hackage, cabal-get, and security
ijones at syntaxpolice.org
Tue May 17 01:53:24 EDT 2005
At the request of Dominic Steinitz, I'll outline the threats that I
think this proposal protects against.
The signing of packages prevents a number of attacks between the
packager and the server:
1) Accidentally or purposely hijacking a package that is signed by
(belongs to) someone else.
2) Uploading a malicious package to replace someone else's good
3) Man-in-the-middle attcks between the packager and Hackage.
Checking signatures on the client side prevents:
1) Man-in-the-middle attcks between hackage and the client
2) Automatic installation of anonymous malicious packages
Building a trusted network of keys prevents:
1) Someone creating a key pretending to be someone else
2) Unchecked anonymous uploads (running arbitrary code from an unknown
One question that comes up is: how does the so-called "web of trust"
help out with this situation? The signing of keys ties the identity
of an individual (via their state-issued identification) to a
particular key. Now if someone attempts one of the above attacks,
after being "trusted" we know who they are in real life. So it's not
really a "web of trust" but more like a "web of identity". We will
need to put procedures in place for handling a variety of situations,
like loss of trust, etc.
This proposal doesn't cover all of that, but it puts a bit of
structure into place to raise the bar for an attacker sufficiently
high in my opinion, and gives the end-users the tools they need to be
as paranoid as they care to be.
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