Brother Can You Spare a Protocol?

If you haven’t yet heard of the SSLv3 protocol exploit then where have you been and how can you sleep at night.  Surely someone ran past you yesterday (Tuesday 10/14/14) with his hair on fire, screaming about graceful degradation of protocols.


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How Do You Respond?


You can read about the POODLE exploit process any number of places so I don’t want to waste time on that.

I am interested in how we, in infosec community give direction to our partners on graceful degradation (which is the heart of the exploit).  That’s been a principle we senior technical leaders have espoused to our junior developers for some time now.

I’ve even enjoyed a few Cloud Service Provider (CSP) calls wherein the vendor touts the features/benefits list and how gracefully their services degrade to ensure connectivity and capabilities until the point of disappearance so that we’re sure to squeeze out some service for our monthly fee no matter what.  All this promise within a technology paradigm of unstable and disruptive connections like the internet.  Maybe that’s just the skeptical nature of my persona typing there.

The principle isn’t wrong (and the salespeople and engineers behind what they’re selling are doing good jobs, too).

Does our industry (infosec, programming or technology in general) lack some useful guidance on when the principle of graceful degradation finally hits a wall beyond which it shouldn’t continue?  Do we owe a better process of illuminating these types of exploits and articulating the significant escalation of risk that come with keeping protocols that are increasingly likely to be compromised as fallbacks?

If you know of a good (read “mature”) paper, process or engagement model that addresses for this problem, please engage me (@ADubiousDude).  I’m interested and want to steal your work collaborate with you as an industry partner.