moko running everything as root

Kevin Dean kevin at
Mon Jun 16 20:41:41 CEST 2008

On Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 12:23 PM, Robert Taylor
<subscribers at> wrote:
> Kevin Dean wrote:
>> In the mobile world, there is NOTHING more important than the user's
>> data. Nothing. And in the mobile world, you can impliment root priv
>> seperations till the cows come home, but it doesn't eliminate the fact
>> that the most vulnerable part of the system is being put at risk
>> still.
> This is nonsense.

You dispute that the user data is the most important part of the
mobile device "experience?

> Encrypt the data and have it backed up via policy/service/etc.

My previous e-mail has been clear - I WANT security on the device.
However, I simply don't beleive that the root/user seperation is the
most important consideration in that regard. You tossed out some great
security ideas, onces I'd personally put time into doing on my own
device, but with all due respect, you're saying my statements are
"nonsense" and then offering solutions that (while they work) aren't
what I was saying. Protecting user data is key so encryption and a
built-in, fully automated backup system is somethign I think would be
a GREAT thing to have. But it doesn't refute my point at all - a
non-root user can destroy the most critical part of the system and
doesn't need root to do it. Implimenting a root/user seperation itself
doesn't mitigate this risk. I agree that this risk needs to be
mitigated, I simply don't believe that the root/user split does much
to lessen the risks.

> You cannot separate security from a device this powerful.  Hell you
> cannot separate security from even crappy devices.  Hell we now live in
> an age where frickin printers come with full webservers with
> ssh/ftp/telnet and are now a security risk as much as any desktop.
> Despite the common belief, PHYSICAL access to a device DOES NOT
> GUARANTEE physical access to data.

That's correct if the data is encrypted but encryption isn't what's
being tossed around here. If all your data is stored in the clear, and
an intruder has physical access to the device, the distinctions
between root and non-root user don't matter. That's what I'm saying.

> A good enough key with a proper authentication scheme will keep the
> frickin NSA busy for 10's of thousands of years.
> Let's not kid our selves.  Security is of the utmost importance

I agree.

> If you think Bluejacking was nothing, just wait until you start owning
> these puppies during a walk by - hell, I have plans for making a
> carrying bag with a full spectrume of equipment and antennas that does
> nothing BUT sniff out wireless devices in an attempt to own them just
> for fun.
> How long do you think an root priviledged device like this would last
> under such circumstances?
> The world is getting MORE HAZARDOUS not less, with the full power of
> laptops only 10 years old or less in our pockets how can anyone think
> this is not a serious consideration?
> Rob
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