Yeah, right   Leave a comment

Linux declared “hacker proof“, according to a contest at the CanSecWest conference. Here’s the rules of the game (you hack it, you get to keep it):

  • Limit one laptop per contestant.
  • You can’t use the same vulnerability to claim more than one box, if it is a cross-platform issue.
  • Thirty minute attack slots given to contestants at each box.
  • Attack slots will be scheduled at the contest start by the methods selected by the judges.
  • Attacks are done via crossover cable. (attacker controls default route)
  • RF attacks are done offsite by special arrangement…
  • No physical access to the machines.
  • Major web browsers (IE, Safari, Konqueror, Firefox), widely used and deployed plugin frameworks (AIR, Silverlight), IM clients (MSN, Adium, Skype, Pigdin, AOL, Yahoo), Mail readers (Outlook,, Thunderbird, kmail) are all in scope.

There’s not quite enough in the way of detail here, but it’s pretty obvious (by the inclusion of web browsers and mail clients) that there is some level of client-software use going on, you’re not just trying to hack into an idle box plugged into a network.

This was a decidedly gamed contest.  These are supposed to be “typical road warrior” targets, but I imagine that the people playing the part of “client software users” weren’t typical road warriors at all. Moreover, if you’re really worried about secure files on a laptop used by a typical road warrior, physical access to the machine is your number one problem, for crying out loud. Since none of these laptops use an encrypted storage solution (that I know of), all you need to get the file is physical access to the machine for about 2 minutes and a boot CD. For that attack scenario, all of these configurations would fall over and perish swiftly.


Posted March 31, 2008 by padraic2112 in security

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