Re: [Secdispatch] [Smart] New Version Notification for draft-lazanski-smart-users-internet-00.txt

Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie> Mon, 15 July 2019 01:52 UTC

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To: Bret Jordan <jordan.ietf@gmail.com>, Eric Rescorla <ekr@rtfm.com>
Cc: smart@irtf.org, Dominique Lazanski <dml@lastpresslabel.com>, IETF SecDispatch <Secdispatch@ietf.org>, Kathleen Moriarty <kathleen.moriarty.ietf@gmail.com>, Phillip Hallam-Baker <phill@hallambaker.com>
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From: Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie>
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Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2019 02:51:56 +0100
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Subject: Re: [Secdispatch] [Smart] New Version Notification for draft-lazanski-smart-users-internet-00.txt
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In addition to Ekr's query (to which I'd also like to see an
answer)...

On 15/07/2019 01:45, Bret Jordan wrote:
> Yes, but first we need to make sure we have the open discussions in a
> congenial manner.  We also need to full understand what is needed by
> operational security to prevent threat actors and intrusion sets from
> destroying their networks, users, systems, and data.
Congeniality is great. Clarity is required.

Your statement is so unclear as to be unwelcome, and the term
unwelcome, as it turns out, seems to be an antonym for congenial. [1]

I'm sorry for being a bit of a smartass there, (and I accept
considering me a smartass would be a fair reaction to the quip
above:-) but ISTM that such absences of clarity too-often
accompany claims that the IETF needs to change rough consensus
positions on comsec and privacy, and I don't think that's
acceptable in what ought be a serious and considered discussion.
(And IMO that criticism applies to the draft mentioned in the
subject line as well.)

A couple of examples of how your statement is unclear:

- "Operational security" could be some unqualified set of people
or it could be a category of for-profit vendors. The relevant
"needs" of those are vastly different IMO. In either case the
term seems pretty badly chosen.
- "Their networks..." could refer to networks (etc.) owned and
operated by some entities or by the customers of some entities.
Again, very different interests are involved.
- Few to zero n/w attacks would be usefully described via the
phrase "destroying...users" - in fact destroy isn't really a
useful verb here generally (as it implies a lack of e.g. backup
and restore functionality). For the few attacks that one might
consider as destroying users (e.g. drones/bombs that kill
humans), I'd argue those ought not be considered in the same
way as attacks that muck about with network settings.
- It makes no sense to to me to talk about "intrusion sets"
"destroying" things.

Cheers,
S.

[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/congenial