Redacted Links

While I agree that this would be the best way to deal with it, you seem to forget what most politicians also conveniently ignore: Their laws don't mean jack in Generistan. Slander isn't really a crime in some countries. At least countries that have real problems instead of first world problems are usually a wee bit, let's say, sluggish when it comes to your request to take down some article you don't like.

For a time I was busy trying to fight malware. Part of that fight included trying to take down command&control servers. You have NO idea how much trouble it can be to convince the executive in some far east countries to cooperate in something like shutting down such a C&C server. Even if said country does actually have laws against computer crime. Now take a wild guess how easy it may be to convince a provider in said country to do something against an article the content of which is possibly not even violating their local law (but is violating EU laws).

The EU can only policy the territory it controls. Some countries may think they own the world and can enforce their laws anywhere, I'm kinda glad the EU doesn't follow that train of thought. And I am DAMN glad they try to control it that way instead of the "Chinese firewall" approach!

"We are on the verge: Today our program proved Fermat's next-to-last theorem." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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