No doubt that any user account compromised would be unfortunate and
would also mean that developers didn't make the software secure
enough. On one side there are needs for big restriction on community
developers from being able to access resources (not just shell access
is restricted a lot) but it was also announced recently that any site
using standard api authentication to wikimedia would be blocked from
having access to cluster, unless it uses any other authentication
despite that there is no other way (so it completely blocks various
projects). On other side you are telling here that security isn't so
important since the compromised accounts couldn't do much damage.
I don't really know what is true, but I agree that security is
something important, we shouldn't underestimate, so any improvement
which actually doesn't cost much (in some cases it does cost literally
0$, for example rewriting some policies on projects requiring sysops
to have strong passwords is something what would cost only a time
needed to fix it) is worth of implementing.
Ariel: I didn't propose to auto desysop anyone, I proposed to improve
security for users themselves, the accounts wouldn't get really
desysoped but deactivated and needed to be activated by email. Also if
you really want to tell us how is it possible to hack to the site,
please don't post it publicly next time, "If I wanted to cause harm to
an editing community, one of the better ways might be ..." sounds
dangerous from someone who has access to servers :-)
On Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 9:06 AM, Ariel T. Glenn <ariel(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
Στις 13-04-2012, ημέρα Παρ, και ώρα 12:49 +1000, ο/η
On Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 6:25 PM, Petr Bena
account with sysop rights cannot do that much damage anyway.
Deleting a page does no more damage than deleting a paragraph in an
existent page, and the latter can be done by anybody; in fact,
deleting a page makes a lot more noise. The same goes for protection,
blocking and editing in the MediaWiki space - everything is easily
traceable and reversible, and in a functioning wiki community the
damage will be minimal.
That isn't excuse to leave project open to damage. Security of
mediawiki users and their accounts should be important for us anyway.
Actually, this is the most important thing to think about.
There is no such thing as perfect security. You just need to make it more
costly to breach security than the benefit that a hacker would get for it.
Conversely, you need to expend no more effort in security than the cost of
a breach in security.
Now, there are things that sysops can do that aren't so easily reversible.
You could surreptitiously add site JS that captured tokens from checkusers
and released large amounts of sensitive data, so it's not exactly without
merit. But I don't think it's justifiable to dismiss discussion about
whether extra security is "worth it".
If I wanted to cause harm to an editing community, one of the better
ways might be to take over a few inactive sysop accounts and slowly
start to push for policies and take actions that are divisive. The
resulting damage to community trust would be hard indeed to undo; think
back to the various infiltration programs of law enforcement into
activist groups in the 1960's and 1970's in the U.S. for a prime example
I don't think this justifies automated de-sysopping of inactive accounts
(because this also sends a message about trust or value to the account
owner), but a notification system of some sort, as has been proposed
earlier in this thread, might be nice.
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