February 15, 2005

Plans for Scams

Gervase Markham has written "a plan for scams," a series of steps for different module owners to start defending. First up, the browser, and the list will be fairly agreeable to FCers: Make everything SSL, create a history of access by SSL, notify when on a new site! I like the addition of a heuristics bar (note that Thunderbird already does this).

Meanwhile, Mozilla Foundation has decided to pull IDNs - the international domain names that were victimised by the Shmoo exploit. How they reached this decision wasn't clear, as it was taken on insider's lists, and minutes aren't released (I was informed). But Gervase announced the decision on his blog and the security group, and the responses ran hot.

I don't care about IDNs - that's just me - but apparently some do. Axel points to Paul Hoffman, an author of IDN, who pointed out how he had IDN spoofing solutions with balance. Like him, I'm more interested in the process, and I'm also thinking of the big security risks to come and also the meta-risks. IDN is a storm in a teacup, as it is no real risk beyond what we already have (and no, the digits 0,1 in domains have not been turned off).

Referring this back to Frank Hecker's essay on the foundation of a disclosure policy does not help, because the disclosure was already done in this case. But at the end he talks about how disclosure arguments fell into three classes:

  • Literacy: “What are the words?”
  • Numeracy: “What are the numbers?”
  • Ecolacy: “And then what?”
  • "To that end [Frank suggests] to those studying the “economics of disclosure” that we also have to study the “politics of disclosure” and the “ecology of disclosure” as well."

    Food for thought! On a final note, a new development has occurred in certs: a CA in Europe has issued certs with the critical bit set. What this means is that without the code (nominally) to deal with the cert, it is meant to be rejected. And Mozilla's crypto module follows the letter of the RFC in this.

    IE and Opera do not it seems (see #17 in bugzilla), and I'd have to say, they have good arguments for rejecting the RFC and not the cert. Too long to go into tonight, but think of the crit ("critical bit") as an option on a future attack. Also, think of the game play that can go on. We shall see, and coincidentally, this leads straight back into phishing because it is asking the browser to ... display stuff about the cert to the user!

    What stuff? In this case, the value of the liability in Euros. Now, you can't get more FC than that - it drags in about 6 layers of our stack, which leaves me with a real problem allocating a category to this post!

    Posted by iang at February 15, 2005 10:05 PM | TrackBack
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