Worth Reading: Blockchain and Trust
One of the rules of sane social media presence should be don’t ever engage with evangelists believing in a particular technology religion, more so if their funding depends on them spreading the gospel. I was called old-school networking guru from ivory tower when pointing out the drawbacks of TRILL, and clueless incompetent (in more polite words) when retweeting a tweet pointing out the realities of carbon footprint of proof-of-work technologies.
Interestingly, just a few days after that Bruce Schneier published a lengthy essay on blockchain and trust, and even the evangelists find it a bit hard to call him incompetent on security topics. Please read what he wrote every time someone comes along explaining how blockchains will save the world (or solve whatever networking problems like VTEP-to-MAC mappings).
SD-WAN Security Under the Hood
A while ago we published a guest blog post by Christoph Jaggi explaining the high-level security challenges of most SD-WAN solutions… but what about the low-level details?
Sergey Gordeychik dived deep into implementation details of SD-WAN security in his 35C3 talk (slides, video).
TL&DW: some of the SD-WAN boxes are as secure as $19.99 Chinese webcam you bought on eBay.
David Gee on Security of Network Automation
One of the points David Gee, a guest speaker in Spring 2019 Building Networking Automation Solutions online course, and Christoph Jaggi touched on in their interview was the security of network automation solutions (see also: automated workflows and hygiene of network automation).
What are the security risks for automation?
Security is an approach, not an afterthought.
OMG, VXLAN Is Still Insecure
A friend of mine told me about a “VXLAN is insecure, the sky is falling” presentation from RIPE-77 which claims that you can (under certain circumstances) inject packets into VXLAN virtual networks from the Internet.
Welcome back, Captain Obvious. Anyone looking at the VXLAN packet could immediately figure out that there’s no security in VXLAN. I pointed that out several times in my blog posts and presentations, including Cloud Computing Networking (EuroNOG, September 2011) and NSX Architecture webinar (August 2013).
Bitcoins Will Buy BGP Security? Come On…
Here’s another interesting talk from RIPE77: Routing Attacks in Cryptocurrencies explaining how BGP hijacks can impact cryptocurrencies.
TL&DR: Bitcoin is not nearly decentralized enough to be resistant to simple and relatively easy BGP manipulations.
How Network Automation Increases Security
This blog post was initially sent to subscribers of my SDN and Network Automation mailing list. Subscribe here.
After publishing the Manual Work Is a Bug blog post, I got this feedback from Michele Chubirka explaining why automating changes in your network also increases network security:
MUST READ: Operational Security Considerations for IPv6 Networks
A team of IPv6 security experts I highly respect (including my good friends Enno Rey, Eric Vyncke and Merike Kaeo) put together a lengthy document describing security considerations for IPv6 networks. The document is a 35-page overview of things you should know about IPv6 security, listing over a hundred relevant RFCs and other references.
No wonder enterprise IPv6 adoption is so slow – we managed to make a total mess.
Integrating 3rd Party Firewalls with Amazon Web Services (AWS) VPC Networking
After figuring out how packet forwarding really works within AWS VPC (here’s an overview, the slide deck is already available to ipSpace.net subscribers) the next obvious question should be: “and how do I integrate a network services device like a next-generation firewall I have to use because $securityPolicy into that environment?”
Please don’t get me started on whether that makes sense, that’s a different discussion.
Christer Swartz, an old-time CCIE and occasional guest on Software Gone Wild podcast will show you how to do it with a Palo Alto firewall during my Amazon Web Services Networking Deep Dive workshop on June 13th in Zurich, Switzerland (register here).
We Have to Learn How to Manage the Cattle
Not long after I published the blog post arguing against physical appliances, Oven wrote a very valid comment: "But then you'd have 20 individual systems to manage, add licenses to for additional features, updates etc."
Even though the blog post (and the comment) was written in 2013, not much has changed in the meantime.
Container Security through Segregation
One of my readers sent me a container security question after reading the Application Container Security Guide from NIST:
We are considering segregating dev/test/prod environments with bare-metal hardware. I did not find something in the standard concerning this. What should a financial institution do in your opinion?
I am no security expert and know just enough about containers to be dangerous, but there’s a rule that usually works well: use common sense and identify similar scenarios that have already been solved.
I Can’t Choose the Gear for You
One of my readers sent me a question along these lines after reading the anti-automation blog post:
Your blog post has me worried as we're currently reviewing offers for NGFW solution... I understand the need to keep the lid on the details rather than name and shame, but is it possible to get the details off the record?
I always believed in giving my readers enough information to solve their challenges on their own (you know, the Teach a man to fish idea).
Reinventing SSL VPN (RFC 1925 Strikes Again)
Some of my readers got annoyed when I mentioned Google’s BeyondCorp and RFC 1925 in the same sentence (to be perfectly clear, I had Rule#11 in mind). I totally understand that sentiment – reading the reactions from industry press it seems to be the best thing that happened to Enterprise IT in decades.
Let me explain in simple terms why I think it’s not such a big deal and definitely not something new, let alone revolutionary.
How Useful Is Microsegmentation?
Got an interesting microsegmentation-focused email from one of my readers. He started with:
Since every SDDC vendor is bragging about need for microsegmentation in order to protect East West traffic and how their specific products are better compared to competition, I’d like to ask your opinion on a few quick questions.
First one: does it even make sense?
Meltdown and Its Networking Equivalents
One of my readers sent me this question:
Do you have any thoughts on this meltdown HPTI thing? How does a hardware issue/feature become a software vulnerability? Hasn't there always been an appropriate level of separation between kernel and user space?
There’s always been privilege-level separation between kernel and user space, but not the address space separation - kernel has been permanently mapped into the high-end addresses of user space (but not visible from the user-space code on systems that had decent virtual memory management hardware) since the days of OS/360, CP/M and VAX/VMS (RSX-11M was an exception since it ran on 16-bit CPU architecture and its designers wanted to support programs up to 64K byte in size).
New: Metro- and Carrier Ethernet Encryptors Market Overview
My friend Christoph Jaggi published new versions of his Metro- and Carrier Ethernet Encryptor documents:
- Technology introduction, including an overview of encryption mechanisms, Carrier Ethernet connectivity models, typical deployments, and key management challenges.
- Market overview, including standards, control- and data plane considerations, key- and system management, and network integration.