Yet More on SockStress…

OK gang, the story gets interesting again….

Check this out for some deeply technical details on some level of the basics of the attack. Fyodor has done an excellent write up of his guess.

You can also check out the response from the relevant researchers here.

I do like and understand Fyodor’s point that this smells like marketing. Perhaps we are supposed to believe that the vendors will have their responses coodinated and completed before the talk and disclosure? If not, then what is the point of waiting to disclose except to sell tickets to the conference?

This is a pretty HUGE can of worms that seems to have been opened by Kaminsky during the recent DNS issue. I guess it is just another nuance of this new age of attackers that we have entered. We will have to deal with more “huge holes” accompanied by media-frenzy, hype, researcher infighting and security vendor blather until the public and the press grow tired of it.

My point yesterday was that one of these days we will reach a point when some of these major vulnerabilities will not be able to be easily repaired or patched. When that becomes so, we may have to find a way to teach every day users how to plan for, and engineer for, acceptable failures. Until then, we should probably hone those skills and ideas, because it looks like where we are headed may just be fraught with scenarios where some levels of ongoing vulnerability and compromise may be a fact of life.

I believe strongly that we can engineer for failure. We can embrace data classification, appropriate controls and enclave computing in such a way that we can live with a fairly high level of comprise and still keep primary assets safe. I believe that because it seems to be the way we have dealt with other threats throughout history that we could not contain, eliminate or mitigate. We simply evolved our society and ourselves to the point where we could live with them as “accepted risks”. Some day, maybe even soon, we will be able to spend a lot less time worrying about whether or not users click on the “dancing gnome”, keep their workstations patched or if there is a vulnerability in some deep protocol…

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