Re: secure client-side platform
Date: 09/01/05

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    To: <>
    Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2005 03:24:47 -0000

    #1, we are talking about how to do critical secret communication in a secure
    way, right? so forget about those putting win9x 24/7 on DSL ... let them
    continue contributing to the spam and zombie business ;-)

    imagine i'm going to access an e-gold acocunt of $1M ...
        first i unplug the network cable and remove harddrive;
        then boot with a clean livecd;
        later start firewall and then plug the network cable;
        run "mozilla-firefox about:blank";
        directly go to HTTPS-secured website;
        once done, reboot.
    i cannot figure out what could go wrong in the above process ...

    clean read-only OS is a solution against "once owned, stay owned" (trojan
    stays in system until next format)

    it does not solve the problem of the vulnerabilities in client software like
    mozilla (as joxean and keith suggested)

    if we only have encryption-secured connection to trusted server,
    assuming enemy do not have control over the trusted server itself,
    our computer can only be compromised if:
         * enemy have total control over the communication channel
           between us and the trusted server
         * AND
           - there is a vulnerability in the certificate/publickey
             verification process of client software like mozilla
           - OR the mathematic foundation of publickey-privatekey
             sign/encrypt trick got a problem.
           - OR we clicked YES in the
             certificate-is-invalid-continue-or-not dialog
         * AND
          enemy got vulnerability to exploit after going thru the
          certificate verification process taken in our side.

    chances are rare, hum? the very last sentence of my trooseid article is:
    Never touch any not-encryption-secured connection during a
    secret-communication op.
    you read it, right?

    Q: can you really trust Google?
    A: it's really up to you which server you choose to store and transfer
    encrypted secrets. in my view, the Gmail service of google is just a good
    example here ... you got service better than google's gmail, of course go
    ahead ... )

    honestly, i have not used the tools mentioned in the "why not ... " part
    below. it gonna take some time to evaluate those solutions by myself.


    "you got a problem"
    *** 1 ***
             Joxean Koret <>
     [+] I think this is a bad idea. What about client software vulnerabilities?
    You can have a system that were secure but

    currently it's not.
     [+] Various applications, such as web browsers, mail clients, etc... needs to
    be constantly updated to fix the newest

    *** 2 ***
             "Keith Oxenrider" <>
     [+] I am sure you will be hearing this from many others, but basically it is
    impossible to secure client side computing if

    the client every goes outside of your control (one presumes that if it remains
    inside your control you have effective

    controls). Clearly, server side computing is entirely within the control of
    whomsoever owns (or 0wns) the server, so there

    is implicit trust when you connect (can you really trust Google to protect
    your content?).
     [+] While your recommendations, if used, will obviously increase the baseline
    security of the average person, you can't

    guarentee anything. Smart card developers run into many of these issues and
    they don't have to deal with buggy commodity OSs

    and browsers. Since the vast majority of users don't even bother to keep
    their machines patched (people STILL use Win9x

    connected 24/7 to DSL, btw), offering suggestions on how to make their
    computer even more difficult to use is unlikely to win

    any converts.
     [+] Those of us who are already paranoid and have done their homework know
    there is no way to ensure on-line security

    besides never doing anything on-line.
     [+] Something to keep in mind, a read-only OS is only as good as its patch
    level when it was written and will decay with

    time eventually (soon) reaching an insecure state that can easily be penatrated.

    "why not ..."
    *** 1 ***
             Joxean Koret <>
    Why not use a system like LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project) or any other
    "Think Client" based system?
    *** 2 ***
             "Beauford, Jason" <>
    Tinfoil Hat linux ..silly.
    *** 3 ***
             "Gustavo Paredes" <>
    Do you know secuware?


    how to have a secure client-side platform for secret communication?
        ... transferring and storing secret messages, online banking, etc

    i got some fresh ideas in mind, and would like to share it here:
    0. watch network with sniffer, so be sure no byte is sent to weird destinations
    1. read-only operating system(knoppix, etc), so every boot is a fresh start
    2. get every secret processed in memory and stored as encrypted in remote server

    any suggesion or fresh idea on this topic is welcome

    this document for ordinary people on the street:

    bugtraq guys can directly go to the conclusion part:

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