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Re: A couple of questions and concerns about Emacs network security

From: Jimmy Yuen Ho Wong
Subject: Re: A couple of questions and concerns about Emacs network security
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2018 19:06:29 +0100

>> Same questions regarding a home network, separated from the outside
>> world by a firewall.
> I have such a network at home. I also have family members who are not
> necessarily as aware of security issues as I am, and who also possess
> network connections that are not secured by my firewall.
>> Why shouldn't Emacs cater to such use cases?
>> On the other end, there are legitimate use cases where users might
>> need to access sites and servers known in advance to be dangerous.
>> Why shouldn't Emacs provide a 'paranoid' set of settings for such use
>> cases?
> That I agree with, and thatʼs why I use 'paranoid', limited as it
> currently is.

I disagree that prompting for pretty much every TLS connection is a
good idea. In security circles these days, there's such a thing known
as "security fatigue". Overly troublesome security measure that don't
take human psychology into account will lead to numbness. A side
effect of that is users will simply start ignoring security warnings
like they skip reading iTunes's EULA. This is an adverse unintended
consequence that achieves the opposite of what we want to do here.

>>> `gnutls-min-prime-bits` should be `nil` on Emacs 26.2
> That might be going a bit far, but I can certainly do that locally and
> see what happens.

As I've said, setting `gnutls-min-prime-bits` to nil simply means
GnuTLS will negotiate the right number of DH bits on the user's
behalf, starting from 1008 bits since 3.3.0.

> Documentation is good. Iʼll see if I can find some time to work on
> that.

Thanks for helping out :)

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