The magic security CD disc Re: HTTP proxies

Steven M. Bellovin smb at
Mon Dec 9 02:50:20 UTC 2002

In message <Pine.GSO.4.44.0212081952200.11337-100000 at>, Sean
 Donelan writes:
>Has anyone come out with a fix everything CD customers could use
>to clean up their systems? This isn't an operating system specific
>issue. Buggy and misconfigured software is running on Unix, Mac,
>Windows, etc.

It can't be done, at least not usefully.

It's easy to turn things off; the hard part is knowing what should be 
left on, given your needs, the threat environment, and other protective 

I forget which of the Rainbow Series of books said it -- the Yellow 
Book, I think -- but one of them noted that the same LAN that was 
insecure in an office might be quite secure in a submerged submarine 
with a highly-cleared crew aboard.

It is possible, though, to write something that would analyze a 
configuration and present you with a sensible menu of choices.  It 
could know, for example, that one can't disable rpcbind if other 
RPC-based services are running.  But getting that right for even a 
single release of a single OS is hard enough, let alone many releases 
of many OSes.  And then, of course, you want to add advice to the user.

		--Steve Bellovin, (me) ("Firewalls" book)

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