[Haskell-cafe] Ticking time bomb

Alexander Kjeldaas alexander.kjeldaas at gmail.com
Thu Jan 31 08:49:32 CET 2013

Not to downplay the significance of this issue,  but a primary issue, much
more important is to secure ghc, base, cabal-install, and the build process
for these.
The development process needs to be robust.

That process should include signing commits by *two developers*.  This is
really not a lot of work as a code-review is already done, but more
significantly helps fend off a lot of compromised repository issues.

There are just a few simple rules to follow:  Review the commit on your own
equipment, and sign it.  That way an attacker will have to compromise two
physically different repositories.


This is a change that doesn't need any new development, just a procedure

Wrt Hackage, simply signing packages is going to improve things, but what
would be way more awesome would be to have multiple people sign off on the
difference between two releases.

What I mean is that whenever somebody reviews a new release of some package
(the diff from a previous release), the work they did should ideally be
represented as a signature on that release, or the "commit" that is the
diff between the two releases.  Git can handle this sort of trust issues,
but a simple signature scheme will not.

Now if a large security-conscious corporation starts using packages from
Hackage, they will already have a security team that does code reviews.
 With a simple signature scheme, the output from their security team will
not be possible to use on Hackage.

I for one would be much more likely to trust packages signed by the
signature by someone who has found numerous security flaws in various
packages on Hackage, than some random developer.  One signature might mean
"this is my release, if you trust my machine,repository, +++". Another
signature might mean "the security team of X Corp has done a security
review at level Y.  This is cleared for production use.".  Simply
supporting the first signature is no good.

So if we really want to fix this, I suggest moving a large part of the
trust infrastructure off of hackage and into git or similar systems that
have better support for dealing with trust.


On Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 8:27 PM, Edward Z. Yang <ezyang at mit.edu> wrote:

> https://status.heroku.com/incidents/489
> Unsigned Hackage packages are a ticking time bomb.
> Cheers,
> Edward
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> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
> Haskell-Cafe at haskell.org
> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
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