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Apr
12
comment Can I block viruses from a USB stick by scanning it before opening its folder?
Since the root cause of the trouble with USB drives is the fact that they can pretend to be whatever they want and the kernel can't know any better, it seems like the obvious solution would be a custom Linux kernel that requires the user to specify what kind of device they plug-in and deny any additional functionality. Which seems exactly what [cise.ufl.edu/~butler/pubs/acsac15.pdf) seems to be doing, so I'd say use that one when recovering data.
Apr
4
comment A secret in a URL
@RockPaperLizard umm.. you're aware that that's the only fix for that "problem"? So I guess I really misinterpreted your post, because I assumed you didn't propose something that was technically impossible, silly of me.
Apr
3
comment A secret in a URL
@goncalopp Agreed on the referrer issue, but then people also post URLs into google and then click on the one result to go to a site (I've seen that happening repeatedly). There are just very many ways URLs can be leaked.
Apr
3
comment A secret in a URL
There is one major problem with using user-accessible URLs containing secrets: People don't consider them secret - also it's easy to leak them accidentally (how many people use google to go to specific URLs? I know a few). In my opinion that's a knockout criteria for private data, although at the same time it can also be a great feature.
Apr
3
comment A secret in a URL
@RockPaperLizard So SE lost all streetcred by not movingstackoverflow.com to stackoverflow.stackexchange.com? Just think about the consequences for a second (brand recognition, SEO) and I'm sure you'll understand why no sane person would ever do that. But SE certainly does not require 3rd party cookies to be enabled, that's only required if you want login capabilities across different domains.
Mar
30
comment Can javascript execution from address bar cause any harm to client's machine?
@niilzon pwn2own just shows that every single browser got hacked. Which has happened for the last few years. Actually I can think of only a single price not collected and that was in 2014 for IE11 with EMET (which had more to do with the fact that you could sell that exploit for quite a bit more to governments than that it was impossible). If you go by CVE entries, the different browsers seem rather similar for remote execution exploits and all around (as long as you stick with the latest versions of IE and don't throw the older ones in as well).
Mar
30
comment Can javascript execution from address bar cause any harm to client's machine?
Actually modern browsers do use security provisions provided by the OS (such as running their rendering processes in low integrity mode in Windows) so patching the OS can make a big difference for exploits. Also any actual source for your claim that chrome has "WAY LESS [security exploits] than IE"? Or are we talking ancient past here? Because comparing IE11 CVE entries to Chrome shows a rather similar picture and IE + EMET is pretty much the most secure browser there is at the moment.
Mar
14
comment What is the point of using an open source and secure OS if you are running it on a machine with closed source firmware?
@mason kerckhoff is making a statement of the form a->b. What you are trying to argue then is that because a->b then b->a must also be true. And that just does not follow in any logical system that I know of. You may be of the opinion that the other statement is true nevertheless, but it does not follow from kerckhoff.
Mar
14
comment What is the point of using an open source and secure OS if you are running it on a machine with closed source firmware?
@Mason Your conclusion does not follow from the premise. Yes Kerckhoff's principle states that a system must be secure even if the inner workings are known to the adversary. But that does not imply the opposite - a -> b does not imply b -> a. You might have that opinion, but don't misattribute such a sentiment to Kerckhoff.
Mar
11
comment Is it possible to get the pass phrase for private key file
@immibis To be fair, there are also things like the pdf password which is basically just a "pretty please don't do that" or password encryption schemes that have been broken for years. So all in all it's not that unreasonable to ask.
Mar
9
comment Hack-resistant hosting solution for non-profit?
"I could just simply (in your case) upload a PHP web shell and (possibly) access all websites located on that server. This is even possible if file permissions are setup properly" - so are you saying that jails are inherently broken or just that some hosting providers don't use them or misconfigure (is there much to misconfigure? seems simple to me) them? Not really keeping up with current state of the art exploits, but I did assume that they worked as advertised, apart from possible bugs in some implementations which can never be excluded.
Mar
9
comment Hack-resistant hosting solution for non-profit?
@Oasiscircle That then requires the hoster to have a fast enough upload which they'd be willing to share with the site. Running a server also violates pretty much every ISP's terms of service for customer internet (you may get away with that depending on the ISP).
Mar
2
comment Why are programs written in C and C++ so frequently vulnerable to overflow attacks?
Yes. And ADA doesn't run on a VM and also prevents most of these exploits just as Java. Having a VM or not is completely irrelevant to this (what do you think is do special about a VM that it can't be done otherwise? Hell it actually only introduces a possible security vulnerability because the JIT needs writeable and executable memory!)
Feb
29
comment Why are programs written in C and C++ so frequently vulnerable to overflow attacks?
This has nothing to do with running on a VM or not. You could have a VM with the same behaviour as c, just as you can have programs that compile directly to machine code that are as safe as say java (e.g. ADA)
Feb
27
comment Why are programs written in C and C++ so frequently vulnerable to overflow attacks?
"But when you're going through billions or trillions of iterations, it adds up to" - when you're iterating through an array it adds up to exactly one single check before the loop, because modern compilers are rather clever. The only time you pay for a bounds check is if the compiler can't figure out whether it's safe which generally means it's a random access. You pay about 1 cycle more in that case, which yes in some situations can add up (e.g. matrix operations), but for 99.9% of all code this is completely negligible.
Feb
24
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Feb
6
comment Why did Poitras and Greenwald put their batteries in the fridge?
@gowenfawr Well a microwave is really only designed to shield you against frequencies around 2.4 GHz. Since blocking lower frequencies generally requires thicker shielding which would increase cost I doubt microwaves block cell phone frequencies (at least the 900 MHz ones) particularly well - or only as well as required for their indented use.
Feb
5
comment Why did Poitras and Greenwald put their batteries in the fridge?
@ThoriumBR People who used to work for the government themselves have mentioned quite a few things you can do in that regard so a bit premature of you to get the tinfoil out.. particularly if you're the very likely target for targeted attacks.
Jan
27
comment What person should I write a penetration test report as?
I was taught to generally use active voice in formal CS papers by my (American) professor. Checking some other papers this seems to at least be the general guidance at MIT. But then I've read enough other papers that use passive voice (and as a native German speaker I do have a tendency towards passive voice as well). I'd say as long as you're consistent you can't go too wrong there. Also one might argue that penetration tests and research papers are different enough to void any comparisons between the two.
Jan
23
comment Is the BBC’s advice on choosing a password sensible?
@Todd certainly true, it was just about the comparison between the two specific methods. Still vastly better than the average password I'm sure.