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Re: Bug#765512: general: distrust old crypto algos and protocols perdefault

Christoph Anton Mitterer writes ("Re: Bug#765512: general: distrust old crypto algos and protocols perdefault"):
> So what's wrong about my approach, apart from the paradigm "security
> first"?

Firstly, I agree with everything Russ has said.

But secondly, I would worry that you're perhaps not paying enough
attention to the practicalities surrounding deployment of algorithms
and indeed security technologies more generally.

Your response to Russ about RC4 in Kerberos is an example.

Your comments about SSL are also concerning.  In some applications,
SSL is used opportunistically.  Indeed that's happening now to some of
Debian's web presence.  I often find myself fighting the modern trend
for ever-harder-to-get-past TLS warnings in web browsers.  Those
warnings and the associated hard-to-penetrate UI, which I am pretty
sure you support, are a marvellous example of the kind of thing which
can harm rather than improve security.  Making more things fail,
rather than work in a less-secure way, is often not an improvement.

The biggest threats to the security of our users are not sophisticated
attacks on elderly and half-broken cryptoalgorithms.  The biggest
threat is bugs.  After that comes the many failures to deploy _any_
security technology, because so much of it is hard to use, or to
manage and deploy.  Why is the whole world still using unencrypted
unauthenticated email ?

Now, where upstream have a bad set of defaults, I am totally in favour
of changing that in Debian.  That's not specific to security
questions.  But if we are going to change what upstream did, we should
be sure to know why the upstream package is the way that it is.  We
need to be aware of the security/compatibility tradeoffs - and often
it will be necessary to pick more compatibility over more security.


PS: Here's an argument from my own authority: I have a PhD in computer
security; I worked fr many years in the computer security industry; I
have implemented cryptoalgorithms, protocols, and a great deal of
crypto-using application and security software.

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