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Date:      Mon, 6 Aug 2018 10:07:14 -0500
From:      Valeri Galtsev <>
To:        Polytropon <>
Cc:        thor <>,
Subject:   Re: Erase memory on shutdown
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <20180805150241.1E186200349F8E@ary.qy> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

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On 08/06/18 08:50, Polytropon wrote:
> On Sun, 5 Aug 2018 21:31:03 -0500 (CDT), Valeri Galtsev wrote:
>> Yes, it was repeated forever that security begins with physical security.
>> And repeating again what my friend likes to say: nothing can stop the guy
>> wit the screwdriver. Not quite true, but pretty close.
> In this context, even encrypted partitions sometimes don't help.
> Things that actually have happened:
> 1.
> A thief stole the server of a small business. They had encryption
> in place, and because their HPC told them that keys should be used,
> they stored keys on a USB stick that was put in the font USB
> connector of the server, because their HPC said it was very
> convenient to do so, as the server found the keys when booting
> and could then enable access to the encrypted disk.
> 2.
> A group of theves stole the whole server rack, including the
> UPS units, attached them to a power generator in their van,
> drove it to the "extraction site" which had regular power,
> re-attached regular power, and copied everything from the
> still running system without being hit by any "please enter
> the password" dialogs.

I like this one. I once had to relocate server into another server room 
in the building next door, and I didn't want to interrupt user 
processes. I put UPS on the cart, had UPS running on its battery, 
reconnected power cords of redundant power supply of the server one at a 
time to UPS, put server on top of UPS, rolled it into another server 
room, and reconnected it back to regular power. Nothing interrupted. 
Active ssh connections hang for few minutes, but none timed out. And 
users didn't know the server was physically moved.


> The guy with the screwdriver usually wins. ;-)

Valeri Galtsev
Sr System Administrator
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics
University of Chicago
Phone: 773-702-4247

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