[NZLUG] Privacy server

Tim McNamara paperless at timmcnamara.co.nz
Tue Jun 18 15:09:09 NZST 2013

Slightly OT, but rack space and bandwidth in New Zealand seems
extraordinarily expensive compared to overseas.

Where is the flood of low-power, adequate CPU, good enough I/O and
reasonable RAM ARM servers? These things should be cheap and everywhere.

On 18 June 2013 14:58, David McNab <david at conscious.co.nz> wrote:

> This would need a lot of thought to cover as many attack scenarios as
> possible.
> One major thought is that one should *expect to* receive subpoenas from
> Police and GCSB within a day of the site going live, and be forced to
> install arbitrary backdoor logging and MITM software.
> Attackers such as government agencies can discover much through logging IP
> addresses, times and data transfer volumes. In combination with out-of-band
> events (eg cellphone calls, texts, vehicle locations, bank transactions),
> this can leak a surprising amount of information.
> One major countermeasure is to mandate that clients transact a certain
> level of random "chaff" traffic, which the server is unable to distinguish
> from legitimate payload. Also, strongly discouraging users from "connecting
> and using as needed", to mitigage timing attacks.
> Thought also needs to go in to the situation of compromised clients.
> Information has to turn into plaintext at some point. (Detective-Sergeant
> Smith inserts USB drive into user's machine and double-clicks on a program
> file, then says "Oh my, look at those pictures on your disk. You wouldn't
> want anyone finding out about those now, would you? Listen, we could use
> your help...").
> Good systems for study include Freenet (www.freenetproject.org), I2P (
> www.i2p2.de) and Tor (www.torproject.org).
> Cheers
> David
> On Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 2:37 PM, Jim Cheetham <jim at gonzul.net> wrote:
>> Following up from Nevyn's recent thoughts about a local email server
>> for people to use ...
>> I would be interested in having a local server/service that was
>> intended to help protect my privacy. Many things need a central
>> 'always-on' server portion, and part of the problem we have with
>> online services is that we don't/can't trust the servers themselves.
>> I'm thinking of something more paranoid than usual.
>> So perhaps we should start with a server that can be trusted, and
>> build on top of that. I know that we tend to look at technical
>> solutions first, but lets go the other way :-
>> * A group of people willing to contribute money (obviously the more
>> people, the lower the sums involved)
>> * A group of people willing to contribute time (not just sysadmins,
>> but probably mostly)
>> * A legal entity with an unchangeable purpose (a trust?) to own the
>> resources
>> * A constitution that describes how administrators are verified,
>> chosen & removed
>> * An identity-verification standard for members (perhaps using cacert.org
>> )
>> On the technical front, I'd look for something like :
>> * Dedicated hardware in a secured location (or multiple locations)
>> * Encrypted boot disk? TRESOR kernel patch? Perhaps an out-of-band
>> management device?
>> * Free Software or Open Source Software only, from sources that are
>> responsive to security issues
>> * Mandatory client-side encryption; try to detect & reject any
>> accidental plain-text
>> * No logging of client connections
>> There are a lot of options, depending on how far you set the
>> paranoid-meter, and how far you set the hostproof-meter. And some
>> interesting ideas around using existing protocols in unusual ways
>> (like mailinator, for example).
>> Is anyone interested in helping to get something like this up and running?
>> -jim
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