Adam Caudill

Security Engineer, Researcher, & Developer

  • The Manifesto

    As a child, all of my time was spent reading – at the age of 8 or 9 I was staying up all night reading the likes of Dickens and Verne, at 11 or 12, I was tearing through encyclopedias, medical texts, and anything else I could get my hands on. I had a love for learning, for understanding, a desire to know everything, and an insatiable curiosity that often led me in interesting directions (in that ancient curse “may you have an interesting life” kind of way).

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  • Responsible Disclosure Is Wrong

    The debate around how, where, and when to disclose a vulnerability – and of course to whom – is nearly as old as the industry that spawned the vulnerabilities. This debate will likely continue as long as humans are writing software. Unfortunately, the debate is hampered by poor terminology. Responsible disclosure is a computer security term describing a vulnerability disclosure model. It is like full disclosure, with the addition that all stakeholders agree to allow a period of time for the vulnerability to be patched before publishing the details.

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  • Crypto Front Door: Everyone Welcome!

    For decades, the US Government has fought — sometimes with itself — to prevent the use of secure cryptography. During the first crypto war, they allowed strong cryptography within the US, but other countries were limited to small keys — making brute force attacks practical. But what about those pesky US citizens? They didn’t really want them to have strong crypto either — enter key escrow. What is key escrow? According to Wikipedia:

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  • The Evolution of Paranoia

    That researchers from Kaspersky Lab uncovered malware that uses hard-drive firmware has now been throughly discussed — perhaps too much for some people. It’s not exactly Earth-shattering news either, the idea has been discussed for years, and has been publicly demonstrated. Brandon Wilson and I were even working proof of concept for SSD controllers to demonstrate this based on our BadUSB work. This isn’t about that story, exactly. This is about paranoia, and how it has changed over the last few years — and even the last few months.

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  • Utopia Found; Utopia Lost

    Sometime in the 1990’s I used a 2400-baud modem and connected to the internet for the first time; I found a new world, a better world. A world where ideas and intellect set people apart, not skin color, or political affiliation, of even the pseudo-scandal of the day (which is probably just a disguise for ignorance and intolerance). It was a time of invention, in a world where everything was new and the potential was unlimited.

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  • Irrational Attribution: APT3.14159

    [Note: This is satire / fiction; well, more or less – probably more more than less. Any resemblance to real companies, living or dead, is purely coincidental.] WASHINGTON, D.C — Unnamed White House officials that spoke on the condition of anonymity, have stated that a major American company has been hacked, and the attackers are threatening to release terabytes of proprietary information. The name of the company has not been released at this time.

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  • On NSA-Proof Security

    @KimZetter We need to distinguish between "proof against NSA dragnet", "proof against NSA PRISM", and "proof against NSA TAO". @runasand — zooko (@zooko) September 17, 2014 For a long time, “military grade encryption” has been a red flag for snake oil, over-hyped, under-performing garbage, so much so that it’s become a punchline. Anytime that phrase is seen, it’s assumed that the product is a joke – quite possibly doing more harm than good.

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  • A backdoor by any other name…

    Yesterday James B. Comey, the Director of the FBI continued the propaganda campaign against encryption with a fresh batch of lies and misdirection. The FBI has been pushing to add backdoors to cryptosystems around the world – no matter how many people they put at risk in the process. Starting in the 1990’s, the FBI has been at the forefront of trying to make their job easier by endangering the world.

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  • The Sinking Ship of E-Mail Security

    E-Mail, the venerable old standard for internet text messages, dating back to the early 1980s – and back to the early 1970s in other forms, has long been the “killer app” of the internet. While so many companies try to make the next great thing that’ll capture users around the world – none of these compare to the success of e-mail. It is likely the single most entrenched application-layer protocol used today.

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  • On Opportunistic Encryption

    Opportunistic encryption has become quite a hot topic recently, and blew up in a big way thanks to an Internet Draft that was published on February 14th for what amounts to sanctioned man-in-the-middle. Privacy advocates were quickly up in arms – but it’s not that simple (see here). As pointed out by Brad Hill, this isn’t about HTTPS traffic, but HTTP traffic using unauthenticated TLS; thanks to poor wording in the document, it’s easy to miss that fact if you just skim it.

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