Why trust gpg4win?

Marko Randjelovic markoran at eunet.rs
Sun Sep 15 12:04:38 CEST 2013

On Fri, 13 Sep 2013 09:19:10 +0200
NdK <ndk.clanbo at gmail.com> wrote:

> Il 12/09/2013 23:10, Marko Randjelovic ha scritto:
> > All the time I read suggestions on using USB sticks and I must say
> > people are crazy about USB sticks. It is more convenient to use
> > optical media then USB stick because they are read only. Boot from
> > Live CD, not from USB stick and use USB stick only for data. In a
> > desktop PC you can put two CD devices and boot Live CD from CD1 and
> > write your data to CD2. You can use write-once media or rewritable
> > media so you do not waste to much plastic.
> It's just a matter of trust (and speed). After all, you need to take
> the system image from "somewhere". That's probably the weakest link.
> Or, at least, it's the easiest to compromise.


> PS: I'll tell you a secret: there are USB keys with a "write protect"
> switch :)
> > If you write your data to CDROM, then it is much more safer to
> > transfer data to another PC. It is much more complicated to make a
> > virus that will insert itself into a CDROM then into a USB stick.
> > Furthermore, such action would be odd and could be blocked by a
> > security software like SELinux.
> And maybe there's a buffer overflow in the ISO9660 driver that can be
> exploited <g>. Hey, we're talking of the most tested codepaths (unless
> you use some exotic filesystem)!

Bug is a bug. It is not simpler to craft the filesystem than to insert ordinary virus.

> Maybe technical solutions for a social problem aren't always the right
> answer?
> You can *never* be 100% sure. No way. You can be "reasonably sure".
> You can be "certifiably sure" (given that you define which kind of
> attacks you think you'll be exposed to and find a standard to certify
> against).
> I can be "reasonably sure" nobody will hack my machine just to read my
> mail. Obama can be "reasonably sure" that *many* attackers will try.
> So my scenario and Obama's one are "a bit" different, and require
> *greatly* different solutions. I can't afford the costs and
> inconveniences of a solution based on Obama's needs (and I'd be
> indeed quite stupid to try to adopt it), and he can't afford the risk
> of a solution tailored on mine.

The problem is in that more you have better protection, more you become interesting. That way, if you try really protect yourself, you will prevent weak/moderate players to get your data, but instead strong players, like security agencies, who otherwise wouldn't be interested, *will* get your data. That makes all our efforts to protect our privacy absurd. I think NSA and similar organizations are dangerous and even if now they do not abuse to much their information (such as destroying dissidents), it can change in future. They store all data indefinitely and it is enough that only in one moment in future someone can and would abuse it to happen disaster.

> PPS: at least here in Italy a *completely offline machine* becomes
> illegal after 6 months. Law dictates that every computer where
> personal data is handled (and even a name and surname *is* "personal
> data") *must* be updated *at least* every 6 months. And attacking
> your update medium is probably easier than attacking the USB key.


Marko Ranđelović, B.Sc.
Software Developer
Niš, Serbia
markoran at eunet.rs

Note: If you see a nonsense enclosed between lines


then this message is digitally signed using OpenPGP compliant software.
You need an appropriate plugin for your email client or other OpenPGP
compliant software in order to verify the signature. However, the concept
of computer insecurity implies digital signature is not absolute proof of

More information about the Gnupg-users mailing list