security

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security in the context of the indieweb may refer to security concerns regarding personal domains, web hosting, https setup, private data, identity etc. Nearly everything on the internet, including the web, and thus indie web, has security concerns.

Why

You should make your personal site more secure so that in general you and others can trust it more.

How to

See:

Visibility

Contents

Services that require logins or act as authorization servers should provide a way for users to see an audit trail of events relating to their account. For example:

GitHub Security History

GitHub provides a page listing accesses to your account with details such as from what device, OS, location, date of access:

github-security-history-example.png

Google Recent Activity

Google provides a security recent activity log with date, browser, OS used to access your account and other information:

google-security-history-example.png

Breaches

Security breaches as reported by sites

2014

Reproducible problems

https http botches

Today, when standards like HSTS try to mitigate https to http degradation attacks, there's no reason to allow http at all. All http should redirect to https. Examples of "willful degradation" in indie web related software and services:

  • Webmentions to Known only work if you mention the http URL. This may encourage using unsafe links to Known (that shouldn't exist in the first place).
  • webmention.io regards http and https as different URLs. Perhaps this is not a bug, because in a perfect world there wouldn't be any https.

Web Hosting

Should you write about your web hosting setup?

In some regards yes, to help out other members of the community.

However from a security perspective, disclosing what web host you use, software, VPS, or how you implement your server configuration are potential security issues because every piece of information you give a potential attacker about your setup helps narrow the space of weaknesses to explore.

So, how do you share information without endangering yourself in that regard?

You decide you're not a worthy target, or you decide you'd rather share publicly in the hopes that friends will warn you about any flaws before an attacker exploits them.

Dealing with unknown problems

Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_by_design :

  • Peer review existing protocols and implementations.
  • Look for docs, advice, potential peer-reviewers at communities like MIT's Liberationtech mailing list (any other ideas?).
  • Think in advance about security implications of features like private messages.
  • Always prefer existing and popular (i.e. constantly peer reviewed) technology to reinventing crypto.
  • Eventually - prepare guidelines for site owners and developers on the Wiki (similar to Eff's SSD).

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