[cabf_netsec] SC20 and Adversarial Interpretation

Dimitris Zacharopoulos (HARICA) dzacharo at harica.gr
Mon Feb 3 10:59:31 MST 2020


Apologies for not attending the latest netsec meetings. I wanted to 
understand a little bit more how the subcommittee perceives the "alter 
the state of our systems". Since "changes to a system" can be very 
broad, perhaps we could list some examples. Do you think this would help?


On 2020-02-03 7:39 μ.μ., Neil Dunbar via Netsec wrote:
> All,
> Reading through Ryan's comments on the main list, a couple of things 
> are springing to mind.
> 1) Is there anything that can be done to shut out a perverse 
> interpretation that a "change" to a system can be defined as "anything 
> which goes through our change management process"? Most reasonable 
> readers would think of a "change" as "something which alters the state 
> of our systems"; but Ryan's adversarial (and hypothetical) CA example 
> is looking for a way to reinterpret "change" such that they don't 
> actually need to scan for alterations in state; merely those 
> alterations predicated by their inclusion in a change management system.
> Perhaps something like:
> "Ensure that the CA’s security policies encompass a Change Management 
> Process, following the principles of documentation, approval and 
> testing. CAs SHALL NOT make any alterations to the configuration state 
> of Certificate Systems, Issuing Systems, Certificate Management 
> Systems, Security Support Systems, and Front-End / Internal-Support 
> Systems unless those are reflected by defined and properly approved 
> issues maintained under the Change Management Process;"
> 2) Should we decapitalise Change Management Process in 1(h), unless we 
> truly wish it to be a defined term? Given that there are plethorae of 
> systems capable of tracking changes, it might be problematic to come 
> up with an all-encompassing definition. In 1(h) we are stating the 
> characteristics which a change management system needs to demonstrate, 
> rather than specifically nail down what one is; therefore might it be 
> better to not make it appear as a defined term?
> Alternatively, we could simply define one:
> "Change Management Process: A protocol which catalogues proposed 
> changes to systems within its scope, allowing such changes to be 
> approved, rejected and reviewed"
> My problem with the above is that I'm sure it just creates a dozen 
> more holes for bad actors to escape from!
> Thoughts welcome,
> Neil
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