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Re: Email based attack on University

On Fri, Oct 04, 2019 at 11:28:24AM +0100, Brian wrote:
> On Fri 04 Oct 2019 at 11:36:02 +0200, tomas@tuxteam.de wrote:
> > On Fri, Oct 04, 2019 at 10:11:52AM +0100, Brian wrote:
> > 
> > [...]
> > 
> > > > Yes, "our" security story is way better than theirs [...]
> > 
> > [edit: I forgot to put "theirs" in quotes]
> > 
> > > A single reliable, well-documented and repeatable example of a problem
> > > caused by pressing enter or clicking on a mail would go a long way to
> > > wipe the smile of my face.
> > 
> > That's not my goal, anyway. Smiles are like sunshine, so why would
> > I want to wipe them?
> :)
> > But still: every "code execution" escape in your MUA paired with a
> > privilege escalation (or some social-engineering equivalent like
> > "click here to install shiny package) is an example. And "we" have
> > had bunches of those.
> That's *after* the mail is opened.

That even complicates the challenge to define the meaning of "opening"
a mail a tad more: render just the "text/plain" MIME parts? Or also
the "application/xml"? And so on. Even unwrapping the MIME seems to
have unintended consequences, as we witnessed not long ago...

And to those in the belief that plain text is something else, I've
a war story of a prank we used to play back in the 90ies which
consisted in re-programming a terminal's answer to the control
code ENQ (CTRL-E, 0x05) to contain an ENQ itself. Coupled with the
detail that a UNIX machine back then sent an ENQ to the terminal
to find out what it is and initialize the termcap settings, lots
of hilarity ensued. Really, we laughed tears :-D

Granted, plain text renderers are lightweight in comparison to the
rest of the world, but they ain't zero-fat. It's turtles all the
way down.

> > > User files are not necessary for the health of the system.
> > 
> > But they're the those which really count: after all, I can reproduce
> > the system easily.
> The integrity of a user's files is underpinned by the integrity of
> the system [...]

Let's agree that the system's integrity is a (nearly) necessary
condition to the user's data integrity -- but by far not a sufficient

-- t

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