Trying to understand Cecil-IDs

I was an active user of this newsgroup server a couple or so years ago. 
  Coming back, I see that it will soon be necessary to use a "Cecil-ID" 
to post messages.  I understand how to set the user name and password in 
my NNTP client, but I'd like to understand the Cecil-ID itself more. 
Searching on Google wasn't of any help, unfortunately (although judging 
by what CECIL is an acronym for, this is probably an SGI (Steve Gibson 
Innovation)).  Looking on the GRC website, I read "You choose a secret, 
Private Pass Phrase (of any convenient length) which is never revealed 
to anyone. A cryptographic hash algorithm (SHA1) converts your secret 
phrase into a 32-character public Cecil-ID."  First of all, in two test 
posts where I've been assigned two different Cecil-IDs, both were of 
27-character length, which doesn't seem to coincide with what Steve 
mentions on his site.  Secondly, from what I understand, an SHA1 hash is 
20-bytes (or 40 hexadecimal characters).  Now assuming the Cecil-ID I 
was assigned is actually a Base64-encoded string, decoding that string 
gives 20 bytes of data.  However, those 20 bytes of data do not coincide 
with any SHA1 hash I can generate of:
- My pass phrase
- The pass phrase with a carriage return and/or line-feed appended to 
the end
- My pass phrase repeated once (as in a password appended to a user name)
- The user name and password with any combination of carriage returns 
and/or line-feeds at the end of both.

Am I misunderstanding something or missing something?  Can anyone shed 
some light on this for me?
0
badc0ded
12/23/2004 9:42:00 AM
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In grc.techtalk badc0ded wrote:

> I was an active user of this newsgroup server a couple or so years
> ago. 
>   Coming back, I see that it will soon be necessary to use a
>   "Cecil-ID" 
> to post messages.  I understand how to set the user name and
> password in my NNTP client, but I'd like to understand the
> Cecil-ID itself more. Searching on Google wasn't of any help,
> unfortunately (although judging by what CECIL is an acronym for,
> this is probably an SGI (Steve Gibson Innovation)).  Looking on

Correct.  It is both proprietary and limited to the GRC news server.  
Further, the details of the hashing are also proprietary and 
unpublished.  Steve is unlikely to ever provide intimate details IMO.

> the GRC website, I read "You choose a secret, Private Pass Phrase
> (of any convenient length) which is never revealed to anyone. A

Without looking I suspect this is yet another out-of-date page 
possibly describing an earier version of CECIL.  Today's CECIL is 
actually CECIL III (3) and the practical end-user instruction can be 
found at  http://www.imilly.com/noregrets.htm#cancel

The actual generated CECIL-ID is what is found in the "Poster"" 
header of an authenticated user's post and is 28 characters in 
length.  The "CECIL System" (or "No Regrets" as it is sometimes 
called) provides for *up to* a 30 character string to be used locally 
in the reader's newsclient for both the "name" and "passphrase" 
fields.

Hope that helps some.  Use the imilly pages!  ;-)


-- 
GRC Newsgroups/Guides:  http://www.imilly.com/noregrets.htm#contents
http://www.grc.com/discussions.htm
0
Mark
12/23/2004 9:29:00 AM
In grc.techtalk badc0ded wrote:

> I'm going to go out on a limb and say I think you're wrong. 

It would not be the first time!  :-)

> Perhaps you could help me test my theory?  It seems my previous
> evaluation may have been a little off.  I started a new thread
> with subject "Cecil Test" on the grc.test newsgroup.  Perhaps,

See you there.
0
Mark
12/23/2004 11:03:00 AM
In grc.techtalk Mark V wrote:

> In grc.techtalk badc0ded wrote:
> 
>> I was an active user of this newsgroup server a couple or so
>> years ago. 

[  big snip ]

> The actual generated CECIL-ID is what is found in the "Poster"" 
> header of an authenticated user's post and is 28 characters in 
> length.  

Correction:
 Depending on how one defines the CEDIL-ID string, its length 
(currently) is either 27 or 29 characters.
0
Mark
12/23/2004 11:12:00 AM
In article <cqe8tq$12in$1@news.grc.com>, feeefeee@baadf00d.deadbeef 
says...
> Hhmm, I don't see a post yet.
> 
> Mark V wrote:
> > In grc.techtalk badc0ded wrote:
> [...]
> > See you there.
> 
> 
Is your clock a bit off, or the wrong rime zone maybe?

-- 
Jaap
0
Jaapvs
12/23/2004 11:40:00 AM
Yes.  Mark caught this and I fixed it.

[Original response]
Yikes, quite strange.  I have the PDC on my network sync with an atomic 
clock server, and it's synchronized well.  As part of my domain policy, 
I have all networked computers synchronize with the PDC (using 'net 
time'), but for some reason, both the time-zone and current time were 
off on this PC.  Testing it now, I'm getting the error "Could not locate 
a time-server."  I'll have to look into that.  Thanks for the catch.

[My follow-up to my own reply]
Adding a static IP (previously no IP or hostname was used in executing 
'net time') in my usage of 'net time' solved that problem.  Again, 
thanks for the catch.

Jaapvs wrote:
> In article <cqe8tq$12in$1@news.grc.com>, feeefeee@baadf00d.deadbeef 
> says...
> 
>>Hhmm, I don't see a post yet.
>>
>>Mark V wrote:
>>
>>>In grc.techtalk badc0ded wrote:
>>
>>[...]
>>
>>>See you there.
>>
>>
> Is your clock a bit off, or the wrong rime zone maybe?
> 
0
badc0ded
12/23/2004 11:48:00 AM
In article <cqeb9m$145r$3@news.grc.com>, feeefeee@baadf00d.deadbeef 
says...
[]
> [My follow-up to my own reply]
> Adding a static IP (previously no IP or hostname was used in executing 
> 'net time') in my usage of 'net time' solved that problem.  Again, 
> thanks for the catch.
[]

YW

-- 
Jaap
0
Jaapvs
12/23/2004 12:01:00 PM
The conclusion of the test indicates that I was right.  This means that 
weak passwords (which can be found in a 'dictionary' (not necessarily on 
the lines of a Merriam Webster release)) or short passwords hashed and 
converted to a Cecil-ID can be easily compromised.  Taking advantage of 
that supposed 30-character limit, as Mark does, is a good idea/practice.

badc0ded wrote:
> I'm going to go out on a limb and say I think you're wrong.  Perhaps you 
> could help me test my theory?  It seems my previous evaluation may have 
> been a little off.  I started a new thread with subject "Cecil Test" on 
> the grc.test newsgroup.  Perhaps, when logged in with a 5-digit number 
> as your user name and password, you could post under that thread?
[...]
0
badc0ded
12/23/2004 12:14:00 PM
I'm going to go out on a limb and say I think you're wrong.  Perhaps you 
could help me test my theory?  It seems my previous evaluation may have 
been a little off.  I started a new thread with subject "Cecil Test" on 
the grc.test newsgroup.  Perhaps, when logged in with a 5-digit number 
as your user name and password, you could post under that thread?

Mark V wrote:
[...]
It is both proprietary and limited to the GRC news server.
> Further, the details of the hashing are also proprietary and 
> unpublished.
[...]
0
badc0ded
12/23/2004 12:47:00 PM
Hhmm, I don't see a post yet.

Mark V wrote:
> In grc.techtalk badc0ded wrote:
[...]
> See you there.
0
badc0ded
12/23/2004 1:09:00 PM
In grc.techtalk badc0ded wrote:

> The conclusion of the test indicates that I was right.  This means
> that weak passwords (which can be found in a 'dictionary' (not
> necessarily on the lines of a Merriam Webster release)) or short
> passwords hashed and converted to a Cecil-ID can be easily
> compromised.  Taking advantage of that supposed 30-character
> limit, as Mark does, is a good idea/practice. 
> 
[ ]

Perhaps Milly will consider rephrasing or expanding the instruction in 
the interest of better security.

http://www.imilly.com/noregrets.htm#contents
0
Mark
12/23/2004 3:20:00 PM
Mark V said in:<news:Xns95C869444889Az9zzaQ2btw@news.grc.com>:
> In grc.techtalk badc0ded wrote:
>> The conclusion of the test indicates that I was right.  This means
>> that weak passwords (which can be found in a 'dictionary' (not
>> necessarily on the lines of a Merriam Webster release)) or short
>> passwords hashed and converted to a Cecil-ID can be easily
>> compromised.  Taking advantage of that supposed 30-character
>> limit, as Mark does, is a good idea/practice. 
>> 
> [ ]
> Perhaps Milly will consider rephrasing or expanding the instruction in 
> the interest of better security.
> 
> http://www.imilly.com/noregrets.htm#contents

Hmm. I see Steve has responded in .test (excerpted below for
posterity and linking). 

My page's relevant bits are compiled either from Steve's original
page, or (where needed re the newer system) from his newsgroup
posts. But I've tweaked it a bit, as a temporary measure until Steve
writes up the new instructions anyway.

This section :-

http://www.imilly.com/noregrets.htm#passphrase

 ... is now referenced also at :-

http://www.imilly.com/noregrets.htm#logon_required

http://www.imilly.com/noregrets.htm#CECIL-ID:

,------------ [quote] 
  Steve Gibson said in:<news:cqeq3v$14ac$28@news.grc.com>:
  > [for the unabridged version, see badc0ded's post above]
  > 
  >> I would interpret the usage of a 160-bit one-way hashing
  >> algorithm to mean that security was at least intentionally
  >> part of the system.  After all, this was implemented by a
  >> person who goes so far as to include self-integrity checking
  >> code in freeware (which happens to be about as small and
  >> simple as it gets, when it comes to applications like "Shoot 
  >> The Messenger") that he releases to the public.
  > 
  > Indeed.  The extremely high security inherent in the Cecil-ID 
  > system, thanks to its use of a cryptographically secure one-way 
  > hash, is "available" to everyone who wants it ... simply by using 
  > a long and unlikely to be guessed password.
  > 
  > But if someone wants to use "0" as their password and username, 
  > then tell everyone that they used a single digit as their Cecil-ID 
  > key ... well ... that won't be very secure REGARDLESS of the 
  > technology employed to process the "digit" chosen by the user.  :)
'-------- [end quote]


,------------ [quote] 
  Steve Gibson said in:<news:cqeps4$14ac$27@news.grc.com>:
  > [for the unabridged version, see badc0ded's post above]
  > 
  >> Nah, it's nothing Steve isn't aware about.  He knows the extent
  >> of the security of his Cecil-ID and knows that weak passwords can
  >> be easily cracked via dictionary or brute-force attacks.  Perhaps
  >> he should better word his site, though, discouraging short
  >> passwords, not just common passwords.
  > 
  > Right.  In any system that's password-based, short passwords with 
  > known small character sets -- especially known length and small 
  > character sets like "five chars all digits" are easily "cracked" 
  > simply by guessing all of the small number of possibilities.
'-------- [end quote]


Thanks badc0ded and Mark.
-- 

Milly
0
Milly
12/23/2004 10:11:00 PM
Milly said in:<news:1e9ip2h51bx5v.dlg@0O.0O>:
> Mark V said in:<news:Xns95C869444889Az9zzaQ2btw@news.grc.com>:
>> In grc.techtalk badc0ded wrote:
> [...]
> This section :-
> 
> http://www.imilly.com/noregrets.htm#passphrase
> 
>  ... is now referenced also at :-
> 
> http://www.imilly.com/noregrets.htm#logon_required
> 
> http://www.imilly.com/noregrets.htm#CECIL-ID:

http://www.imilly.com/noregrets.htm#CECIL-ID

 ... no colon.
-- 

Milly
0
Milly
12/23/2004 10:15:00 PM
In grc.techtalk Milly wrote:

> Mark V said in:<news:Xns95C869444889Az9zzaQ2btw@news.grc.com>:
>> In grc.techtalk badc0ded wrote:
>>> The conclusion of the test indicates that I was right.  This
[ ]

>> Perhaps Milly will consider rephrasing or expanding the
>> instruction in the interest of better security.
[ ]

> Hmm. I see Steve has responded in .test (excerpted below for
> posterity and linking). 

I should have include it here, but somehow figured you'd find it. <G>

> My page's relevant bits are compiled either from Steve's original
> page, or (where needed re the newer system) from his newsgroup
> posts. But I've tweaked it a bit, 

[ snip ]

"they have NO WAY of generating and mimicking your Cecil-ID which 
appears in the "Poster" header, providing you choose a suitably long 
and good passphrase."  (site quote)

As recently discussed the "NO WAY" is in my opinion too absolute.  If 
that is a SG quote, then Steve may need to post a rephrasing you can 
use.  Because "suitably long and good passphrase" may be selected 
poorly by newer users.  Such as "OverTheRiverAndThroughTheWoods" may 
*seem* like a good one to a user unfamiliar with sound phrase creation 
rules and dictionary attacks.  And given enough time and CPU cycles...

OTOH I say again, this CECIL thing is not in the same ballpark with 
Electronic Funds Transfer (which BTW typically permits *less* 
secure/complex passphrases), Swiss bank account access, nor Keys to the 
Kingdom.  <G>

[ ]
0
Mark
12/24/2004 7:30:00 AM
Mark V wrote:
> Without looking I suspect this is yet another out-of-date page 
> possibly describing an earier version of CECIL.  Today's CECIL is 
> actually CECIL III (3) and the practical end-user instruction can be 
> found at  http://www.imilly.com/noregrets.htm#cancel
> 
> Hope that helps some.  Use the imilly pages!  ;-)

Is there a problem with www.imilly.com today?  I stumbled over a couple 
of mentions of cecil, and now that I've pretty much recovered from my 
drive loss, I thought I'd get a new cecil ID (and hopefully never regret 
any of my previous ID'd posts).

But although I can occasionally get to some of the imilly pages, I 
definitely can't get to the noregrets one, and the others are acting 
quite flakey.  Initially I was getting blank pages, was being routed to 
pages I wasn't aware I had requested (pages that obviously weren't milly 
pages), etc.  Its also going off to never-never land, never timing out, 
but perpetually cycling as if there is something there, but not 
delivering content.  I restarted the browser and have no cache.

Anyone else having trouble?

Jim B.
0
Jim
1/29/2005 5:45:40 PM
Wandering aimlessly about grc.techtalk, I heard Jim B. say:

> Is there a problem with www.imilly.com today?  I stumbled over a couple 
> of mentions of cecil, and now that I've pretty much recovered from my 
> drive loss, I thought I'd get a new cecil ID (and hopefully never regret 
> any of my previous ID'd posts).
[...]

I've just tried it several times from here with no problem. A local DNS
glitch on your end perhaps?

If you need some assistance in setting up your CECIL-ID though, post a
sort note grc.test and I'll see what I can do to assist...

-- 
Dutch

GRC Newsgroups/Guidelines/No Regrets
http://client.grc.com/news.exe?cmd=article&group=grc.techtalk&item=124863
0
Dutch
1/29/2005 6:14:16 PM
Dutch wrote:
> If you need some assistance in setting up your CECIL-ID though, post a
> sort note grc.test and I'll see what I can do to assist...

Thanks!  I haven't tried yet.  I knew and had a cecil ID, but its been a
while, and I don't even recall the process.

But the milly pages seem to be a single source for information (well,
thats where everyone points), and since I can't get there, I can't find
out how to proceed.

I'm betting there are instructions in the newsgroup, once Steve finishes
his indexer.  Till then...

I have absolutely no doubt that the problem is on this end somewhere.  I
just read that Comcast is starting to migrate their servers from the
decommissioned attbi hierarchy to the comcast hierarchy.  I'm betting I
have some DNS server names hard coded somewhere on my WLAN that aren't
valid anymore.

I'll find them eventually, but as for now, even as I type, the link to
milly's page (on the page at the bottom of your post) has been
"spinning" for over five minutes, not timing out, and not finding
anything even remotely indicative of a site on the other end.

I've seen many, many timeouts before, but I've just not seen it hand
like this.

Since you can reach the site though, its obviously local.

Jim B.

[P.S. On a hunch, I just logged in to my router, and I had some old DNS 
settings there.  I cleared them, dropped my lease, renewed it, and 
restarted my browser, and I can get to Milly's page.  Thanks!]
0
Jim
1/29/2005 6:45:26 PM
Wandering aimlessly about grc.techtalk, I heard Jim B. say:

> Dutch wrote:
>> If you need some assistance in setting up your CECIL-ID though, post a
>> sort note grc.test and I'll see what I can do to assist...
> 
> Thanks!  I haven't tried yet.  I knew and had a cecil ID, but its been a
> while, and I don't even recall the process.
[...]
> [P.S. On a hunch, I just logged in to my router, and I had some old DNS 
> settings there.  I cleared them, dropped my lease, renewed it, and 
> restarted my browser, and I can get to Milly's page.  Thanks!]

Ah! You should be ok from there then. Drop down to "test" to check it
out...

-- 
Dutch

GRC Newsgroups/Guidelines/No Regrets
http://client.grc.com/news.exe?cmd=article&group=grc.techtalk&item=124863
0
Dutch
1/29/2005 6:57:57 PM
Jim B. said in:<news:ctglk4$nni$1@news.grc.com>:
> Dutch wrote:
> [...]
> [P.S. On a hunch, I just logged in to my router, and I had some old DNS 
> settings there.  I cleared them, dropped my lease, renewed it, and 
> restarted my browser, and I can get to Milly's page.  Thanks!]

I think my host is reasonably reliable, but if in future you have
similar difficulties (wherever they may be), you can just Google
on  noregrets  :-

http://www.google.com/search?q=noregrets

Then hit the "Cached" link from the top result.
-- 

Milly
0
Milly
1/30/2005 1:01:03 PM
Milly wrote:
> I think my host is reasonably reliable, but if in future you have
> similar difficulties (wherever they may be), you can just Google
> on  noregrets  :-
> 
> http://www.google.com/search?q=noregrets
> 
> Then hit the "Cached" link from the top result.

Oh yeah!  I haven't used that in a while.  Thanks for the reminder!

Jim B.

(P.S.  Thanks for your web site - great stuff!)
0
Jim
1/30/2005 9:45:13 PM
Reply:

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Facebook PMD Gigya releases Consumer Insights to better understand user identities
... allows marketers to easily query Gigya’s Identity Storage database and tie identity information with key performance indicators to understand ...

Genius by Rap Genius — Search and understand the meaning of song lyrics, poetry, literature, and news ...
Get Genius by Rap Genius — Search and understand the meaning of song lyrics, poetry, literature, and news on the App Store. See screenshots and ...

All sizes - Understand Abundance & Breath - Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Flickr is almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world. Show off your favorite photos and videos to ...

Kate Micucci & Tony Thaxton - "Puppets Understand" - YouTube
Subscribe for more Nerdist Presents: http://nerdi.st/subscribe Written and Performed by KATE MICUCCI & TONY THAXTON Watch Duo: http://youtu.be/Tj5RLliHNMQ ...

Scientists continue search to understand Mers
The Mers coronavirus continues to confound scientists. To better understand the disease and determine where it comes from, a new project set ...

Explainer Video of the Day: Author John Green Helps You Understand Boko Haram
... in the news, but the situation in Nigeria with the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram often gets overlooked and can be difficult to understand. ...

The Aussie rules love affair and one who can't understand it
Football (the AFL variety) and I have always had a tumultuous relationship. I've never really understood its allure, but it's always been there, ...

14 Accounting Terms Everyone In Small Business Needs To Understand
Like any profession, accounting has what seems to be impenetrable jargon to outsiders. But, also like most professions, the jargon is just shorthand ...

Tony Abbott doesn't understand the China challenge
The Australian government's new attitude towards China's foreign policy underestimates that country's determination to change the geopolitical ...

Resources last updated: 11/23/2015 11:51:25 AM