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Security After the Death of Trust

samzenpus posted 1 year,28 days | from the lock-it-down dept.

Security 162

An anonymous reader writes "Simon St. Laurent reviews the options in the wake of recent NSA revelations. 'Security has to reboot. What has passed for strong security until now is going to be considered only casual security going forward. As I put it last week, the damage that has become visible over the past few months means that we need to start planning for a computing world with minimal trust.'"

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Minimal Trust: (4, Insightful)

Hartree (191324) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023577)

Shouldn't that have been the paradigm from the beginning if you really wanted security?

Just because you think a person or organization can mostly be trusted today, doesn't mean it will always be the case.

Re:Minimal Trust: (2)

buravirgil (137856) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023605)

The paradigms shift along the sea changes and no patterned pulse cannot be read. But Bob Dylan sings better than I will ever post: Strike another match. Go start anew.

Re:Minimal Trust: (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023629)

It has been available for a kind of long time. RFC 2440 for encrypted email was written in the 1990s, but people are really resistant to anything that might help their own privacy. I can't even get my friends to use "Off The Record" for secure IMing. They don't care that their IM is going unencrypted over the network, or at least not enough to spend 2 minutes to install it.

Yes nothing is perfect including this but encryption is a lot better than not. Endpoints (who you talk to) is still exposed but having your message contents hidden still seems like an improvement, but people won't do it even when it's easy and you prompt them to.

Re:Minimal Trust: (2)

somersault (912633) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023703)

I don't see the point in encrypting all my IM either. If the government wants to watch me joke around with my friends, let them. I encrypt passwords and banking info, but who cares about the rest?

If your friends felt they really had something they needed to tell you about in private, then they could talk to you via an encrypted connection from a Live CD, or tell you in person. For the rest, nobody cares.

Re:Minimal Trust: (4, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023729)

Until you chat with a friend, make dirty terrorists jokes, and this friend is thought by the NSA to be a terrorist. You'll find yourself interrogated before you know it.

There are countless scenarios that may see you regret this carelessness.

Re:Minimal Trust: (2)

somersault (912633) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023777)

If the NSA want to feel like idiots, they're free to do so.

I don't live in the US either btw, and I'm happy to let you guys keep it to yourselves.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023781)

If you think living outside of the US will keep you safe from the NSA (or other US TLAs), you're dumber than we thought.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

somersault (912633) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023901)

Yeah? What exactly do I need to be kept "safe" from? Are they going to send thugs round to interrogate me for flirting on Facebook?

Re:Minimal Trust: (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023953)

Yeah? What exactly do I need to be kept "safe" from? Are they going to send thugs round to interrogate me for flirting on Facebook?

yes.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024055)

You don't even need to be actually flirting. Just keeping pictures of nice ladies on your computer can be enough. Or just helpfully repairing the computer of a friend who happens to keep such pictures is enough.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

somersault (912633) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023961)

(in another country, no less)

You guys are unbelievably paranoid sometimes.

Yes, I could get hassled if I try to fly into America. But I already knew that before the NSA shitstorm. Everyone knows that. This new wiretapping bullshit doesn't really change anything for me. In fact, considering this was made "legal" with the PATRIOT act, it isn't even a surprise. I'm not sure why anyone is surprised. I thought the whole point in the PATRIOT act was so that the government could abuse their power needlessly.

Re:Minimal Trust: (2)

MadKeithV (102058) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024001)

(in another country, no less)

You guys are unbelievably paranoid sometimes.

Um, dude [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

somersault (912633) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024085)

Whatever, I could use a holiday. If chatting about buying a kitten or playing guitar hero can get me a free holiday, then by all means I will continue what I'm doing.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024201)

Good god, man. [photobucket.com]

Re:Minimal Trust: (3, Funny)

kilfarsnar (561956) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024843)

Whatever, I could use a holiday. If chatting about buying a kitten or playing guitar hero can get me a free holiday, then by all means I will continue what I'm doing.

If you think extraordinary rendition is like being on holiday, I'd hate to see where you usually vacation.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

somersault (912633) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024921)

Skyrim. And France.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

pscottdv (676889) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024493)

Outside the US, they send drones...

Re:Minimal Trust: (4, Insightful)

kilfarsnar (561956) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024827)

Yeah? What exactly do I need to be kept "safe" from? Are they going to send thugs round to interrogate me for flirting on Facebook?

"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." -Cardinal Richelieu

No I would imagine not. Any given person likely has little to fear from increased surveillance; most people's lives are uninteresting. But if someone is looking at you with the intent of finding wrongdoing, they will find it. Especially if they have a history to look back on.

The other issue is that these surveillance powers are being used against anyone the US government doesn't like, for whatever reason. Do you agree with everything the US government does and says? I'd guess not. Do you support the actions of people who are organizing to push back against those policies you disagree with? I'd imagine so. Well these surveillance (and detention) powers are being used against those groups who are fighting for what you believe in, whether you participate or not. So your interests are being indirectly harmed by these powers.

Should people try to emigrate? (2)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023905)

I don't live in the US either btw, and I'm happy to let you guys keep it to yourselves.

Is your country accepting refugees from the U.S. regime?

Re:Minimal Trust: (3, Insightful)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024025)

If the NSA want to feel like idiots, they're free to do so.

A similar thing happened to a friend in Germany. And not, the German police didn't feel like idiots, and quite happily wrecked the guys life. If you have a gun, you never feel like an idiot. Instead you just pull the trigger on anybody who dares to snicker...

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

radiumsoup (741987) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024181)

NSA doesn't stop at the US border. They are responsible for GLOBALLY monitoring communications that might be harmful to the United States.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

somersault (912633) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024249)

I'm aware of that, but generally the worst that happens if they don't like you is that they'll stop you from legally entering the US. You have to be being a douchebag on a pretty epic scale before they start being able to justify rendition.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024543)

Sometimes they just get names wrong :)

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45024777)

You mean like the Yemeni reporter who simply did his job and reported that the US was the one who bombed a village and killed a bunch of women and children? And then he was kidnapped by Yemeni intelligence agents, tortured (including having two teeth extracted), and thrown in prison. And then popular outcry in the country had the president there about to pardon him, but Obama phoned the dude up and asked him not to? Yeah, you just keep believing that everyone they're interested in is guilty. Or are you saying that you're cowardly enough to duck your responsibility should you ever find yourself in the position to do anything of significance?

Re:Minimal Trust: (3, Insightful)

kilfarsnar (561956) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024987)

I'm aware of that, but generally the worst that happens if they don't like you is that they'll stop you from legally entering the US. You have to be being a douchebag on a pretty epic scale before they start being able to justify rendition.

ORLY?

Do you think Khalid El-Masri [wikipedia.org] and Maher Arar [wikipedia.org] would agree? Or do you not have a Muslim sounding name, so you figure you'll be fine? First they came for the Muslims, something something...

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025475)

I suppose that you mean economically harmful for US corporations [reuters.com] , having competition is definately not what is capitalism about.

Is not just monitoring [schneier.com] . Your lack of security will be used against you. If you have something critical enough in another country, you probably have a logical bomb running on your infrastructure. Stuxnet [wikipedia.org] is an obsolete example by now.

But even without logical bombs, information means control, if they have all your information they could control you, or your population. If your country don't lick the boots of the USA overlords, they could spill secrets about your government that could put it in trouble, or make the population revolt. Even just stealing money of banks of enough people could trigger that revolt. And the killer secret could be just a grandmother telling in facebook to her contacts that she saw certain politic in a place where he shouldn't be. And the revolt will be pretty useful to put a puppet in power, is not that we didn't see that in the past years, and how well it went for the local population, during and after all got "solved".

In this scenario won't be surprised if most still independent countries just close ties with US and US companies, puts protective monitoring in all communications and restrict what can access citizens and foreigners. Probably the ones that in a year still didn't do it are not truly independent.

Re:Minimal Trust: (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45025431)

If you live outside US, the president is legally mandated, even obligated, to kill you, if suspect of terrorism.

Re:Minimal Trust: (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024075)

For the rest, nobody cares

I do. I fucking care that I can't communicate without big brother leaning over my shoulder to make sure I'm a good citizen. It's fucked up. Even if they never used a single byte of the data, the act itself is fucked up. Besides that, laws change. Much more of your day to day life than you imagine is already illegal to some extent or another. With pervasive eavesdropping you're just one ticked off bureaucrat away from a prison sentence. And even if you yourself by some miracle live (an almost impossible) squeaky clean lifestyle, it's even less likely that your family and friends to as well.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025883)

I don't see the point in encrypting all my IM either. If the government wants to watch me joke around with my friends, let them.

Then you're part of the problem. You should never let the government conduct such surveillance, and by doing so, you make it more difficult for intelligent people who do care about their privacy to protect said privacy.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025901)

Oh, and just because you think what you're saying is harmless, that doesn't mean the government thinks so. There are numerous cases of the government misinterpreting jokes and statements and then proceeding to try to ruin people's lives. Surely you don't want to suffer the same fate? Or do you believe that people who work for the government are perfect angels? From your comment, I would think not, but it's truly baffling that you would suggest that it doesn't matter if the government conducts such surveillance; it does matter, and it is dangerous to let them do so.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023739)

This is because most people don't care, most of the time.
For the same reason they use credit cards instead of cash. Now go stand around your local headshop and see how many people suddenly switch to cash.

Re:Minimal Trust: (4, Insightful)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023755)

It has been available for a kind of long time. RFC 2440 for encrypted email was written in the 1990s, but people are really resistant to anything that might help their own privacy.

The problem is getting a critical mass of users to adopt encryption. And although it's largerly a matter of people either not caring, or not knowing enough to care, it's also a problem of not wanting to stand out in the crowd and risk getting singled out. My friends and I don't use e-mail encryption because, with so few other regular users of it, we would simply be marking ourselves for special attention from TLA's.

It's the kind of thing where a significant portion of the population - say 10% - needs to start using e-mail encryption simultaneously. And unfortunately, that's not likely to happen any time soon. I've said it before and I'll say it again: like sleight-of-hand in a magician's act, bread and circuses really do work to keep people distracted from what their leaders and masters are doing. Until enough of us pull our heads out of our popcorn bags, organize, and start engaging in the Internet's equivalent of 'passive resistance', the 1% and their minions are going to keep screwing us over.

Re:Minimal Trust: (4, Informative)

lxs (131946) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023887)

To twist an oft abused quote around:

If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear so go ahead and encrypt everything. Make the bastards work for every byte.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024659)

Yes globally many smart people will question their professors, tutors and wonder what they where educated on.
They will start to write their own code out of pride or nationalism and be able to offer it to their govs at a fair market rate.
No more trade deals to select from a few 'big' UK/UK brands at a low price and with long term support totally locking out skilled locals.
The only way into air gapped systems will be via special forces teams breaking in or bribed local staff.
Both options are very expensive and risky.

Re:Minimal Trust: (1)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024581)

Another issue is state and national databases. If they all connect with junk encryption, junk servers, junk OS they are open.
Millions of people can be sorted per country thanks to poor software and hardware import deals.

Practical problems with the web of trust (2)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023937)

RFC 2440 [describing OpenPGP] for encrypted email was written in the 1990s, but people are really resistant to anything that might help their own privacy.

You talk about OpenPGP. How much does it cost to travel to get your key signed by people who are well connected in the web of trust? And how can you trust that the people who signed the key of the person with whom you want to communicate are reliable at signing keys?

I can't even get my friends to use "Off The Record" for secure IMing.

That depends on whether a client supporting Off The Record is available for a particular operating system (such as Windows Phone) and how easy it is to start using. Mobile operating systems prefer monolithic apps over protocol plug-ins that can be installed into an existing app, and people might not be willing to learn a different IM client's user interface just to communicate with you.

Re: Minimal Trust: (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023747)

Probably they should. We've been working for years on a cloud-alike, open source system (ball [askemos.org] ) where mutual distrust is the founding principle. Too few people who care about priciples. All they ask for is maximum convinience today.

P2P crypto software (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023785)

Use this software http://is.gd/Ja2oWr for secure P2P communications.

It's better than email or SSL. It uses crypto not known to that unpopular agency.

Re:P2P crypto software (2)

blueg3 (192743) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023985)

If you follow this link, you have failed the first test of computing with minimal trust.

If it actually goes to crystallographic software and you use that software, you've failed the second and third tests.

Re:P2P crypto software (1)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023991)

And it's useless to communicate with people who use an Android device or an iPhone or iPad as a primary communications device.

Re:P2P crypto software (3, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025031)

That is the real problem. If all I do is work from my desktop then I can just use kmail and its fairly strong gpg support and I'm done. The problem is that I use many operating systems, including ChromeOS, so I need Android clients, web-based clients, etc. I've yet to see anybody write a really good web-based email client, and even the IMAP options are very limited if you want to use tag-based email management (as in Gmail).

I really don't want to use Gmail. Its identity management is broken on Android, it isn't good at threading, there is no way to use it with encryption, and it gives Google access to all my mail. The problem is that nobody has come up with an equivalent FOSS option. The best I can do is cobble together a bunch of stuff and still get an inferior product. I've yet to find a web-based MUA that handles keyboard shortcuts nearly as well as Gmail...

Re:Minimal Trust: (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45024551)

Anyone remember when the NSA threw a fit regarding 128bit SSL becoming the next standard?

Then suddenly there was silence, and technology moved forward to 256bit and then 1024 etc... never to hear another whisper from the NSA.

This should have been the beginning of all the questions

For most of us in the field, we rely on solutions doing what they say they will; in order to meet the requirements we set. So we have to maintain some level of trust somewhere, but at the same time, trust wasn't a part of the risk assessment process, at least it wasn't charted, it was assumed.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023589)

We never really trusted our government. These recent revelations only prove that we weren't completely paranoid or crazy.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023603)

We never really trusted our government.

The problem with elections is that the government always wins :(

Re:What? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024381)

The problem with elections is that the government always wins...

That's a reflection on us, not the government. Elections reveal how much we truly approve, nothing else, And I would say the present 98% is a pretty good number. You people will never learn how much power you have until you make the feeblest of effort to use it.

Re:What? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025579)

98% of the ones that actually voted (in countries where the vote is obligatory the government is choosen by everyone, not the specially motivated, paid to go to vote or partial by definition). And the electoral process have some flaws, only Lesters can say for who you can vote [ted.com] , in (most?) places you can't vote for no candidate, and of course, the opponent did a bad enough campaign to make sure that the people voted for Obama if were for make sure that he wasnt elected, and as the only way to get even noticed that you exist is a expensive, big corporations funded, and totally legal campaign, no matter who you choose, the same real rulers are elected each time.

Re:What? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025969)

The most fundamental problem is a basic failure to overcome conditioned reflex. It may not be possible, but we can't know until we try. This whole thing about 'campaign funding' is bullshit. And besides, if you can vote people in and out to correct that, then you've already solved the problem, and further discussion is unnecessary.

most people don't want to bother (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023591)

I try to get my family to stop using gmail, and instead use a local mail program which they can then use for end to end encryption, private non-cloud storage of their old emails, etc, but they don't want to bother. They'd rather have google storing all their emails and are fine with the advertising they get shown as a result of the data-mining of the email contents. They don't care about the NSA because they "aren't doing anything wrong".

That's what security is up against: people who want to put all their information in "the cloud" and don't really care what that means for privacy and security or even services that can disappear at any time or change their terms of service at any moment. It's all about the simplicity, and nothing else matters except allowing it to be a brainless usage model.

Re:most people don't want to bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023651)

I fear the species is doomed because of this brainless majority. Soon we can't even take a shit without logging to Failbook first.

Re:most people don't want to bother (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024463)

Soon we can't even take a shit without logging to Failbook first.

For now, we have ratemypoo... Say I'm not number 2! [southparkstudios.com]

Re:most people don't want to bother (3, Informative)

ruir (2709173) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023685)

There are PGP plug-ins for Chrome and Mail in Mac, at least. Why not exchange PGP keys with the family? I have used the gpgtools in the past in my Mac, and it is much pretty easy to install and use then.

Re:most people don't want to bother (1)

nanospook (521118) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023743)

I ain't got no time for dat! Seriously.. it's about the backbone technology. Your average person isn't gong to be a subject matter expert on computer security. It has to be embedded in a transparent fashion to make it work and it has to be a transparent technology (as in open source) so the government doesn't use it for their own ends.

Re:most people don't want to bother (2)

ruir (2709173) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023819)

PGP by definition has to have an element of trust unknown for 3rd players, i.e. the private keys. If gmail implemented it, it was almost the same as not having it. and I certainly wouldn't see the point of using it. The point of using it on your side, in a TRANSPARENT method, is for google not be able to access your private messages too. Note, you don't have to be an expert, the installation of the tools have just to be simple enough. After exchange keys, the software is smart enough to know when you are sending messages for people with you haven't exchanged keys (yet), or for people with keys on the store, and automatically encrypts that conversations. So yes, transparent, but on YOUR side. In the past, people would say only typists would write document and nowadays people with Word write documents too.

Re:most people don't want to bother (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023855)

The screwy thing about that, is that it needs a plugin at all. This is ancient shit. For the last 15-20 years, most email clients have come ready to use pgp out of the box, but then you get to the high-profile (i.e. popular, because it comes with pre-installed consumer OSes) email clients, and they require people to search for plugins, in order to get basic 1990s-level tech. The problem used to mainly just be Apple Mail and MS Outlook (and then, sadly, Thunderbird, WTF) but then smartphones got popular, and the situation with today's smartphones is even worse, if that's possible. It's really pretty negligent for MS and Apple (and now Google) to be shipping out OSes with broken email by default. That means negative security by default. Shame on them.

Re:most people don't want to bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45026023)

OS X Mail does not need a plug-in to do encrypted e-mail. Buy an e-mail certificate (or create your own using Keychain Access) and new e-mails that you write have a button to digitally sign them. Receive a signed e-mail from someone else, and now any e-mail you write to them has a button to encrypt it. It's that easy: signing certificates are automatically stored in your keychain, and Mail automatically gives you the option to use them if they are available.

The problem comes when trying to explain to users of Microsoft Outlook the convoluted steps that they have to go through to install the signing certificate that they just received from you as part of your signed e-mail, and then the further convoluted steps they have to go through to use the certificate each and every time they want to encrypt an e-mail to you.

Re:most people don't want to bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023999)

Your family would be like: "This is fun. How do these handcuffs fit around my wrists? Hahaha. Neat. What other information did you need about me Mr. police man?"

Re:most people don't want to bother (1)

stardaemon (834177) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024013)

For the record, gmail supports IMAP.

Re:most people don't want to bother (2)

naris (830549) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024079)

So, the NSA can read my gmail. It will probably put them to sleep. I am not concerned about putting NSA agents to sleep. Perhaps they might find out I buy stuff from newegg form time to time? or about my average bills? Sure, I could spend a lot of time (that I don't have) and effort to setup my own computer running my own SMTP server, and have to setup my own SPAM filter and maintain that, using copious amounts of time that I don't have. Perhaps I could even use PGP to encrypt both of the personal e-mails that I have time for per year, but what would I really be accomplishing? To claim that I am being "private" and "secure". Also, even the NSA does not have the resources to read each and every one of the 294 billion e-mails sent every day. The best they can do is to quickly scan a small percentage of them. most likely for a fairly narrow target criteria. No thanks, I'll continue using my gmail account that filters the spam for me. Especially since 90% of the e-mail that make it past the spam filter is utility bills and the like. I am not interested in hiding the fact that I heat my house with gas from the NSA...

Re:most people don't want to bother (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45025593)

First, I'm not disagreeing with you; your reasoning is pretty similar to why I don't encrypt my e-mail and in fact use GMail.

But the NSA doesn't need have a human read your e-mail. They have computers for that.

Re:most people don't want to bother (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024577)

You always trade some privacy and security in exchange for being social and active. The terms of the compromise are up to the individual. If you're insisting your family should get end to end encryption and they don't want it, YOU'RE the brainless one for not realizing your preferences are not their preferences.

Re:most people don't want to bother (1)

peon_a-z,A-Z,0-9$_+! (2743031) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024775)

I try to get my family to stop using gmail, and instead use a local mail program which they can then use for end to end encryption, private non-cloud storage of their old emails, etc, but they don't want to bother.

People have always been like this as long as civilization has been around. Some people fully understand a technology and take the details of it into their own hands, while others are more comfortable with someone else providing the expertise. Take your argument above and say:

I try to get my family to stop using [the local mechanic], and instead use a [wrench from the garage] which they can then use for end to end [repair of their car, maintenance of essential parts, and general peace of mind for their family members that ride in the vehicle], but they don't want to bother.

While this type of behavior has always been around, but we have yet to have it applied so forcefully to information. Therefore, I think to properly address the problem you have to see that this is not unique to mankind. The unique element, however, is the topic that these people are choosing not to gain deeper understanding of.

A few months ago - when all of this was starting - I read a comment here on Slashdot about how the only thing holding back this sort of NSA spying over the last two hundred years is technology - not the Constitution. We are now only at a point that technology is beginning to no longer be the barrier to this type of activity, and we will have to see how these enabling technologies apply to the Constitution. Viewing the problem from it's root cause (not a unique case of people being "lazy") is the first step in the right direction.

Re:most people don't want to bother (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024959)

Heh, nice car analogy :) I do agree with your general arguments.

That said, the difference is that the mechanic is not likely to put a secret bomb in your car, of course.

Re:most people don't want to bother (2)

Rich0 (548339) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024965)

I understand how to do exactly everything you're asking your family to do, and yet I still trust all my email to Gmail.

The reason is that it makes the data readily accessible. I'd like to read my email from arbitrary computers using only a web browser, and routinely read my email in this way so the client needs keyboard shortcuts/etc.

Sure, I could set up squirrelmail or roundcube and use IMAP with some client on Android (and have done so in the past), but the software is very clunky. With gmail I can process each email I read with a single keystroke. With something like squirrelmail it takes several mouse clicks to archive a message.

I'd really prefer using FOSS and encrypting everything, but it is a real pain unless you're almost exclusively reading your email via an X11 console. Even then the keyboard shortcuts often aren't as good as gmail, but at least you have drag-and-drop.

Re:most people don't want to bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45025209)

I'd really prefer using FOSS and encrypting everything, but it is a real pain unless you're almost exclusively reading your email via an X11 console. Even then the keyboard shortcuts often aren't as good as gmail, but at least you have drag-and-drop.

WTF? So, was I dreaming when I setup Zimbra Open Source Edition [zimbra.com] and used the email client of choice (except for the shitty Gmail app) on any platform of choice? I don't remember an X11 console or clunky email clients anywhere in that dream.

Re:most people don't want to bother (2)

devent (1627873) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025731)

True. Privacy is not a technological issue but a political one.
I could barricade my windows, put steel fence around my house, install EM shielding etc. Would not be a nice life, through. The same is for Internet privacy: I could install packet filter, firewalls, encrypt everything, but it's not a nice experience of the Internet then.

That is why we need strong privacy laws. We have privacy laws of mail and phone calls, why we don't have privacy laws for e-Mail and Web sites, Skype, etc.? Privacy laws are essential for freedom of expression and democracy.

This isn't news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023593)

Those of us wearing tin foil hats have already based our security paradigms and practices around the idea that the security institutions many people trust were not worthy of that trust.

For example, stop believing TOR offers you any security from the US government. It is a nice idea but it is just an illusion.

Secure conversations that I now have are written down on paper (where there are no cameras) and later burnt and the ash pulped.

So- (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023597)

Back to sneakernet?

Re:So- (1)

lxs (131946) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023903)

Too smelly.

Start buying stamps again (2)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023631)

Well, I guess I have to start buying stamps again. But beware the postal inspectors!

Not Quite (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023963)

It was also recently revealed that the post office tracks and logs mail going overseas to see who is sending what and to where. The part that boggles my mind is the post office has the worst tracking system of all. It can only tell you if your package arrived at its destination several days after the fact.

Hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023661)

Hardware is the biggest problem.
You can use open source software all you want, but how many of you know exactly what the chips in your hardware do.

Re:Hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023719)

We need to restart from scratch.

Like we did in the late 70s & early 80s: a whole generation learned how computers worked and was willing to re-invent everything on microcomputers what already existed in the mainframe world and then went beyond that. It was also a huge boost for economy.

Let's do it again, but this time on open & secure hardware which is designed around ease of auditing.

Re:Hardware (3, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025689)

Like Intel embedding 3g radios in the vPro processors [softpedia.com] ? Putting trojan in FPGAs [dangerousprototypes.com] ? If i can't walk to the next continent, why worry to start walking?

Do what you have at your hands, you can improve a lot your security in the points where you control. And let the rest of the world figure the missing pieces, with open source software you also have portability, when an alternative comes in that area (i.e. moving to ARM) you will be able to take a step forward. Just don't get too tied to a solution that you can't control.

less trust, more thrustworthyness (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023669)

Trust is never the goal. It is granted, if people have been proven thrustworthy.

Re:less trust, more thrustworthyness (3, Funny)

Entropius (188861) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023883)

"Thrustworthy" sounds like a colloquialism for someone worth having sex with.

Re:less trust, more thrustworthyness (2)

kilfarsnar (561956) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025203)

Like spongeworthy?

It wasn't a revelation (0)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023673)

If you actually though that you could use a mobile phone, mobile computer or the internet with out being tracked then you deserved to surprised by the NSA leak. Why would a government not take the effort to look into what people do on a daily basis when they have the technology . For most people it is really not an issue, you only have to worry when you have something to hide. It's funny how people whine and freak out about privacy but they don't really have a point, only the assumed guilty act like they must hid what they do. People who know they aren't breaking the law and don't intend to aren't afraid of just letting people see what they do on a daily basis.

Personally I think it's funny that this entire thing has grown so out of proportion. If you actually thought you had security and privacy online then you have the problem, not the group that was looking at you.

Re:It wasn't a revelation (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023861)

Why would a government not take the effort to look into what people do on a daily basis when they have the technology .

To me it was also predictable, because I've read history books and noticed again and again that the most ruthless, sociopathic, often bloodthirsty control freaks are the ones who want power so badly that they'll do anything to achieve it. That's the nature of government. Public awareness and understanding is the only real thing holding it back. We have public apathy and ignorance because most people have been softened and made complacent by convenience and pointless indulgences (hundreds of channels of brain-dead horse-shit, news media controlled by 5 corporations all of which are cozy with government, public education for obedient workers and not for self-directed thinkers).

But that the government would want to spy on its people and would use technology in that manner, no that's not remotely surprising to anyone who understands the nature of governments and the people who most want to run them. What we need is a majority of people who comprehend this basic fact that has been repeatedly observed throughout history. The stakes are higher now, and become higher the more our tech advances. Our leaders have noted that bread and circuses works, that's because they actually do learn from history.

Re:It wasn't a revelation (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45024061)

"People who know they aren't breaking the law and don't intend to aren't afraid of just letting people see what they do on a daily basis."

It's not just about breaking the law.

It's about doing and/or being anything not accepted by society.

Re:It wasn't a revelation (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025403)

For most people it is really not an issue, you only have to worry when you have something to hide. It's funny how people whine and freak out about privacy but they don't really have a point, only the assumed guilty act like they must hid what they do. People who know they aren't breaking the law and don't intend to aren't afraid of just letting people see what they do on a daily basis.

I thought this board had moved past this argument. How do you know you're not doing something illegal? Do you have a working knowledge of every law on the books for your state or local municipality, let alone the federal government? Are you under the impression that all laws are reasonable and adhere to your common sense? Is your idea of "wrong" the same as everyone employed at the NSA? Are you aware that these surveillance powers are being used against people who have not broken a law but are critical of, or inconvenient to the US government? Finally, how do you know that guy you cut off in traffic doesn't have a cousin at the NSA who now has you license number and is digging into your life? Are you sure your life will look squeaky clean to some faceless bureaucrat with an ax to grind?

Misunderstanding what trust is (4, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023689)

Take the view of the Pentagon and assume that you are at all times compromised. You probably are. Any given entity can be broken into by a determined hacker. Talk to a pen tester sometime and ask them how many places they have failed to break into. The entire concept of trust is that you can send data privately over the Internet, you can't unless you encrypt your data offline ahead of time.

On the Internet trust is all about identity and encryption. For most people that translates into a certificate that is used to supply SSL. People then assume that because they are using SSL that they can now trust a given connection. There is no justification for trust and there never has been, the entire concept of trust is a misunderstanding of the concept of how a Certificate Authority works.

All a Certificate Authority does is say that their is an unbroken chain of identity from a given point to a given point. Even then a Certificate can be forged or stolen or issued improperly, and even if controls detect a bad certificate in use most people will click the button to use the bad certificate anyways.

All of this assumes that a given government entity hasn't used a court order to force a Certificate Authority to replicate a Certificate so that your data can be seized. Certificate Authorities cooperate with things like court orders, they don't self destruct like Lavabit. That whole backstory with Lavabit self destructing - it was a fight over getting the key that was used because he wouldn't hand over his private key.

People also forget that SSL is wholly dependent on Certificate Authorities. SSL is used to encrypt data with a key when data is in transit. The problem is that data anyone that owns the network can conduct [sourcefire.com] an MITM [bluecoat.com] attack against your key. SSL is fundamentally broken because it presents a perception of trust when it is incapable of providing that level of trust.

Re:Misunderstanding what trust is (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023713)

Your analysis of SSL isnt wholly correct. You can perform casual MITMs when you control the CA chain, and when your end users know they are being spied on.

It is however fairly easy to see if someone has created a forged cert with an alternate CA, as the cert thumbprint and CA chain would be different.

Re:Misunderstanding what trust is (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023751)

Not when you hold the same keys the real CA does. The NSA may well have their own copies of these keys.

Re:Misunderstanding what trust is (1)

blueg3 (192743) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024095)

The CA never has a copy of the SSL certificate necessary for doing key exchange.

The public certificate is what is signed by the CA. It's also handed out to anyone that asks for an SSL connection, so it's hardly secret. The private key is only ever held by the certificate owner, not by the CA.

If a CA is complicit (or gives you a copy of their key), you can create a pretty good MITM by generating a new keypair with the target's information (obtained from the public cert) and signing that. However, you cannot duplicate their public certificate or even have your fake certificate have the same fingerprint as theirs. So if someone initiating an SSL connection has seen the target's public certificate in the past and remembered the fingerprint -- or if they have received the fingerprint through a non-compromised channel -- then your attack is detectable.

The only way to MITM undetectably is to have your public cert be exactly the same as theirs, which means that you need their private key. The only one with the private key is the target, not the CA.

Re:Misunderstanding what trust is (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024221)

Or someone talking to the target.

Look at what happened to Lavabit.

Re:Misunderstanding what trust is (1)

blueg3 (192743) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025127)

To what is "or someone talking to the target" referring?

The only one with the private key is the target. A person communicating over SSL with the target doesn't have the target's private key.

If you want to undetectably MITM an SSL encryption, you need to acquire the SSL private key from the target. Is that more clear?

Re:Misunderstanding what trust is (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025219)

I meant if we the target of the investigation is not the target of the MITM attack.

What I meant was if they have the CA cert and a copy of the priv key or heck at that point they can just take the cert like they did for lavabit, it is game over.

Re:Misunderstanding what trust is (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024125)

Not when you hold the same keys the real CA does. The NSA may well have their own copies of these keys.

The CA doesn't hold any private keys, at least not usually. Even the Mossad allows you to skip giving away your private key.

So, all a malicious CA can do is issue a second certificate with the same info, but for a different private/public key pair. But that means that the fingerprint will be different (this is a hash over the entire certificate, including the public key, which won't match the public key of the original).

So, an observing user can indeed spot this. Only the browser's automatic check (based solely on the CA's signature) will be fooled by this.

Re:Misunderstanding what trust is (1)

petermgreen (876956) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024303)

It is however fairly easy to see if someone has created a forged cert with an alternate CA, as the cert thumbprint and CA chain would be different.

It in indeed easy to see when a cert has changed.

The difficult bit is deciding whether that cert change is legitimate or not. Sites do change their certs for a wide variety of reasons (upcoming expiry, dumb admin loses the keys, need a different selection of domains on the cert) and larger sites often end up with different load balanced/geolocated instances using different certs. So seeing a different cert from other people isn't nessacerally an indication of foul play.

Re:Misunderstanding what trust is (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024187)

People also forget that SSL is wholly dependent on Certificate Authorities

Well, technically, you could always very "certificate" fingerprints manually...

The problem is that data anyone that owns the network can conduct an MITM attack against your key.

Make that "... anyone that owns the network and the CA can conduct an attack...". The purpose of SSL is exactly to prevent attacks by people who "only" control the network between client and server.

SSL is fundamentally broken because it presents a perception of trust when it is incapable of providing that level of trust.

SSL doesn't supply trust, instead it relies on trust. Namely on the trust that CA's are doing their job properly (... which unfortunately, they don't always do...)

Re:Misunderstanding what trust is (1)

KiloByte (825081) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025439)

Even worse, you can't trust just _a_ CA. You need to trust every single of them. Including CNNIC, Etisalat who conduct massive MITM attacks themselves, Turktrust and co who are merely criminally sloppy, and the whole rest, 95% of whom I suspect to not even wince when a three letter agency requests a fake cert pair.

I'm already there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023695)

The first question for a public site should be "does a site need to retain info?". Greed is what fuels the desire to use other people's activity for profit. I built a SAS that deletes all user data after 4 hours. When I started I did not know if people would accept this, but what I find interesting is through the apache log based tracking I can see that people manually delete their data even though it is automatically removed. I am not saying that temporary data will work for every need, but it should be considered.

Thanks for the heads up (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45023735)

What is this story from 10 years ago? Oh NOW we need to have minimal trust. Thanks for laying that out.

I like how all the "conspiracy theory" people are generally considered wacko, yet more of their predictions or "conspiracies" come to be yet they are never given validity. I would say the odds are better if you believe just about all conspiracies, with in reason, till they are proven false. I'd say you'd be right more times then wrong and wouldn't be surprised when the truth come to light.

Re:Thanks for the heads up (1)

causality (777677) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023909)

I like how all the "conspiracy theory" people are generally considered wacko, yet more of their predictions or "conspiracies" come to be yet they are never given validity.

The people who want modern-day prophets to be wrong so they can ridicule them, call them names, and feel better for a moment about their pitifully desperate and meaningless lives, well, these are not the kind of people who like to admit when they are wrong and try to avoid repeating the same mistake.

Validity was never to be expected from the likes of them. Such people aren't interested in truth. They're interested in feeling superior to someone else. This is fundamentally incompatible with a search for truth.

Trust is context- and stake-dependent (4, Insightful)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | 1 year,28 days | (#45023943)

I trust some people's knowledge and expertise in one domain, but not in another. Likewise, if I were a US citizen running an entirely legal US company I'd have not the slightest problem with trusting the NSA cloud with all my company data (if they had such a service). I trust AES with keeping my personal data unencryptable by crooks and criminals, but I probably wouldn't use AES to encrypt all my data if I were a member of the Chinese military. It really depends in the threat scenario and your goals. An unconditional discussion of trust is fruitless.

minimal trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45024015)

"start planning for a computing world with minimal trust"

we've never had a computing world with more than minimal trust

The Internet is not designed to be secure (1)

DogDude (805747) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024817)

No matter what anybody does, the Internet is inherently insecure and non-anonymous because it was designed that way. Any slap-on security on the Net is temporary, at best.

trust is earned (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | 1 year,28 days | (#45024905)

what has the NSA done to earn back our trust? NOTHING!

there is only one logical conclusion: stay outside of their reach and only expose information that you dont mind being public.

the internet has become toxic so where will we go now?

minimal trust (1)

l3v1 (787564) | 1 year,28 days | (#45025939)

"the damage that has become visible over the past few months means that we need to start planning for a computing world with minimal trust"

Oh, come on. I mean I don't know about most people, but there has been no day during my life around computers during which I would've ever thought that computers, the networks, the internet, and/or services were more secure or more trustworthy than that 'minimal' the poster talks about. And I'd expect everyone with enough experince and insight to feel the same. So this 'waking up' one day and being dumbstruck of evaporating trust and security just feels weird and even funny. They were actually never there, just the illusion of some, mostly for the average non-caring crowds, but that's really easy to lose. Also, current generation 'westerners' are the worst in such matters, since they have no more memories of times not-so-long-past when survaillance - covert or open - was the norm. Thinking you live in freedom and liberty can be blinding. Take care, people.
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