(originally posted on BMAC, where posts are searchable/organized by category; signup for optional account is completely free, includes occasional surprise post/download, has direct messaging, and allows you to receive more important posts by email (if you like))


Important Mention: in addition to other networks, a malicious VPN provider is capable of MITM attacks (one of the networks not commonly mentioned).

Key Security Takehome: Your computer's self hosted, open source encryption/crypto/hash methods are the only reliable encryption you can rely on for data integrity.

What are these? local/trusted checksum comparison programs/commands, ssh/key fingerprints -- all include storing some form of key / crypto related program on your own computer - above any reliance on 3rd party outside servers. Sometimes utilizing form of private key, other times local programs such as sha512sum, sha256sum, GPG, etc for verification.


Recently wrote a checksums tutorial (with screenshots), here on the main BMAC blog. Continuing in line with this important security topic for new Linux users - some may prefer this video over reading the written tutorial: I decided to offer both.


TIP: When checking a download outside the package manager (ie: Linux .img), one way to increase assurance of a checksum is to grab that checksum from a separate domain/server from the download hosting itself.

Example: Compare the hash from the official source, then download from a mirror: in this situation one would have needed to compromise both the mirror and official server to make hash match the download mirror.


I used a real world example of MITM story to introduce checksums and how they can serve to verify integrity of a file, entire package, or set of packages.

With a MITM attack, this can happen more locally, within your home/office LAN, public WiFi. It can happen at a higher level as well. In some countries where Human Rights are not well respected, this type of attack could happen at ISP level. Example: criminals compromising ISP to perform attacks or harm Human Rights activists.

We cover

checksums using commandline, Nextcloud App, and a graphical program called Gtkhash.



VIDEO TUTORIAL:

https://youtu.be/pmKN2Om5rnI

What do you find running these commands? Are you seeing anything concerning? Have you inspected any of the "FAILED" results for anomalies?

Let me know in the comments. ๐Ÿ˜€


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