Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cabsec by example... the fun game

There is a fun game called Bubble Breaker... I like to play it while I'm waiting for things to compile, format, etc.. but it has one big problem... it plays sounds... and doesn't provide a mute. I have a program that I trust, except for the annoying sounds.

In a cabsec world, I would just not supply it with the ability to write to the sound channel, and it would still work. It's the inability to express my desire to simple NOT MAKE SOUND that is frustrating. Sound is a simple thing that doesn't permanently affect my system, I also have no way to express other, more crucial limits.

This is the heart of cabsec, the ability to explicitly supply capabilities to a program, instead of having to manually block off everything.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bush Era cybersecurity - my response

So, the Obama administration has declassified part of the "cybersecurity" planning of the Bush administration.... the story hit slashdot, and here's my response.

Initiative #9. Define and develop enduring "leap-ahead" technology, strategies, and programs. One goal of the CNCI is to develop technologies that provide increases in cybersecurity by orders of magnitude above current systems and which can be deployed within 5 to 10 years. This initiative seeks to develop strategies and programs to enhance the component of the government R&D portfolio that pursues high-risk/high-payoff solutions to critical cybersecurity problems. The Federal Government has begun to outline Grand Challenges for the research community to help solve these difficult problems that require 'out of the box' thinking. In dealing with the private sector, the government is identifying and communicating common needs that should drive mutual investment in key research areas.

(Emphasis mine)

I propose instead that we consult the results of the previous R&D work that has been active in this area since the 1960s, and learn the lessons of problems already solved. This is low risk (as we've already paid for it), high payoff.

Let's get capability based security into the hands of the masses. This will remove their machines from the threat pool. It would also allow those inside the government to manage security in a much more granular (and thus more effective) manner.

This can be fixed, and it doesn't require a high risk, just due diligence, and hard work.