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Security Threats and Privacy Considerations for Internet Protocols

Privacy Considerations for Internet Protocols

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) requires consideration of security threats, and has a process to threat model focused on their organizational needs. As of 2013, they sometimes require consideration of privacy threats. An informational RFC Privacy Consideration for Internet Protocols, outlines a set of security-privacy threats, a set of pure privacy threats, and offers a set of mitigations.
The combined security-privacy threats are as follows:
  1. Surveillance
  2. Stored data compromise
  3. Mis-attribution or intrusion (in the sense of unsolicited messages and denial-of-service attacks, rather than break-ins)
The privacy-specific threats are as follows:
  1. Correlation
  2. Identification
  3. Secondary use
  4. Disclosure
  5. Exclusion
(users are unaware of the data that others may be collecting). Each is considered in detail in the RFC. The set of mitigations includes data minimization, anonymity, pseudonymity, identity confi dentiality, user participation and security. While somewhat specific to the design of network protocols, the document is clear, free, and likely a useful tool for those attempting to threat model privacy.

Security threats

This diagram lists the various elements that comprise a security threat.
This diagram lists the various elements that comprise a security threat.

1) User-created breach Users may unknowingly create a security risk by using weak passwords or by downloading a file containing a virus.
2) Password cracking Dictionary programs specifically written to break into a password-protected system are frequently used to gain access to network systems.
3) Trojan horse Users can inadvertently download destructive viruses and Trojan horses, thereby compromising a network's ability to function. A Trojan horse, or Trojan, is an illicit service that defeats authentication and access control measures.
4) Denial of service To prevent legitimate users of a service from using that service, attackers may attempt to flood a network or disrupt connections or services.
5) Packet sniffer Sniffers, devices, or programs that are used to monitor traffic on a network can be installed anywhere in a networked system.
6) IP spoofing Many hackers can imitate any Internet protocol (IP) device that has an address that allows them entrance into your system.
7) System snooping Using Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), a hacker can enter a system through a device that does not have specific security mechanisms in place.
8) Bugs Many times, an operating system or program running on the server contains coding problems or bugs that create an unintentional opening. Hackers often know about such problems and exploit them.
9) Back door Program designers sometimes intentionally place a back door in an operating system or program so they can support the product quickly. Hackers can use the back door to gain access to the system.
10) Social engineering A hacker may use tricks and disinformation to gain access to passwords and other sensitive information. For example, a hacker might imitate a legitimate user by confusing a switchboard operator or a guard.
11) DNS poisoning It is possible for a hacker to misdirect users to other sites. For example, hackers can send bogus information to a DNS server that may make someone else's site appear as it were yours.