To that end, EFF is evaluating the feasibility of offering a prize for the first usable, secure, and private end-to-end encrypted communication tool. We believe a prize based on objective usability metrics (such as the percentage of users who were able to install and start using the tool within a few minutes, and the percentage who survived simulated impersonation or man-in-the-middle attacks) might be an effective way to determine which project or projects are best delivering communication security to vulnerable user communities; to promote and energize those tools; and to encourage interaction between developers, interaction designers and academics interested in this space.
Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Rackspace, VMware and The Linux Foundation Form New Initiative to Support Critical Open Source ProjectsSubmitted by Rianne Schestowitz on Thursday 24th of April 2014 01:00:03 PM Filed under
“We are expanding the work we already do for the Linux kernel to other projects that may need support,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. “Our global economy is built on top of many open source projects. Just as The Linux Foundation has funded Linus Torvalds to be able to focus 100% on Linux development, we will now be able to support additional developers and maintainers to work full-time supporting other essential open source projects. We are thankful for these industry leaders’ commitment to ensuring the continued growth and reliability of critical open source projects such as OpenSSL.”
OpenSSL is the dominant SSL/TLS library on the Internet, but has suffered significant reputation damage in recent days for the Heartbleed bug. The incident has revived criticism of OpenSSL as a poorly-run project with source code that is impenetrable and documented, where it is at all documented, badly and inaccurately.
First, DSL router owners got an unwelcome Christmas present. Now, the same gift is back as an Easter egg. The same security researcher who originally discovered a backdoor in 24 models of wireless DSL routers has found that a patch intended to fix that problem doesn’t actually get rid of the backdoor—it just conceals it. And the nature of the “fix” suggests that the backdoor, which is part of the firmware for wireless DSL routers based on technology from the Taiwanese manufacturer Sercomm, was an intentional feature to begin with.
Back in December, Eloi Vanderbecken of Synacktiv Digital Security was visiting his family for the Christmas holiday, and for various reasons he had the need to gain administrative access to their Linksys WAG200G DSL gateway over Wi-Fi. He discovered that the device was listening on an undocumented Internet Protocol port number, and after analyzing the code in the firmware, he found that the port could be used to send administrative commands to the router without a password.
After Vanderbecken published his results, others confirmed that the same backdoor existed on other systems based on the same Sercomm modem, including home routers from Netgear, Cisco (both under the Cisco and Linksys brands), and Diamond. In January, Netgear and other vendors published a new version of the firmware that was supposed to close the back door.
The Heartbleed fallout continues, but enterprise customers can draw some comfort from the fact that the companies that keep them in software are clearly as concerned as they are. For example, Oracle Corp. has announced mostly good, some bad and a bit of ugly news when it comes to security holes in its products.
If you're not deterred by learning strange software, you can save hundreds of dollars by downloading a copy of the open-source Linux operating system and burning it to a CD or copying it to a flash drive. As security journalist Brian Krebs explained in the summer of 2012, you can pop that into your Windows PC, boot the machine off it, and go online insulated from whatever might lurk in your copy of Windows.
(In that post, Krebs endorsed a version of Linux with the charming name Puppy Linux; I usually recommend a different variety called Ubuntu, but the differences don't amount to much in this context.)
Using Linux just for online banking also insulates you from most of its potential complexity: You're only running a browser.
But if installing new apps in Windows already fills you with dread, or the thought of picking one version of Linux out of dozens makes your head hurt, spend money instead of time. A Chromebook just might work — and might be all the computer you needed in the first place.
Linux, arguably the world’s most emblematic open-source project, provides a counterpoint to OpenSSL’s problems. Volunteers all over the world submit seven changes to Linux every hour, and millions of lines of code improvements and fixes are voluntarily added to the software every year. Over 180 major companies, including Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, IBM and Samsung, every year contribute around half a million dollars to the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit that supports the Linux system.
So what explains the discrepancy between the inattention to OpenSSL and the great fortune of Linux? Good old lack of awareness, experts say.
Open-source advocates and participants say Linux has simply had the benefit of strong brand ambassadors and better name recognition than OpenSSL.
The name Edward Snowden will be remembered as one of the biggest whistle-blowers in recent history, if not the most important one. People know more about Edward Snowden than they know about close relatives, but it seems that little has been revealed until now about this methods and how he managed to remain undetected. It all has to do with Linux, of course.
Since September 2013, a handful of cryptographers have been discussing new problems and alternatives to the popular security application. By February 2014, the Open Crypto Audit Project—a new organization based in North Carolina that seeks formal 501(c)3 non-profit status—raised around $80,000 towards this goal on various online fundraising sites.
"[The results] don't panic me,” Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins cryptography professor who has been one of the people leading this effort, told Ars. “I think the code quality is not as high as it should be, but on the other hand, nothing terrible is in there, so that's reassuring”