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Thread: Nautilus MASSIVE security fail?

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Nautilus MASSIVE security fail?

    Doesn't anybody else think it is a MASSIVE security fail that Nautilus quietly thumbnails all opened files in a single place? I can plug in a USB, or mount an encrypted volume, read some documents and Nautilus will put readable thumbnails into my (unencrypted) home directory.

    My current workarounds
    - turning off thumbnailing -- but I don't really want to
    - removing .thumbnails and replacing with symlink to /dev/shm
    -- this causes the 'normal', 'fail' and 'large' subfolders to get created on the RAM disk

    I think it would be preferable to create a .thumbnails in each directory. Surely this would be faster, easy to manage size-wise, and -- most importantly -- it would ensure that the thumbnails enjoyed the same security status as the files from which they are derived.

  2. #2
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    Re: Nautilus MASSIVE security fail?

    Quote Originally Posted by jhwoods View Post
    Doesn't anybody else think it is a MASSIVE security fail that Nautilus quietly thumbnails all opened files in a single place? I can plug in a USB, or mount an encrypted volume, read some documents and Nautilus will put readable thumbnails into my (unencrypted) home directory.

    My current workarounds
    - turning off thumbnailing -- but I don't really want to
    - removing .thumbnails and replacing with symlink to /dev/shm
    -- this causes the 'normal', 'fail' and 'large' subfolders to get created on the RAM disk

    I think it would be preferable to create a .thumbnails in each directory. Surely this would be faster, easy to manage size-wise, and -- most importantly -- it would ensure that the thumbnails enjoyed the same security status as the files from which they are derived.
    hi
    when you can plug in a USB you have phisical access to the box. it's christmas just take the whole box.
    cheers
    "What is the robbing of a bank compared to the FOUNDING of a bank?" Berthold Brecht

  3. #3
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    Re: Nautilus MASSIVE security fail?

    I don't think it's a "massive" security failure. I can't think of a hypothetical situation where any harm could be caused. Can you let me know one? Let the Ubuntu mailing list know?
    I try to treat the cause, not the symptom. I avoid the terminal in instructions, unless it's easier or necessary. My instructions will work within the Ubuntu system, instead of breaking or subverting it. Those are the three guarantees to the helpee.

  4. #4
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    Re: Nautilus MASSIVE security fail?

    are you kidding, this is BIGGER than the sendmail hole of '94..

    - If you have encrypted thumb drive and it is lost, you are good, the files are encrypted.

    - If you have encrypted thumb drive and you use it in untrusted computer, the "fail" is yours.

    - If you don't trust your own computer, and you don't do anything about it like encrypting your home or the whole drive, then you use the encrypted thumb drive in it - the "fail" is yours.
    Last edited by iponeverything; December 24th, 2012 at 03:32 PM.

  5. #5
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    Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal

    Re: Nautilus MASSIVE security fail?

    I guess the level of this security hole then has more to do with how secure you think your home folder is. I for one find it to be more secure than you find yours, and mine is unencrypted as well.

    Moral of the story is, don't go losing your computer.
    "If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error." -John Kenneth Galbraith, Economist

  6. #6
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    Re: Nautilus MASSIVE security fail?

    Guys, thanks for your input.

    @rnerwein - I can't agree. If I have a volume on my disk that is suitably encrypted, it doesn't matter if you have physical access to the box, my stuff is still protected - I've lost it, but you can't see it.

    @3rdalbum - How about this: I have a secret project. I keep the files on an encrypted thumbdrive, along with portable Truecrypt. I stick it in my laptop, mount the volume, and work on the files. Later there are thumbnails that are visible in my home directory on the laptop. These are at a lower level of security than my thumbdrive, both because I could put the thumbdrive in the safe and because I'm almost certainly using a shorter password for my Ubuntu logon than my Truecrypt volume. If thumbnails for the TC volume were kept on that volume, they would be at the same level of security as the TC volume itself, which seems to me to be appropriate.

    @iponeverything - as in the scenario above, I like to have levels of encryption. My home folder might have one level of encryption and a Truecrypt volume might be higher. If I mount a TC volume of porn videos, or secret documents, I don't want the thumbnails to be stored at the lower level of security when I have dismounted the TC volume.

    @SeanBlader - I'm not quite sure why you find your home folder to me more secure than mine; I don't use full disk encryption but my home dir is encrypted.

    @all - I still don't see the case for having all the thumbnails in one place in the home dir. At best it's not better than having separate dirs (like the Windows thumbs.dir used to be, although bizarrely Microsoft appear to use a central directory now), and at worst it results in exposing some of the contents of files that a user might be forgiven for thinking were more secure.
    Last edited by jhwoods; December 24th, 2012 at 08:33 PM. Reason: missed a bit

  7. #7
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    Re: Nautilus MASSIVE security fail?

    Quote Originally Posted by jhwoods View Post
    Doesn't anybody else think it is a MASSIVE security fail that Nautilus quietly thumbnails all opened files in a single place? I can plug in a USB, or mount an encrypted volume, read some documents and Nautilus will put readable thumbnails into my (unencrypted) home directory.
    Can't say that any of my 'secret' text or code files are ever thumbnailed & even if they were doubt much could be 'easily' read.
    Can you attach such an example?

  8. #8
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    Re: Nautilus MASSIVE security fail?

    Edit->Preferences->Preview->Show Thumbnails->Never

  9. #9
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    Re: Nautilus MASSIVE security fail?

    @mc4man - Here are two examples. One of these thumbnails gives away the content of my project, and the other shows a blonde woman with my horse. Fortunately the project is fictitious, and the blonde is my wife.

    Text files are worse - on my desktop, icons for text files give away the first 4-5 chars of the first 4 lines - that's enough to make bank details or passwords a lot less secure.

    @snowpine - I pointed out in my first post that you could turn it off. My own workaround is, in my opinion, even better - write the thumbnails to the ramdisk. That way you can see them in use, but don't have to worry about them persisting on disk.

    But my impression from the responses I have seen is that everyone is very keen to justify the status quo. I'm a bit surprised no one has agreed with me, because my solution (write thumbnails in the appropriate directory) appears to be able to do everything that you guys want but your solution (leave it central and work round it) does not do everything that I want
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
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    Re: Nautilus MASSIVE security fail?

    Quote Originally Posted by jhwoods View Post
    I'm a bit surprised no one has agreed with me,
    Linux is "open source" so our emphasis as a community is not finding one single solution we can all agree on to make everyone happy as a group, but rather giving users the tools they need to become individually happy.

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