Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 6th Aug 2012 11:12 UTC
Apple Mat Honan got hacked, and lost all the data on his MacBook, iPad, and iPhone. How? Somebody broke into his iCloud account. Brute force attack? Simple password? No, not really - the hacker called Apple tech support, and convinced the person on the phone he was really Mat Honan. Apple then reset the iCloud password. The dangers of a monoculture, kids. Even Steve Wozniak has doubts about everything going into the cloud.
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oh, FFS...
by maccouch on Mon 6th Aug 2012 12:17 UTC
maccouch
Member since:
2012-03-14

what monoculture? the guy had gmail, twitter, facebook, icloud and old .mac accounts, all entangled and chained up in some sort of mail accounts pyramidal chain, the same way pretty much everyone has...

what exactly is the "monoculture" danger here? *

there's basically 2 lessons from here:

a) do the damn backups! i keep repeating this and people just keep going without doing them. and them wonder what happened to their data...

b) every webservice in the planet will ask you to link your account with some other service account. Just make sure that the final (or better yet, more than one final) account is something you really have control of, as in physical control of.

I use my old university alumni perpetual account. They have a actual client service you can walk in, they ask for my citizen id, they check the data. (and actually i can even use my national citizen card smartcard and encryption features as a login/two factor authentication with it).

if you can't have some sort of this kind of physical way of controlling your final account, use two-factor authentication with something you physically control. something Yubikey-like would be perfect, but your mobilephone number is a reasonable option too.

------
* thom, can we stop with the blind anti-apple bias that's going on around lately? yes, apple can be (and should be) criticized like every other company on earth, but you've really been completely engulfed by it lately. is everything wrong in the world apple's fault?

this case was about social engineering. the same kind of social engineering that breaks every other security system in the world. Although i have no doubt that apple service did something really wrong here. But i don't trust apple with my remote encryption keys and other stuff. And for the matter i don't trust google with this kind of stuff any more than apple.

Reply Score: 4

RE: oh, FFS...
by MOS6510 on Mon 6th Aug 2012 12:27 in reply to "oh, FFS..."
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

This time, and a very rare time, this wasn't Thom doing his anti-Apple act.

He reported just the facts and added a general warning.

And it's a very serious warning. We become increasingly depended on stuff that's out of our control and quite literally out of our reach. Too many people can make mistakes that make you the victim. Resetting passwords, cutting wires, wiping hard disks, dropping a server.

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE[2]: oh, FFS...
by maccouch on Mon 6th Aug 2012 12:51 in reply to "RE: oh, FFS..."
maccouch Member since:
2012-03-14

then what does the "monoculture" stand for?

regarding the cloud, i agree with you. several physical and cloud backups, fragmented in "silos" if possible/desirable. but like i said below, this is a game we can't win, only stall.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: oh, FFS...
by CapEnt on Mon 6th Aug 2012 12:41 in reply to "oh, FFS..."
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

Your "B" assumption is flawed. You can't have physical control of any online service unless you run it by yourself.

So, your proposal would imply a naive person running a mail server and a openid authentication service on his own machine. A potentially more dangerous situation.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: oh, FFS...
by maccouch on Mon 6th Aug 2012 12:49 in reply to "RE: oh, FFS..."
maccouch Member since:
2012-03-14

i agree with you. that is why i didn't suggest you running your own server as the ultimate security.

The fact is this game is flawed, you can't win. The only strategy is to make sure that the other side winning is really difficult and making sure you can pick-up the pieces *after* the other guy wins.

That's why i mentioned the "physical control" and the real physical customer service of my university. they won't reset passwords longdistance and they won't give you the passsword unless you literally come in and show yourself with your id.

it can still be fooled but if it is, i can take back my stuff afterwards. try doing that with a million client company overseas that doesn't even have/show a simple of contacting themselves (google) or one that does but it is as weak /useless as the "what's my pets name" questions (Apple).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: oh, FFS...
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 6th Aug 2012 14:12 in reply to "oh, FFS..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

what exactly is the "monoculture" danger here? *


iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air, iCloud. All his computing devices rendered useless because he relied on a monoculture.

I have Windows, Linux, Android phone/tablet, and a separate, independent cloud backup solution (which is encrypted and only I know the password - not even the provider itself knows my password; if I lose it, I can't access my data anymore since its encrypted). No monoculture, hence, no danger is me being knocked out because my monoculture gets knocked out.

This is not rocket science.

Edited 2012-08-06 14:14 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: oh, FFS...
by maccouch on Mon 6th Aug 2012 14:44 in reply to "RE: oh, FFS..."
maccouch Member since:
2012-03-14

"what exactly is the "monoculture" danger here? *


iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air, iCloud. All his computing devices rendered useless because he relied on a monoculture.

I have Windows, Linux, Android phone/tablet, and a separate, independent cloud backup solution (which is encrypted and only I know the password - not even the provider itself knows my password; if I lose it, I can't access my data anymore since its encrypted). No monoculture, hence, no danger is me being knocked out because my monoculture gets knocked out.

This is not rocket science.
"

Aparrently it is... Correlation does not mean causality.

lets say you would use androidlost (http://androidlost.com) on your android phone, lojack (http://www.absolute.com/lojackforlaptops/features) for your windows laptop, and prey on your linux laptop (https://panel.preyproject.com/forgot).

In all of them you activate the remote wipe feature. In all of them you've got a nice "i forgot my password" webpage that allows you to resend a reset request for your email. But your email accounts, all of them, were hacked. so what now? how has your avoidance of "monoculture" stopped it?

the question here is not the reliance on apple's system. the question is that we've chainlinked all of our email accounts and webservices in to either a something of a pyramid or, in some times, an endless loop of accounts. And if a sufficiently high weak link can be broken by social engineering, you're royally screwed.

Specially if, like this guy, you activate remote wipe without even considering doing local backups. On that issue alone i find serious problems feeling sorry for him. that's doubly dumb and whining shouldn't be allowed here.

you can join apple or google or microsoft monoculture as much as you want. just either don't give them the power to wipe everything (i would say phone wipe is ok, but laptop is better served with encryption) or do backups!

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: oh, FFS...
by westlake on Mon 6th Aug 2012 20:32 in reply to "oh, FFS..."
westlake Member since:
2010-01-07

a) do the damn backups! i keep repeating this and people just keep going without doing them. and them wonder what happened to their data.


The sensible thing to do then is to automate the backups rather than keep banging your head against this wall.

Reply Parent Score: 2