Re: Gates indicted for hacking into JPL :-)

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From: Justin Mason (
Date: Wed Oct 11 2000 - 06:47:55 PDT

Eugene Leitl said:

> Alternatively, a md5sum-spider-remotely triggerable watchdog resetting
> an Apache ran off a *nix booted from write-protected flash serving
> pages from a write-protected hard drive (I think I've seen some where
> you could write-protect them with a jumper) should be virtually
> nondefaceable.

Yeah, you can write-protect HDs no problem. The main issue would be

  (1) OS software that assumed the HD was read-write.

  (2) getting at the write-protect jumper when you need to.

I remember hearing of someone (on the firewalls list a while back I think)
who solved 2. by wiring up the w/p jumper to the "turbo" switch (remember
them?) on a PC case; that way OS updates could be installed without taking
the whole case apart.

1. is solved by running a proper OS ;) which can use a separate partition
for r/w stuff like swap disks etc.

As you say, this way you then change the security issue to one of physical
security, which is currently easier to keep sorted.

However both are a not quite trivial enough for even the typical sysadmin;
it generally takes 1 or 2 good security compromises for them to bother
installing up-to-date OS patches ;)

Also people like the idea of updating their site remotely...


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