Hands-on Technical Trainings - 13th & 14th October

Triple-Track Conference - 15th & 16th October


Capture the Flag - 15th & 16th October

HackWEEKDAY - 15th & 16th October

CommSec Village - 15th & 16th October

Security issue discovered in TOR client

There is no fragment in program code where you cannot make mistakes. You may actually make them in very simple fragments. While programmers have worked out the habit of testing algorithms, data exchange mechanisms and interfaces, it's much worse concerning security testing. It is often implemented on the leftover principle. A programmer is thinking: "I just write a couple of lines now, and everything will be ok. And I don't even need to test it. The code is too simple to make a mistake there!". That's not right. Since you're working on security and writing some code for this purpose, test it as carefully!

When and where is security important? In many applications. But let's not discuss it in abstracto. Take, for instance, the source codes of the Tor application. This is a system intended to enable online anonymity. Tor client software directs internet traffic through a worldwide volunteer network of servers to conceal a user's location or usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. To know more what it is and where it is used, see the Wikipedia article.

Everyone will agree that programmers should pay maximum attention to data security in such an application. And even more than that! Let's put it this way, you should develop this application being in a state of paranoia and persecution mania. Indeed, much is done in the TOR program to conceal and protect information. But when I study the code, I'm starting to feel sad. Many protection mechanisms simply stay idle because of trivial slip-ups and misprints.