moderated Re: User-friendly message rejection after attempt to post to a locked thread #suggestion

Marv Waschke

I will stick to my opposition to "security by obscurity" because I've seen too much. I've been writing code and designing systems since the late 60s. I have heard the "you don't need Fort Knox..." argument many times in defense of back doors, not bothering to encrypt, and a slough of other practices that now make hacking a game for fourteen year-olds. Those practices may seem obvious today, but in its day, a criminal finding a back door and exploiting it seemed as improbable as getting hit by a meteorite at a baseball game. In the day when coding was a rare skill and compute cycles were expensive, the whole idea that anything more than a casual XOR of the payload was enough to keep network traffic private was building Fort Knox to protect a broken bicycle.

The world has changed. Today I know a 16 year old who reads the Android code for fun and decompiles the parts Google keeps private. He's a curious kid, not a criminal hacker, but if he can do it, so can a lot of others. Sure, a criminal taking advantage of back scatter from locked threads is improbable, but this is a case where a practice that blocks a potential breach is known and already in place. I cannot see relying on improbability as protection when the wall is already built. Certainly, there are many more obvious dangers, my experience is that eventually solutions that reduce security become mistakes.
Best, Marv

Join to automatically receive all group messages.