Re: WWW Security Hole -- Bull!

Tony Sanders <>
Message-id: <9308122359.AA16071@austin.BSDI.COM>
Subject: Re: WWW Security Hole -- Bull! 
In-Reply-To: Robert Raisch's message of Thu, 12 Aug 93 16:15:22 EDT.
Organization: Berkeley Software Design, Inc.
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1993 18:59:32 -0500
From: Tony Sanders <>
Status: RO
I'm not offended but I do think this misses the point.  It's fine that
you can hack into sendmail.  If you do it's traceable to you.  The problem
is using current WWW software *someone* else can send offensive data and
it looks like it came from you and you have no way to prove that it didn't
(othen than one should never trust email, PGP makes it a little better).

BTW: Technically this isn't a security hole, it doesn't allow anyone
access to anything they couldn't already access.  If you care about
tracing the info then you can add security logging to find out where
these things are coming from.

> People say:
> >>	I always suspected there might be a problem with the WWW paradigm
> >>	regarding security; specifically, what if one of the protocols is
> >>	general enough that commands specified in it could be legal for some
> >>	other protocol?
> and	
> >>	WWW should be a safe place, where I can just point a beginner and have
> >>	him wander around.  This needs to be fixed, fast.
> and someone else mentions that telnet itself is inherently unsafe.
> Let's face it folks, TCP/IP is unsafe.  We are not working with technology
> which protects us from the wolves.  Anyone who is seriously concerned with
> network security does not connect to the Internet. Period.
> Ignoring the limitations of the underlying protocols for a moment, I have
> said it before and I will say it again:
> 	We should not hobble our most important and powerful tools to
> 	compensate for the inadequacies of the legacy services on the
> 	net.  
> 	We can spoof sendmail.  Ok, fix sendmail and leave the tools
> 	alone.  I can use a sledgehammer to break into a house so 
> 	we make the possession of a sledgehammer a capital offence.  
> 	What utter nonsense!
> 	We can telnet to arbitrary ports using 'telnet.'  Ok, fix those
> 	services which run on those ports.  Crippling client software
> 	because the server is insecure is asinine.
> 	It's simply not our responsibility to restrict the first truly useful
> 	tools we have developed to manage the complexities of information
> 	navigation simply because the network has embraced hacks and 
> 	kludges instead of well developed services -- and if we take the tack 
> 	that it is, we swiftly become lost in thousands of twisty little 
> 	tunnels of paranoia, all alike.
> 	Mime and a few people's well intentioned but misguided efforts 
> 	notwithstanding.
> Apologies to any offended, but this is a hot button with me.
> 	</rr>