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Red Hat & Dell Host Open Source Security Summit 79

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the footing-the-bill dept.
wishus writes "Red Hat and Dell said they would co-host an Open Source Security Summit. 'Join Red Hat, Dell and experts in enterprise security from around the world for a summit on securing infrastructures with open source software.'"
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Red Hat & Dell Host Open Source Security Summit

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  • So.. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    when can I get an easy-to-use-and-configure, secure network file system ?
    • When people stop hacking computers. Until then, it's choose one or the other.
    • it's call NetWare.

  • a good thing... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by netphilter (549954) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:33AM (#4386323) Homepage Journal
    I think this is a very good thing, considering that to most people the idea that something designed in such an open manner is secure seems preposterous. I may even drag my Controller along in an effort to help to open her eyes to the fact that we don't have to pay big money for good security.
  • Dude! (Score:5, Funny)

    by DarkHelmet (120004) <mark AT seventhcycle DOT net> on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:36AM (#4386332) Homepage
    And I thought the ads that IBM had for Linux were interesting enough.

    Imagine ads with "Steven" saying, "Dude, you're compiling a kernel."

    *shudder*

  • Timing... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:36AM (#4386334) Homepage Journal
    And there's this nice bit being splashed about on Yahoo News [yahoo.com] this morning.

  • by PaulK (85154)
    Since the arrest of the author of T0Mkit, (albeit by the British), I am concerned about how this event will be treated by the feds.

    Will there be fibbies running around with cameras and notepads?

    How can we possibly write code to test/implement security, without looking over our shoulders?
    • Wouldn't Toronto or Montréal be a better venue?

      First of all, you can avoid the mounting insanity at U.S. and disorganization airports. Second, non-U.S. security experts would be able to attend without worrying if the door prize is a matching pair of metal bracelets. Lastly, U.S. security geeks can get some time in some nice cities.

  • by Komrade S. (604620) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:42AM (#4386354) Homepage
    In this case, I think I'll settle for closed source. Thanks for the thought anyway, Dell.
  • by snatchitup (466222) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:45AM (#4386360) Homepage Journal
    RedHat has made great strides in the user-friendly install... At least making easy for Windows users to "try out its features".

    The problem is, so much of the strong reasons for switching to Linux (aka security) are hard to realize in a user friendly sort of way.

    For instance, getting OpenSSH up and running to integrate a Windows box to be able to ftp from/to the secure Linux install takes alot of work, and fishing around. It's an immediate turn-off.

    Then there's wireless networking. Oh by the way, you have to become a kernel compile afficianado to get these wireless drivers workers.

    If we're talking RedHat/ here and security in the same breath, then why not focus on a user friendly install for security. Including a side howto on how to possibly go get Putty up and running. And how you're going to need to generate your keys with ssh-keygen type 2 rsa and then load them into puttygen which will convert them. And oh by the way, the converted private key will also work under SecureNetTerm. Don't forget something like this for your private keys in you $home/.ssh dir:

    chmod 600 id_rsa
    cp id_rsa authorized_keys2

    It wasn't that easy, but it should be, and it could be.

    • I agree that security should be easy, and believe it or not I think that in some ways Microsoft is beginning to do a good job in this arena. Before you flame me hear me out. I'm not claiming that Microsoft OS's are secure, or that they're even as secure as Linux. However, they have found ways to integrate some basic security features in a user-friendly way. For example, the Internet Connection Firewall. Is it a great firewall? No, not at all. However, it does provide basic firewalling services, and it logs. I know that Redhat incorporates ipchains and allows for relatively simple configuration, but ICF just seems a bit more userfriendly. I would, however, like to see someone (I started to but don't have the time) write a perl script that goes through the logs looking for traffic patterns so you can do basic intrusion detection.

      Again, in general I think that Microsoft has deployed some simple security tools like ICF, the MBSA, and even Windows Update that Redhat can't really compete with. Even up2date is a little more complicated than most people want to deal with. The RHN is a good service for enterprises, but for Joe User that doesn't want to pay it's just not that great. I have recently converted a family member to Redhat from Win2k, and one of their complaints is their inability to update their PC because "Free service limited due to high load..." Most people don't know what that means and don't care...it discourages them from even updating their computers at all. Overall, I think that Microsoft is winning the user-friendly security tool war, even though their software is not secure.
      • How useful is that friendly firewall going to be once every cracker interested in breaking into Windows boxes knows what the failings of it are? That user friendly firewall becomes a user friendly waste of time.

        It would be fantastic if their user friendly firewall did all the work rather than part of the work, but the ability to root a box in 5 ways instead of 10 is still the ability to root. The real danger is in convincing the users that the firewall makes them safe and therefore need not be vigilant or suspicious. That creates users who do not patch their software, making the inevitable breach more disasterous.

        In fact, your quote, "Microsoft is winning the user-friendly security tool war, even though their software is not secure," is rather telling. They aren't winning anything related to security. They're succeeding in generating revenue through marketing and slogans, which they've always done. The security of their products is not enhanced in any fashion by their user friendly firewall in the long run. If you think it takes a public relations department and TV commercials to win the security tool war, you simply don't have a clue and probably don't want one.

    • by Andy Dodd (701)
      Under RedHat 7.3 I plugged in my Orinoco card and it just worked. That's it. Nice and simple. It's a different story if you want to use RF Monitor mode (needed only for utilities like Airsnort and Kismet), but since Kismet and Airsnort are by no means "end-user" tools that doesn't really matter.

      What's all that crap you're going through with ssh?

      I haven't done a *SINGLE* thing to the SSH config on my desktop 7.3 box and I can SSH into it from work with no problem using TeraTerm. The only config issues I had to deal with were port forwarding on my wireless AP/router, but that had absolutely nothing to do with RedHat.

      I don't know how you got Score: 5 - It should be -1 Troll.
      • Good for you. It sounds like your IQ is way over mine.

        My Linksys Wireless PCI card doesn't work.

        I port forwarded my router as well, it was very easy.

        • Dude, those are a crapshoot even under Windows.

          I tried no less than *two* different PCI WLAN approaches in my desktop. One was a D-Link DWL-520 (Basically identical to Linksys' offering) - 50%+ packet loss under Windows if it even ran at all, 25%+ under Linux. Prism2 based PCI solutions *SUCK* and it's unfair of you to blame that on Linux when it's even more difficult under Windows.

          I also tried an Orinoco PCI. Worked flawlessly under Linux with no trouble whatsoever, it NEVER worked under Windows. (98 or 2000, multiple reinstalls of each) It would show 100% signal strength, but never was able to send/receive data.

          (I gave up and ran a Cat5 cable downstairs until I found out about the Linksys WET11 a month later)
        • The Linksys PCI card works pretty darn well on my box under Win98. Of course, part of that is that the CD rom that came with the card was for Windows and had no linux support.

          But apparently, even if the model is new, the chip is fairly common.

          In fairness to the topic, I'll take back what I said about wireless. Because, I really wasn't ranting on device support.

          In all, I'd have to say it is excellent.

          I was ranting on security. If you're new to OpenSSH, it aint easy to use from the install get go, though, sshd is installed and setup sort of.

    • >For instance, getting OpenSSH up and running to integrate a Windows box to be able to ftp from/to the secure Linux install takes alot of work, and fishing >around.

      You mean, apart from doing 'chkconfig --level 345 openssh on' or running 'setup' and then either reboot (*shudder*) or typing 'service sshd start'?

      You might want to look at the Getting Started Guide RedHat provides for free on their website - no amount of trying is a substitute for RTFM ;-)

      And please don't blame RedHat for possibly poor ssh documentation that's part of one package.
    • Then there's wireless networking. Oh by the way, you have to become a kernel compile afficianado to get these wireless drivers workers.

      I plopped the Knoppix 3.1 CD in my drive, booted my laptop, and surfed the web on my wireless card. Easy installation of wireless network cards CAN be done, it just usually isn't. (yet)

  • by gosand (234100) on Friday October 04, 2002 @09:00AM (#4386408)
    I went to read this story, and noticed in the Breaking News box right next to it was this story:
    Microsoft Issues Windows Security Warning

    gotta love it

  • by NZheretic (23872) on Friday October 04, 2002 @09:12AM (#4386447) Homepage Journal
    From the Plimsoll Club history [plimsoll.com]
    Samuel Plimsoll, M.P.
    (1824-1898)

    Samuel Plimsoll brought about one of the greatest shipping revolutions ever known by shocking the British nation into making reforms which have saved the lives of countless seamen. By the mid-1800's, the overloading of English ships had become a national problem. Plimsoll took up as a crusade the plan of James Hall to require that vessels bear a load line marking indicating when they were overloaded, hence ensuring the safety of crew and cargo. His violent speeches aroused the House of Commons; his book, Our Seamen, shocked the people at large into clamorous indignation. His book also earned him the hatred of many shipowners who set in train a series of legal battles against Plimsoll. Through this adversity and personal loss, Plimsoll clung doggedly to his facts. He fought to the point of utter exhaustion until finally, in 1876, Parliament was forced to pass the Unseaworthy Ships Bill into law, requiring that vessels bear the load line freeboard marking. It was soon known as the "Plimsoll Mark" and was eventually adopted by all maritime nations of the world.

    The risks,issues and solutions for providing a more secure operating and application enviroment have been known for decades. Those who do not already comprehend the issues and are willing to learn, should take some time out to listen to some of the speeches at Dr. Dobbs Journal's Technetcast security archives [ddj.com], starting with Meeting Future Security Challenges [ddj.com] by Dr. Blaine Burnam, Director, Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) and previously with the National Security Agency (NSA)

    The "security rules" for Unix based system and application development are well known, although not widely taught. See Secure Programming for Linux and Unix [dwheeler.com] by David Wheeler. Although Microsoft's NT,2000 and XP are not Unix based, a lot of the core above "rules" apply or have direct or indirect equivalents

    Because some developers ignore similar above rules, the design and implementation of some applications and servers are just too unsafe to use in the "open ocean" of the internet.


    Numerous security experts have railed against Microsoft's lack of security, best summed up by Bruce Schneier Founder and CTO Counterpane Internet Security, Inc who rightly stated ... [counterpane.com]

    Honestly, security experts don't pick on Microsoft because we have some fundamental dislike for the company. Indeed, Microsoft's poor products are one of the reasons we're in business. We pick on them because they've done more to harm Internet security than anyone else, because they repeatedly lie to the public about their products' security, and because they do everything they can to convince people that the problems lie anywhere but inside Microsoft. Microsoft treats security vulnerabilities as public relations problems. Until that changes, expect more of this kind of nonsense from Microsoft and its products. (Note to Gartner: The vulnerabilities will come, a couple of them a week, for years and years...until people stop looking for them. Waiting six months isn't going to make this OS safer.)

    However Microsoft's products are not alone in the presence of vulnerabilities, this is a major issue for Linux/BSD and Unix as well as any other OS and vendor.

    In a recent speech Fixing Network Security by Hacking the Business Climate [ddj.com] Bruce Schneier claimed that for change to occur, the software industry must become libel for damages from "unsecure" software, however historically, this has not always been the case, since most businesses can insure against damages and pass the cost along to the consumer.

    The Ford Pinto and more recently the Ford Explorer's tires are two examples of public and media pressure being more successful than just threat of lawsuits. Even so, eventually though public pressure the governments around the world have to step in and pass regulations that set up a minimum set of requirements an automobile has to meet to be deemed "road worthy". This includes crash testing as well as the inclusion of safety equipment on all models. The requirement are not constant and change to meet the expectations and demands of the public and lawmakers.

    The onus is not only on the automotive industry itself but also on the users. Most countries require that all automobiles undergo regular inspection and maintain an up to date "Warrant of Fitness".

    In the same way, if you want a secure IT infrastructure, eventually the software design, implementation and each deployment will have to undergo the same type of regulation and scrutiny.

    For paid software distributions, this could mean just a tick list of security features and security tests to the other extreme of requiring the source code to be fully audited for government/secure deployments.

    For users, this would require running a program that checks to make sure that all the required software security update/patches have been installed to the other extreme of requiring an audited deployment for government/secure deployments.

    Users and vendors should be taking a more active approach, including lobbying government, to
    1) set up a minimum set of expectations, in the design and implementation of internet "accessing" software ; and
    2) ensure that all deployments are more securely implemented ; and/or
    3) remove inherently unsecure products from the marketplace.

    IMO the above three are preferable to all software vendors, including Microsoft, than attempts to allow liability lawsuits against vendors for deployments which the software vendors have very little control over.

  • by supun (613105)
    You're being rooted!
  • How many people here remember the older versions of SCO UNIX? It used to be, when you got drivers for an add-in card, you received only the source or a library file and headers. You'd have to recompile the kernel just to get that old NetCom X.25 card working.

    Thankfully, they had an interface to automate that. It was a CUI, of course, because few people had the luxury of enough memory to run X11.. (Ack! I sound like my dad.. "I had to walk to school! Up hill; both ways!) But, all you had to do was run a script. Perhaps more than "./configure; make; make install," but not too involved. An entry-level sys-admin could do it. Of course, they had dead-tree instructions to guide them too; something that's missing all to often today.

    Some of you may be thinking there's no need to recompile the kernel if you can just use insmod. Have you heard of the module-based rootkits? My hardened system has loadable modules disabled. If I need to compile something, I do it on another system. A little paranoia pays off in this world.

    There are many things to do yet that would help people who aren't gurus create secure, hardened Linux installs. I foresee only good things coming from summits like this.
    • Of course, they had dead-tree instructions to guide them too; something that's missing all to often today.

      That's only because people don't print out the docs prior to starting their endeavours. I had a 2-inch binder filled to capacity with separator tabs before I tried my first install. Hell the full RH install guide is there in PDF form on the freely downloadble version, not to mention all the HOWTOs. I appreciate the fact that they include the entire book in the freely downloadable version.

      How often do you see around here, "oh, discs 3 & 4 are the source RPMS and disc 5 is the documentation CD, so you really only need discs 1 and 2." Take disc 5 over to staples and have them make up a binder for you with some/all of the docs on the doc CD. Of course, you should give the $30 to RH instead, but still, at least you'll have paper that you can mark up and read when all you get is "No Operating System".
    • Some of you may be thinking there's no need to recompile the kernel if you can just use insmod. Have you heard of the module-based rootkits? My hardened system has loadable modules disabled. If I need to compile something, I do it on another system. A little paranoia pays off in this world.

      This will not help you at all. One can modify the kernel at runtime using /dev/kmem, and you cannot protect against that (for a detailed discussion, see this article [phrack.com] from Phrack 58). There are rootkits out there that use this technique.

  • Well its about time... the two most insecure products in their class, Red Hat being the most insecure of Linux distros, and Dell for shipping the most default configured Win2k Servers, seek help in their security... For Red Hat I have this advice, dont, by default, start so many damned sevices with default configurations (sendmail, RPC, ect). And Dell, dont ship standard configured servers to no tallent admins, and kill that annoying Steven kid.. All and all this is a good thing, unless mass rioting breaks out nothing bad can come from a security conference. Im not sure how much different from other security conferences this one will be. One thing did occur to me though, didnt Dell stop shipping Linux on their servers??
    • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

      by pellaeon (547513) on Friday October 04, 2002 @10:52AM (#4386926) Homepage
      You (and my co-responder) haven't run RedHat for a while haven't you? By default, since RH7.1, NO services are started!

      Get your facts straight before flaming please. Red Hat is doing a good job, progressively being more 'secure by default' since about RH 6.1 (took them a while though ;-)
      • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Informative)

        by j_kenpo (571930)
        Excuse me, before you run your mouth, maybe you should get your facts straight. Ive run Red Hat since 4.2 as a matter of fact. I just did a fresh install of 8, and it had the mentioned applications, plus a few extras, start up by default. I had to MANUALLY disable those items from each runlevel init... Same goes for the box I upgraded, it added services that were previously disabled. And has been that way in every realease of RedHat that Ive run. This has been the case using the RedHat Installer AND using APT-RPM for doing the upgrades and installations. Now it may not be that way using the type of installation choices other than Custom, but since I do a custom install everytime I couldnt tell you...
        • Re:Interesting (Score:2, Informative)

          by pellaeon (547513)
          Well, I use custom installs exclusively too, and at least RH7.1/2 didn't enable any service by default. I haven't done any new installs using RH8 or 7.3 (just upgraded), but I find it very hard to believe that they would regress like that.

          I'll be able to check soon though, since I'm going to install 8 on the ~100 computers I admin. You're right about pre-7.1 installs, I don't dispute their poor security record at all.
          • Actually, this brings up a good question... why wouldnt the two be so different? Are the 100 systems going to be fresh installs, or are they upgrades... If you have the spare time, upgrade a few and fresh install a few.. Id be interested to see the results.. Thats kind of odd, I know specifically that the installs Ive done and the upgrades Ive done, Ive had to go back and disable unwanted startup processes. This was the case with both my desktop system that got a fresh install, and my IDS sensor, which I had to back and restore backup configuration files to maintain and IPless setup, plus disable the startup processes. An interesting discrepency...
            • That would indeed be interesting...perhaps I'll take some time. Mostly though, I tend to do fresh installs (using kickstart, that isn't a chore at all).

              IIRC, an upgrade (at least the ones I do :) just preserves settings as far as services go.

              I recently installed a server in the following way: installed off the LAN with RH7.2 with the absolute minimum I could get away with, excepting only openssh-server (no client even). This took some 258MB only. Then I took some time installing apt on these machines (using the enabled ssh service, of course) and upgraded them to RH8 (I did this off a custom-built apt repository with rpms leaked from an ftp site as RH8 wasn't out yet :)

              The only services open now are openssh and postfix (since it's going to be a mail gateway), both of which I had to enable. Two open tcp ports, no open udp ports, according to netstat.

              So that would qualify as 'secure by default' in this set of services at least. As to others...who knows? Perhaps you run some services that are enabled by default that I don't run? (I guess X enables port 6000 by default, and I run that too, on the desktops at least, so that might be considered 'unsecure by default' perhaps.)
            • Actually, interestingly enough... there was an article on OSnews where a guy mentioned this exact issue with Red Hat 8.0...

              http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=1883

  • by voicebox (516987) on Friday October 04, 2002 @11:36AM (#4387225)
    and experts in enterprise security

    Does that mean a couple of red-shirts will be there?
  • So when are they going to send one west of the Rockies?

    I mean really, some of us only have so much money in our travel budgets...
  • In America today ... we have Woody Allen, whose humor has become so
    sophisticated that nobody gets it any more except Mia Farrow. All those who
    think Mia Farrow should go back to making movies where the devil gets her
    pregnant and Woody Allen should go back to dressing up as a human sperm,
    please raise your hands. Thank you.
    -- Dave Barry, "Why Humor is Funny"

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