Re: TLS on disconnected/intermittently connected networks

Keith Moore <moore@network-heretics.com> Thu, 04 March 2021 21:05 UTC

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Subject: Re: TLS on disconnected/intermittently connected networks
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From: Keith Moore <moore@network-heretics.com>
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Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2021 16:05:21 -0500
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On 3/4/21 3:52 PM, Sam Hartman wrote:

>      Keith>    IOW it's not only TLS and X.509 that are needed, but a
>      Keith> stack (including browser) that can use these without needing
>      Keith> DNS or external connectivity.
>
> I've been doing this a fair bit for isolated networks for cyber training
> and for other things in that space.
> We end up providing a DNS and a PKI etc.
>
>
> At this point it's going to be simpler to provide some good devops'd dns
> and PKI than to go develop a custom browser.

I've written code for a variety of environments like these for the last 
13 years or so: gas pipeline monitoring, broadcast television 
operations, traffic signal monitoring/control, factory 
monitoring/automation, avionics, cryogenic dewar monitoring for various 
kinds of environments, and some others that don't come to mind 
immediately.   For the environments I've worked with, any of that kind 
of stuff would be a non-starter.     DNS is rightly seen as yet another 
reason for things to fail, and factories, gas pipelines, etc. are 
intolerant of lines being shut down because some IT guy wanted to use a 
name rather than an IP address. Static IPs work just fine for these 
situations.   External connections are also regarded as security threats 
and generally forbidden, which is not to say that the rules are never 
bent or that nobody every plugs in a nomadic laptop.

So they do need better protection against threats and sometimes they'll 
even admit it (the customers more than the equipment manufacturers), but 
the Big Internet assumptions don't work for them.

Keith