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Re: Python ssl handling could be better...
From: Charles Morris <cmorris () cs odu edu>
Date: Wed, 2 Mar 2011 15:36:33 -0500

It's hard to do if you're starting from zero and have to write your own tools.  It's not hard to do when you can just 
download something off the Internet, which is the reality we're dealing with.  Jay Beale released a tool to do this 
years ago at Toorcon.  There are many others.  Game over on that discussion.

"Oh no toooools exist!?!?!"  Wow.

We should be designing systems for a high level of assurance, not "a little bit better than awful."  Besides, with 
the speed at which technology moves and the innovativeness of users, products should be made robust so they can stand 
up to unanticipated usage.  For example, if someone went out and wrote a Twitter client based on python-twitter and 
it became popular in North Africa, many people would falsely think their revolutionary conversations are "secure" 
because it "uses SSL", but in fact the oppressive governments can trivially sniff all the traffic (and possibly 
impersonate trusted users?).

An attacker who is motivated to cause harm will find the tools to do what they want, so MITM is not a high bar.  
There are available tools to do it that don't require expertise.  As I said previously, the only attacker defeated by 
unauthenticated SSL is the one who wasn't going to cause much harm any way.

Ahh yes, the chorus of nerds everywhere.  Guess what, most people just do their job, that they're good at, and expect 
the technology to do the right thing.  The assume computer professionals are as thoughtful about making things easy 
to use and safe as the designers of microwaves, lawn mowers, paper shredders, etc...  With those things you have to 
try really hard to hurt yourself or cause damage.  With unsafe SSL you're hurting yourself by default.  That would be 
akin to a microwave melting your eyes if you were "too stupid to wrap the appliance in protective shielding."

The incorrect assumption of the masses isn't our fault and is only
marginally our problem :(
It's a sad thing, and I'm more than happy to work to educate them.

And no, you aren't "hurting yourself by default"; and your
example is incorrect, as I also specifically said that it's the
application's (client's / microwave's)
fault if it does not advise the user of the current security context.

In short-
Encryption without authentication is ALWAYS BETTER than no encryption

It's not.  Would you like to jump out of an airplane with a parachute that you THINK will work, but doesn't, or one 
that actually will
work?  You'd make a different choice if you knew the chute wouldn't open.

It is. A parachute that works a nonzero % of the time (encryption
without authentication)
is infinitely better than one that you can BE SURE WILL NEVER WORK (plaintext)

The application, or parachute, should warn of the danger involved so
the user may make an educated choice.

Authentication without encryption is ALWAYS BETTER than no authentication

Not if it can be captured/replayed to impersonate you in the future. WTF are you smoking?

It is. Authentication that resists a nonzero percentage of attackers
(cleartext authentication)
is ALWAYS BETTER than no authentication whatsoever.

e.g. Turn off authentication on your in.telnetd, post your IP on FD,
and tell me how that works out for you.

Encryption with authentication is ALWAYS BETTER than either of the
above two scenarios

Even a broken clock...

I think that means you agree with me, otherwise I have no idea what
you mean.. so.. Burrito!

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