Security is at the heart of the web.
We want to share. We want to buy. We want help. We want to talk.
At the end of the day, though, we want to be able to go to sleep without worrying that all of those great conversations on the open web will endanger the rest of what we do.
Making the web work has always been a balancing act between enabling and forbidding, remembering and forgetting, and public and private. Managing identity, security, and privacy has always been complicated, both because of the challenges in each of those pieces and the tensions among them.
Complicating things further, the web has succeeded in large part because people — myself included — have been willing to lock their paranoias away so long as nothing too terrible happened.
I talked for years about expecting that the NSA was reading all my correspondence, but finding out that yes, indeed they were filtering pretty much everything, opened the door to a whole new set of conversations and concerns about what happens to my information. I made my home address readily available in an IETF RFC document years ago. In an age of doxxing and SWATting, I wonder whether I was smart to do that. As the costs move from my imagination to reality, it’s harder to keep the door to my paranoia closed. Read more…
Assertion and delegation of identity can now be easy or safe. But we need both.
It's good to see Twitter driving a stake into the heart of the password anti-pattern. But the Twitter ecosystem wouldn't exist if it hadn't been possible to sketch ideas, and to explore the unanticipated uses that can emerge from the soup of active ingredients that the web has become.
WRAP attempts to simplify the OAuth protocol, primarily by dropping the signatures, and replacing them with a requirement to acquire short lived tokens over SSL. It is not an even trade-off, and the new proposal has a different set of security characteristics, benefits, and shortcomings.
At last month's RSA conference in San Francisco, I stumbled upon a vintage 1944 model of the German crypothographic machine, popularly known as the Enigma. This particular machine was owned by the National Cryptologic Museum, and was part of a larger booth hosted by the National Security Agency. The staff at the exhibit were quite friendly and it didn't take…