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[3]: Security is a big concern
by Laurence on Sat 15th Jan 2011 01:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Security is a big concern"
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You are definitely underestimating the cleverness of a resourceful opponent.

I'm not. I think you're underestimating the cleverness of every other person in IT who has administrated a Windows platform.

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.

I'm still yet to hear a convincing way how they could without being noticed

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.

But so little information that such hack would be pointless

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

HTTP isn't encrypted so no it couldn't.
HTTPS perhaps, but again a network admin somewhere in the world would notice updates to a network location where they've not requested it.

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

Not if you're sat behind a firewall with restrictive port access - as most businesses and governments would be.

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.

You can't prove something that isn't there.

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.

True. But the laws of probabilities are that if MS were leaking data, someone in the world would have noticed before now.

"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.

Fair point but that sounds awfully like clutching at straws.

It's also just as likely that changing the timezones doesn't change the behaviour.

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

I've already discounted that possibility. Read my reply to the guy who suggested that.

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.

It's 100% just paranoia. Sure MS have the technical ability, but then so does open source.
When was the last time you compiled your own binaries rather than pulling binaries from US repositories?
Sure, you can download the source too, but like Windows' source code, who's to say that backdoors weren't added after the source was published?

You see, we could all make worthless speculation about backdoors in any OS that we haven't programmed personally.

"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.

erm ok. Clearly you haven't the slightest clue what you're talking about.

Putting such a backdoor in the kernel itself would be too low level. The minimum you need is keylogger and access to a TCP/IP stack - thus you need the backdoor in user space.

It's not "rules", it's pretty much the unbreakable laws of computer physics.

However lets not let actual computer science get in the way of hysteria. *rollseyes*

Edited 2011-01-15 02:01 UTC

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