[RC5] eEye and d.net

Christopher Hicks chicks at chicks.net
Tue Dec 10 10:49:48 EST 2002

On Tue, 10 Dec 2002 Gustav_Schaffter at capgroup.com wrote:

> I believe and sincerely hope that the reasons for dnet to keep the
> source code closed is *not* to protect the project from potential
> attempts of security breaches. It is (or should be?) widely known by now
> that "security through obscurity" is the worst kind of "security".

Security through obscurity (STO) is a perfectly reasonable way to handle
various things, particularly if it's a component of Security in Depth.  
The real problem with STO is that is often believed to be more completely
effective than it really is.  Locks on file cabinets could be viewed as
STO because they're quite easy to get past and the keys are usually quite
accessable, but they "keep the honest people honest" which reduces the
number of incidents one has to deal with considerably.  Making the
challenge of faking-out d.net difficult enough that the "honest people"
don't perceive any easy opportunities to pump up their stats seriously
reduces the security challenge confronting the d.net volunteer staff.  
Slashing away all of the petty crimes leaves them to focus on the hard
problems which are handled by double-checking results randomly.  Auditing
plus STO can be a very effective and relatively painless way to deal with
security.  Ignoring STO opportunities and only accepting what you believe
to be "real" security in a given venue leaves you open to same
overpresumption of effectiveness that is the real lesson of STO.


There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make
it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies. And the other way
is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies.
                                                        - - C.A.R. Hoare

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