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Re: Linux security issues as they pertain to CVS

From: Greg A. Woods
Subject: Re: Linux security issues as they pertain to CVS
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 01:25:29 -0400 (EDT)

[ On Wednesday, May 30, 2001 at 09:23:20 (-0400), Derek R. Price wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: Linux security issues as they pertain to CVS
> No you don't.  A secure channel only need authenticate the server, possibly
> using an external certificate authority, a la HTTPS.

You cannot have a "secure channel" without some form of authentication.

HTTPS alone does not give you a secure channel.  It might give you a
secret channel, but unless you know an awful lot more about certificates
and SSL than the average person then you do not have any clue as to even
who's machine is on the other end.  Even worse it doesn't tell the
server which *user* is responsible for opening the channel.

That's why I suggested using rsh over an IPsec VPN tunnel.  You could do
the same over an SSH tunnel.  The assumptions of who you have to trust
are more or less the same.

> Which is perfectly fine and possibly even desirable when you, as CVS
> administrator, have no control over the client machine anyhow.  If I have root
> access on the client I could use any login I wished anyhow.  In other words,
> you'd rather know I knew the password you gave me.
> In this case the secure channel should protect you from password sniffers.

I think you're focusing on some (admittedly important) details without
looking at the whole picture.  You cannot have security if you don't
cover *all* of your bases equally!  You also must understand the
inherent limitations and assumptions built into your client and server
platforms so that you can establish a true trust path that'll make it
possible for you to hold your users accountable for their actions.

                                                        Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <address@hidden>     <address@hidden>
Planix, Inc. <address@hidden>;   Secrets of the Weird <address@hidden>

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