Your network is probably owned – What to do next?

I’ll try to summarize my thoughts after the pretty shocking 31C3 talk.

The talk was this one: Reconstructing .Narratives.

This trip to 31C3 was meant to be a normal educational excursion but it is now just depressing. The holes the NSA & friends rip into the networks we are looking after are so deep it’s hard to describe.

Our democratic governments using the data gathered for KILL LISTS of people, even assigning a “kill value” as in how many people are legit to kill if it helps the matter. This is something I can’t yet fit into my head. The political and technical aspects are covered on

Note that the info there will be extended in 3 weeks since there will be another drop of info regarding malware aspects.

Personally, I’m not feeling well just over what I heard there and I’m grateful they didn’t come around to the malware list.

Now I’ll go ahead on the tech side and talk about what you should consider, we NEED to clean up our networks.

This is not a check list. It is a list to start from.

Your admin workstation:

  • Buy a new one. Install Qubes as per
  • If your box runs it nicely, submit it to their HCL.
  • Talked to Joanna before this shaking talk, and I’ll write about my “interview” at a later time.
  • Use the TOR VM or another box with Tails for your FW downloads
  • I wish coreboot was actually usable, if you can help on that end, please do it.

Point of Administration MATTERS

  • IPSEC VPN with preshared keys: Not safe
  • IPSEC VPN: Should be safe?
  • PPTP VPN: (Obviously) Not safe
  • SSH: VERY VERY questionable
  • ISDN Callback: Sorry, that was only safe before IP was the standard. And maybe not then

So basically, if your servers aren’t in the cloud but in your basement, THAT IS A GOOD THING.

Really sorry but it has to be said.


  • wipe your ssh host keys, regenerate them
  • Don’t use less than 4k keys.
  • include the routers and other networking equipment.
  • Drop ALL your admin keys
  • Regenerate them monthly
  • Be prepared to re-key once we find out what SSH ECDSA-style option is actually safe

SSH adjustments are now described very well at the following github url:
stribika – Secure Secure Shell


change passwords!

this is sounding funny and old, but since any connection you have ever made might get decrypted at a later time, you should consider all compromised.
I think it should also be a good thing[tm] to have separate passwords on the first line of jump hosts than on the rest of systems.

yes, keys seem safer. But i’ve been talking about passwords, which included issues like keystroke timing attacks on password based logins to systems further down the line.
of course applies to public keys; i.e. don’t overly enjoy agent forwarding. I’d rather not allow my “jump host login” key on the inner ring of systems.

Password management:

It seems the tool from Bruce Schneier is rather safe, I’d go away from the “common” choices like KeepassX.

Info / Download:


Make BIOS reflashing a POLICY.

Random number generators:

Expect you will need to switch them, personally I THINK you should immediately drop the comforts of haveged.


It was recommended more than one time.

Start using it more and more, putting more stuff in it than you’d have done till today.

Switches and routers:

Your network is NOT your friend.

  • IP ACLs are really a good thing to consider and piss off intruders
  • A good tool to set ACLs globally on your hardware is Googles capirca. Find it at a href=””> Shorewall etc. is more on the “nice for a host” level. We have come a long way with host based firewalls, but…
  • Think harder about how to secure your whole network. And how to go about replacing parts of it.

We can’t be sure which of our LAN active components are safe, your WAN probably IS NOT.


We really need to have PSF more commonspread.

Talk it over with your clients, how much ongoing damage is acceptable for helping the helpless XP users.

Guest WIFI

Do NOT run a flat home network.

Additions welcome, comment if you know something to *advance* things.


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