EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.07.14

Secret Deals — Not GnuTLS — a Threat to GNU/Linux Security

Posted in GNU/Linux, Security at 10:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Shifted focus (diversion towards non-issues like the GnuTLS flaw) and what we really need to watch out for when it comes to surveillance on GNU/Linux users

Cryptology is a funny thing. It’s an instrument of control (through predictive information. espionage, blackmail and so on). That’s more or less the thesis of a popular book from Wikileaks folks, titled “Cypherpunks”. Held in the hands of ordinary citizens, cryptology gives citizens power. Abused in the hands of freelance thugs [1] or state-sanctioned thugs like the NSA, cryptology helps guard the thugs (secrecy) and expose citizens who are only ever ‘enjoying’ fake cryptology, such as Microsoft’s and RSA’s. Now that Apple is receiving horrible publicity for breaking cryptology around the same time Apple joined PRISM there is some dodgy attempt to divert attention towards GNU/Linux, even if GnuTLS flaws are already patched and GnuTLS is not so widely adopted, not to mention the fact that is not used for very sensitive transactions such as banking [2]. The Linux Foundation was also quick to rebut the FUD [3], stating that “some were quick to point out that Linux distributions were not vulnerable to this particular issue” (contrary to corporate media reports).

What remains much bigger an issue, other than weak passwords (human error), is closed-sourced and proprietary hardware that may or may not incorporate Linux [4], such as my Home Hub from BT (which is rumoured to have back doors, based on some British press). A lot of what we’ve learned from the NSA leaks is that secret deals and collusion with companies is what’s responsible for back doors, not something which is visible at source code level. It is also what makes Red Hat, an NSA partner, difficult to trust these days [1, 2, 3]. The NSA reportedly asked Torvalds for back doors in Linux [1, 2, 3, 4]. Social engineering, bribes from the CIA in exchange for access (as reported in mainstream media) and even cracking is how spies get their way. They need not rely on programmers’ errors.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Two in five Brits cough up for CryptoLocker ransomware’s demands

    Researchers from the University of Kent quizzed a total of 48 people who had been affected by CryptoLocker. Of the sample, 17 said they paid the ransom and 31 said they did not.

  2. GnuTLS: Big internal bugs, few real-world problems
  3. What is the GnuTLS Bug and How to Protect Your Linux System From It

    It seems that it’s only been a few weeks since we all heard of a nasty certificate validation error in Apple’s software, a.k.a. the infamous “double goto fail” bug. While some were quick to point out that Linux distributions were not vulnerable to this particular issue, wiser heads cautioned that a similar bug could be potentially lurking in software used on Linux.

  4. More than 300,000 routers in homes and small businesses hacked

    Team Cymru, the US-based security outfit which published the report, said that the network of hacked routers is one of the biggest of its kind that has been discovered, with most of the hacked routers in Columbia, India, Italy, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  2. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  3. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  4. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  5. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  6. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  7. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  8. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  9. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  10. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  11. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  12. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  13. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  14. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  15. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  16. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  17. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  18. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  19. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  20. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  21. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  22. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  23. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  24. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  25. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  26. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  27. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  28. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  29. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day



  30. Links 9/10/2014: Free Software in Germany, Lenovo Tablets With Android

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts