[linux-elitists] [RANT] Debian the Elitist Distribution?

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Mon Feb 16 00:39:23 PST 2004

Quoting Jim Richardson (warlock@eskimo.com):

> cracking a box and inserting something nasty in the feed, is possible,
> (although it didn't happen with the Debian crack) but if said inserted
> package fails verification by dint of not being correctly signed, you
> are accordingly warned of the problem. Since the Debian key package
> signatures weren't on that machine, no signing could take place based on
> a crack of that machine. 

Even if Debian key package signatures _had_ been on that machine, as
long as they were handled correctly, it's very unlikely that the
integrity of package-checking implemented via the Packages.* and
Release.* files would have been impaired.  There are some single points
of failure on (if memory serves) the ftp-master host, but similar points
requiring protection exist in any and all functionally equivalent
code-signing schemes.

Moreover, a number of the threat models you spoke of, such as MITM, are
effectively excluded by the existing regime.

> Again, I am not claiming that signed packages made a difference in this
> case, but that like many other aspects of security, it's another layer.
> Making it even harder for the "bad guys" to slip one by. 

What I'm saying is that the packages _are_ signed.  You're just not
familiar with the way this particular signing scheme is implemented.

Cheers,                   The cynics among us might say:   "We laugh, 
Rick Moen                 monkeyboys -- Linux IS the mainstream UNIX now!
rick@linuxmafia.com       MuaHaHaHa!" but that would be rude. -- Jim Dennis

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