RE: reading links in proc - permission denied

From: linda w. (
Date: Sat Jun 14 2003 - 15:55:21 EST

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Are you sure that 'top' uses that 'exe' ?

	Not at fact was told it doesn't.  Apparently, though,
the listed permissions on the links are arbitrary and the system
fairly well ignores them.

I vaguely remember someone once saying that even if a symlink had permissions lrxw------, it could still be used by group and others. I don't know if that was or is still true -- certainly doesn't seem consistent, but when dealing with computer systems made by many different humans, inconsistency seems inevitable -- even when made by 1 human, that person can be inconsistent over time.

And people wonder why computer security is so hard to 'get right'.

The general attitude is often that 'it is the way that it is, and unless it is causing a current problem', don't fix it. In companies -- it translates to "if it's not a customer reported bug, or performance problem or feature request", then it's not a priority. And even when customers do talk, it depends on the $$$ represented by the customers and the $$$ it will take to fix it. Cold hard cash. Perfect capitalistic system that guarantees security problems won't be fixed until they are published and/or exploited on enough victims's to add up to $$$'s worth of business it will cost to fix the bug.

Even Common Criteria evaluations are run simililarly. To my knowledge (and correct me if I am wrong, please! -- http pointers wanted!):

1) there is no requirement for a vendor to report known bugs to the third-party evaluation teams or the customers as long as the bug is only in internal company databases.

2) Testplans for a product to pass an evaluation as well as the tests themselves are created and approved by the third party evaluation team. So, for example:

a) if you can create a test plan that doesn't test a known problem area and the certifier approves the plan, that's perfectly legal and going by the system.

b) if you have to test a problematic area and can create a test that avoids the problem, and the Cert. approves the tests as following the test plan, that's also legal and going by the system.

c) if you can't avoid writing a test that will show up the plan, you can write the test to be extremely difficult to run and to hide the resulting failure -- like requiring a complete system reinstall both before and after the test is run. That way, if a test compromises security for later program execution, it won't be uncovered since the test plan required an immediate reboot after test was run (thus hiding the now compromised system state). And again, it would appear this is perfectly legal, and following the letter of the law as defined by the evaluation system.

3) Only bugs that become publicly known and/or to the end customer need to be fixed.

It seems this is standard practice for the world - accepted CC security rating system as I last understood it and as it was last explained to me.

Now this is for government level security-evaluated systems recognized in Euro-American (US & Canada) and several other systems.

The requirements for consumer products, of course, as in the non-binding click-through license agreement many customers believe in, are less stringent than the above -- test plan? What's a test plan -- oh yeah, that's shipping the product to be tested to 'alpha and beta' sites and see what turns up.

Even at the level of formal government security evaluations, there seem to be loopholes large enough to steer the QE-II through.

If anyone knows information opposite to the above, please let me know. It's pathetic enough now that standard practice with consumer programs is to ship with little or no testing, then require the consumers to pay money for each bug they want fixed (via time or (increasingly common) per incident) fix.

It's always rubbed me the wrong way to have a company sell me a fault product, then I have to pay them a 2nd time to fix a bug they put in the first time. How do I know that bugs aren't being deliberately planted to bring in more service revenue -- which can far exceed the cost of the original product.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Jun 15 2003 - 22:00:40 EST