Linked by runjorel on Thu 13th Jan 2011 19:35 UTC
Linux "At the end of 2010, the 'open-source' software movement, whose activists tend to be fringe academics and ponytailed computer geeks, found an unusual ally: the Russian government. Vladimir Putin signed a 20-page executive order requiring all public institutions in Russia to replace proprietary software, developed by companies like Microsoft and Adobe, with free open-source alternatives by 2015."
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RE[2]: Security is a big concern
by fisherman2 on Fri 14th Jan 2011 16:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Security is a big concern"
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You are definitely underestimating the cleverness of a resourceful opponent.

"As I said before, it would be quite easy to track outgoing connections (even if you can't establish the content of the traffic)."

At some point these machines will connect back to MS or google or some other website under US jurisdiction through it's normal course of use.

It would not be impossible to hide information in the tcp stack such that neither the sender nor receiver knows about a hidden channel, all that would be necessary would be for the government to wire tap the traffic. Slight variations in ACK/PSH behavior or window boundaries could in fact contain hidden information at the IP level. The tcp timestamp field could easily leak a few bits of information per packet.

Numerous tricks could happen at the HTTP level. The information could be hidden in a combination of layers.

Information could be leaked across multiple connections. For instance, the simple choices of pseudo random port numbers and sequence numbers can leak information.

Short of reverse engineering the windows kernel, no one can prove the absence of a leak from traffic alone. It may be there, it may not, we'll never know.

Any network admin who claims otherwise is misinformed. The best we can do to put a ceiling on the amount of traffic leaked if it is indeed there.

Of course, if I were a government interested in back doors, I'd simply utilize the existing vulnerabilities and blame everything on "hackers" since the public is always willing to accept that as an excuse. The likelihood of being discovered this way is very slim.

"The Russian Government wouldn't be using a special build of Windows, thus if there's backdoors in the Russian builds then there's going to be backdoors in everyones build."

At the very least, the language/locale/timezones change, that could potentially change the behavior.

"So what you're essentially suggesting is that globally there isn't a single network administrator with Windows clients or servers in their infrastructure that is competent enough to notice unauthorised outgoing network connections."

As another poster already said, you've completely ignored stenography within perfectly legal connections.

"Personally I think the more likely answer is that the whole 'MS build backdoors to monitor governments' is just scaremongering from the kind of tin-hat wearing conspiracy theorists that think the moon landings were faked."

It's certainly paranoia, but there is little doubt that the government/ms have the technical ability to pull it off if they wanted to. Open source is clearly superior in this regards.

"Furthermore, you wouldn't write such a backdoor into the kernel itself. It would be completely useless there. You'd want it in userspace albeit still built into the OS framework."

This one is laughable. Do you really expect attackers to follow your rules about where to put backdoors? They'll put it where they please, thank you very much.

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