Column (blog is so passé)

Security Online? Not Anytime Soon...


Look at what we rely on, we rely on the Web, which isn't secure. We rely on DNS (domain name system), which isn't secure and we rely on e-mail, which isn't secure. The three foundational things we've been using since the dawn of time aren't secure and there doesn't seem to be a big push to fix any of it. These big companies that are encouraging us to put our lives online, the Yahoos, the YouTubes of the world, they're not doing their bit to secure it.

The thing that really kind of pissed me off, during the whole Iranian revolution or protest over the election you saw all these people just pouring their hearts out on these different social sites and their political beliefs out over unsecured http. And the government is sitting there just collecting it all, recording it. And sooner or later they'll come knock on people's doors. It really drove home we are beyond sharing pictures of fluffy cats and the social sites are now being used to organize political movements and social-justice issues.

If that kind of stuff is going to happen you've got to do it in a secure fashion or you're being negligent. Because if it was SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) between say the dissidents in Iran and some social site they would know your IP (Internet Protocol) address connected to Facebook, for example. And they would know that you transferred a couple hundred thousand bytes (of data) but they wouldn't know your log in, they wouldn't know your friends, they wouldn't see what you are posting. They wouldn't know any of that. That seems like a good thing if you are concerned about the well-being of your citizens. A lot of problems would go away if everything were just SSL by default. A lot of the privacy concerns would go away. Every time I get a chance to talk to somebody at one of the big social sites I give them some grief and say, "How come you aren't doing this? Why do you protect my log in but you don't protect the rest of my session?" It's super frustrating.
- Hacker god Jeff Moss