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Lawrence Krauss On Scientists As Celebrities: Good For Science?

blueg3 Re:It's not about the presenter. (227 comments)

It depends. You can get anyone to read a script on a recorded television show, but that's usually not the point. You can't really do an interesting interview with someone who is a good communicator but isn't familiar with the subject matter.

De Grasse Tyson is often talking about tacheons, wormholes and white holes and other claptrap that's horribly speculative, wildly unusupported, and very probably untrue.

It depends. All of those are supported by theory. They're only "speculative" in that they are permitted by theory but have not been observed and, as a result, it's an interesting question as to whether or not they exist. (If they don't or can't exist, can that information be used to improve our theory?) So, depending on the context and what you say about them, they are potentially interesting lines of discussion, because they offer insight into what (some) physicists are still looking in to.

about two weeks ago
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Wireless Keylogger Masquerades as USB Phone Charger

blueg3 Re:And this is good why? (150 comments)

Demonstrating that people should be using wireless keyboard protocols that don't suck.

about two weeks ago
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Thync, a Wearable That Zaps Your Brain To Calm You Down or Amp You Up

blueg3 Re:Wirehead? (154 comments)

Well, a droud utilizes a wire that actually goes into the brain. The tasp, on the other hand, works externally and remotely. So this is somewhere in between the two.

about three weeks ago
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Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

blueg3 Re:Who are you defending against? (170 comments)

1. That's pretty common simply because getting anything approved for encryption above the SBU level is difficult and expensive. (It also requires, in essence, review by and the approval of NSA.) So tons of encryption products are made only up to the SBU level.

2. Even with end-to-end encryption, it's unlikely that they would approve classified data transiting the Internet.

about a month ago
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Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

blueg3 Re:It's required (170 comments)

And the ARPA guys didn't consider that, because that first 'A' stands for "Army"

The "A" stands for "Advanced". I think they were more interested in a research network than a tactical (battlefield) network. I think it's still true that "one organization controls all the infrastructure between two points on the Internet" was *not* the model of the Internet they were envisioning at the time.

about a month ago
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Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

blueg3 Re:This should be free (170 comments)

The issuer generally doesn't have a copy of your private key. You make a public-private keypair, put the public key into a certificate request, send the request to a CA, and the CA generates a signed certificate from it that includes the public key. The private key is not seen by the CA at any point.

You of course *could* have the CA generate both parts and then send you both the public and private key, but that's not nearly as good a solution and is much less common. Most of the CAs I've seen that provide "easy to use" interfaces generate the keypair in the Web browser so that the private key doesn't have to be transmitted.

about a month ago
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18th Century Law Dredged Up To Force Decryption of Devices

blueg3 Re:Well, obviously (446 comments)

"It is not within the technical capabilities of [Company X] to fulfill this request."

about 2 months ago
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Open Source Craft Brewery Shares More Than Recipes

blueg3 Re:It's not that hard (50 comments)

They do say which commercially-available strains they use.

about 2 months ago
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Open Source Craft Brewery Shares More Than Recipes

blueg3 Re:The website states exactly what yeast (50 comments)

That's only true if you propagate yeast (internally) for many generations. You can also buy yeast, which a lot of brewers do because it saves them the trouble of doing careful quality control on a microbial culture.

It's also possible to acquire other brewers' yeasts unless they filter or sterilize their beer. Yeast labs do this on a regular basis and then sell it to other breweries (and to homebrewers). The yeast from The Alchemist, for example, is available from a couple of different companies now.

Only a handful of yeast strains are so interesting that their being "proprietary" is economically valuable. A lot of those have been cloned and are commercially available. Some are mixed microbial cultures (like with lambics), which are very challenging to copy because they're sensitive to their particular environment.

Really, the answer is that brewers don't worry about others stealing their secrets too much, because the market is big, it's pretty easy to make interesting beer recipes, and there are so many process variables that's it's very hard to make exact clones even if you have another person's secrets.

about 2 months ago
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Open Source Craft Brewery Shares More Than Recipes

blueg3 Re:This is not new (50 comments)

Many crafter brewers will simply give you their recipes -- or at least, the important details -- if you e-mail them and ask.

about 2 months ago
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Open Source Craft Brewery Shares More Than Recipes

blueg3 Re:This is not new (50 comments)

PtY is not difficult to reverse-engineer. It's expensive to make, though, and the ratio of beer nerds to homebrewers is high enough that making it yourself doesn't really put a dent in their market.

about 2 months ago
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Regin Malware In EU Attack Linked To US and British Intelligence Agencies

blueg3 Re:You are a bit over a decade out of date (131 comments)

With respect, you are the one that came in with the childish "my platform is better than yours because your root can do anything" bullshit, so if you can't take a rebuttal then don't try to start such an argument.

No. You're completely imaging--synthesizing--that Windows is "my platform" because Secure Boot was mentioned. The whole argument of signing kernels, root compromising the kernel with modifying the disk, etc. is just as true in Windows as in Linux. You just change the jargon. It's absolutely the same system.

Incidentally, by the nature of my work, I have all kinds of different operating systems. Most serious work gets done on Linux, or, occasionally, OS X, because I can't stand MinGW / Cygwin and command-line is faster. I also don't have a Windows system that actually supports UEFI Secure Boot.

about 2 months ago
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Regin Malware In EU Attack Linked To US and British Intelligence Agencies

blueg3 Re:You write of reading comprehension, yet ... (131 comments)

Just because you reject a simple solution in favour of complex one

Your simple solution is simple but unusable.
Signing binaries is not complex.
The UEFI Secure Boot implementation used by Microsoft is not the only way to implement Secure Boot.

about a month ago
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Regin Malware In EU Attack Linked To US and British Intelligence Agencies

blueg3 Re:Separate firewall box blocking traffic (131 comments)

When attacks can hop airgaps through things like USB devices, the solution "airgap more" sounds a little desparate.

about a month ago
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Regin Malware In EU Attack Linked To US and British Intelligence Agencies

blueg3 Re:You are a bit over a decade out of date (131 comments)

So, most of that post was illegible anti-MS "I imagine everyone who disagrees with me is a fanboy" twisted worldview shit and is largely unreadable. I don't particularly agree with MS's Secure Boot approach, and you manage to point out why in the one coherent sentence at the beginning:

As distinct from the complex web of trust described above where all it takes is yet another leaked key to break into it and render all that TPM stuff irrelevant

Preshipping kernel-signing keys in TPMs and making it tricky to modify the trusted-signing-key list is a dangerous approach they've taken, for this reason. The benefit is that they can get people to actually use it. You can't get many people to use any feature that requires actual configuration. But key revocation is nearly impossible to get right in userland, so there's no way it'll work in a TPM -- a compromised signing key has carte blanche.

Incidentally, as far as I know, the TPM Secure Boot implementation doesn't use web-of-trust, it uses a typical PKI hierarchy.

Somebody clicking on a link in an Outlook message is all it takes to open up Internet Explorer to run whatever it finds in an "asp" script on a hacked MS webserver and next thing you've got files on network shares encrypted and some criminal demanding money - all before the MS or any other antivirus gets a chance to block it.

Secure Boot doesn't do anything to address user-space exploitation. It's not supposed to. That's a more serious problem for most users, yes, but different solutions are for different problems.

Incidentally, with a non-compromised kernel, an antivirus can, if it wants to, block anything before it executes. They hook system calls. They strictly get to operate before any change to the system occurs. In practice, this is often not done (which is why they're not very good), because characterizing "evil behavior" is hard, hooking all system calls is expensive, and people uninstall things that slow down their machine.

You can even, if you want, enforce that every executable memory page on your entire system have a SHA-2 hash that matches the hash for a page from the corresponding signed binary, so that you have no tampered executable memory pages on your whole system. The kernel will gladly do that if you implement it. You can even whitelist individual binaries (by hash+signature, no less), so that untrusted-but-signed binaries can't run either. It's been implemented on a Linux system, years ago. This approach does ruin Javascript, since it's JIT-compiled, but that's probably for the best.

about a month ago
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Regin Malware In EU Attack Linked To US and British Intelligence Agencies

blueg3 Re:You write of reading comprehension, yet ... (131 comments)

I'm not cheering MS. UEFI Secure Boot is just MS strongarming people into actually adopting something that's been widely researched for a while now. People have had research-grade implementations of secure-boot for Linux for some time now. Hell, it was probably five years ago that there was a proof-of-concept implementation of a signed full stack on Linux that did remote attestation (so that a server could prove to a user that its software stack was untampered).

Otherwise, you're being deliberately obtuse in order to argue on the Internet.

The "reading comprehension" comment was in response to this:

what? you have given us no useful information. you talk of root escalation but don't even discuss how it could be done.

I said exactly what had to be done. It's simple. It does take writing to disk. I assume the anon is you, by the way, turning on the anonymous box in order to be a dick. Good job.

Read-only media plus turning off module loading is a solution to preventing adversaries from modifying the kernel, yes (provided you turn off some other kernel features also, and that your kernel has no exploitable bugs). Just "no module loading" is not a replacement for secure boot. It's a different thing. Read-only media is arguably a replacement for secure boot. You'll notice that not many people actually use booting from read-only media, and the reason for that is that it's terribly inconvenient. (It's particularly inconvenient to securely update the kernel without throwing away the read-only security benefit.) Signed kernels is a lot like that, except hey, you get to store your kernel on a normal disk, like most Linux distros expect you to do.

about a month ago
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Regin Malware In EU Attack Linked To US and British Intelligence Agencies

blueg3 Re: You are a bit over a decade out of date (131 comments)

Christ, use a little reading comprehension.

Consider that in Linux, root is able to modify the kernel binary. So privilege escalation from root to kernel requires only a reboot and writes to disk.

1. Be root.
2. Use disk writes to modify the kernel binary.
3. Reboot

There are fancy ways to accomplish (2), but a suitable proof-of-concept is to completely overwrite the existing kernel binary (on disk) with a new one compiled by the attacker. That should make it obvious that the attacker gets to completely control what is in the kernel.

about 2 months ago
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Regin Malware In EU Attack Linked To US and British Intelligence Agencies

blueg3 Re:Separate firewall box blocking traffic (131 comments)

Secure work done on a non-networked system.

That sure worked against Stuxnet.

about 2 months ago
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Regin Malware In EU Attack Linked To US and British Intelligence Agencies

blueg3 Re:You are a bit over a decade out of date (131 comments)

Those solve different problems. Turning off the ability to load modules is an alternative to signing kernel modules. Secure boot is about, at boot time, validating that the kernel has not been modified before loading it.

Consider that in Linux, root is able to modify the kernel binary. So privilege escalation from root to kernel requires only a reboot and writes to disk.

about 2 months ago
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Apple To Donate Profit Portion From Black Friday For AIDS Fight

blueg3 Re:AIDS is bad (102 comments)

Please don't respond and give your "totally sound" reasons for shopping on black Friday, you're mistaken.

Our friendly local gaming store is running game demos (and unstructured try-before-you-buy) and giving out coffee Friday morning. The owner encouraged us to come by.

What am I mistaken about?

about 2 months ago

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