University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

From the same journal

By the same authors

Remote booting in a hostile world: to whom am I speaking? [Computer security]

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


View graph of relations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-54
Publication statusPublished - 1995


Today's networked computer systems are very vulnerable to attack: terminal software, like that used by the X Window System, is frequently passed across a network, and a trojan horse can easily be inserted while it is in transit. Many other software products, including operating systems, load parts of themselves from a server across a network. Although users may be confident that their workstation is physically secure, some part of the network to which they are attached almost certainly is not secure. Most proposals that recommend cryptographic means to protect remotely loaded software also eliminate the advantages of remote loading-for example, ease of reconfiguration, upgrade distribution, and maintenance. For this reason, they have largely been abandoned before finding their way into commercial products. The article shows that, contrary to intuition, it is no more difficult to protect a workstation that loads its software across an insecure network than to protect a stand-alone workstation. In contrast to prevailing practice, the authors make essential use of a collision-rich hash function to ensure that an exhaustive off-line search by the opponent will produce not one, but many candidate pass words. This strategy forces the opponent into an open, on-line guessing attack and offers the user a defensive strategy unavailable in the case of an off-line attack.


“This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder." “Copyright IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE.”

ID: 95791