[arch-dev-public] Can we trust our mirrors?

Jud jud at judfilm.net
Wed Dec 3 22:23:39 EST 2008

On Wed, 3 Dec 2008 19:40:59 -0600
"Dan McGee" <dpmcgee at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 11:06 AM, Aaron Griffin
> <aaronmgriffin at gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Sat, Nov 29, 2008 at 7:48 AM, Pierre Schmitz
> > <pierre at archlinux.de> wrote:
> >> Hi all,
> >>
> >> at first: it is really great that the number of mirrors is
> >> increasing and I am really thankfull to those who provide one.
> >>
> >> The point why I feel more and more uncomfortable is that we have
> >> no way to ensure tat one will get the same file from a mirror as
> >> from archlinux.org. A mirror owner might be a "bad" person
> >> himself, his servers might have weak security, the government of
> >> their home country cannot be trusted, they might sync from another
> >> "bad" mirror. etc...
> >>
> >> Of course since several years demand package signing. I have even
> >> seen some first code, but nothing was ever finished. It should be
> >> clear that something has to be done. Manipulating packages is just
> >> too easy.
> >>
> >> The simplest solution would be if we sign the db files
> >> (automatically) on gerolde. Of course this is less secure than
> >> signing every single package by its packager; but on the other
> >> side it would be easy to implement and there would be no overhead
> >> for packagers. I am aware that this method would only ensure that
> >> packages on a mirror are the same as on gerolde; if our server
> >> gets "hacked" we would have lost. But this should be fine and is
> >> far more better than just nothing and hoping that there are no
> >> "bad guys" out there.
> >>
> >> Gerhard has written a small patch as a proof of concept. Ignore
> >> the details at this point. The idea is as follows:
> >> 1) patch repo-add in order to create a .sig file everytime the db
> >> file will be changed. For this a private key readable by every dev
> >> or just sudo can be used
> >> 2) use this version of repo-add on gerolde. So we'll have the
> >> sinatures propagated to our mirrors.
> >> 3) For testing the whole thing one could just write a small
> >> download script which checks the signatures of db files. (Abusing
> >> the XferCommand statement in pacman.conf)
> >> 4) If all went well we could think about a build-in check in
> >> pacman itself. (we might be able to reuse some code here that was
> >> written for package signing)
> >> 5) Enable those checks by default for all official repos
> >> 6) The public key should not be in a package but people have to
> >> get it from our website.
> >>
> >> What do you think about this? Step 1 to 3 could be implemented in
> >> a rather short time.
> >>
> >> Pierre
> >
> > There's too much talk on this idea. Before we go ahead and do this,
> > could someone submit this patch to the pacman-dev list, so the
> > pacman developers can give it a once-over. Just make sure to let
> > them know that this is a temporary solution.
> >
> > Additionally - where will gpg get the key from on gerolde? Shouldn't
> > this be configurable, or even set via an optarg to the -s param?
> Yee ha! This one got a bit crazy, didn't it? I decided to let it
> simmer here until it calmed down enough that my thoughts wouldn't get
> lost in the mix.
> First off- stop talking. Start coding. So far, Gerhard has stepped up
> to the plate on this thread (thanks!), and Geoffroy Carrier has
> stepped up in the past to start the ball rolling. I'm sick of all this
> "we need to do this" and not a single person following through with
> it.
> Geoffroy Carrier made the biggest push yet in the right direction.
> This is the best solution I see to this problem and is the one I am
> willing to put some effort behind. As a matter of fact, we have put
> effort behind it:
> http://code.toofishes.net/gitweb.cgi?p=pacman.git;a=shortlog;h=refs/heads/gpg
> So what is the idea here? Signed *packages*. Why?
> 1. They are super easy to either leave detached from the package, or
> integrate right into package databases. This work is already done:
> Add GPG signature support to makepkg -
> http://code.toofishes.net/gitweb.cgi?p=pacman.git;a=commitdiff;h=0bf6375e31ac70013343bb5c1a5b8309c3d03f4f
> Add PGPSIG field in repo-add -
> http://code.toofishes.net/gitweb.cgi?p=pacman.git;a=commitdiff;h=7e86019e35231ce5aed9ba7ce7ca4b5865baee68
> 2. Signed packages mean I, as an Arch developer, do not have to sign
> off on Aaron's or Paul's or Dale's work. I sign off on my *own* work.
> When Paul (sorry Paul!) decides to go rogue, we drop his signature
> from the "accepted" keyring (or alternatively, revoke some signature
> on his key or something) that makes his key no longer a valid signing
> key for official Arch packages. We can still trust all the other
> packages in the repositories.
> 3. Signing databases still makes md5sums a weak point, for all those
> worried about that. Signing packages mean we don't even have to touch
> the md5sum stuff, which is great from the pacman perspective.
> (Remember: the purpose of md5sums is a download sanity check, not a
> security check.)
> 4. Joe user can sign individual packages if he wants, and we have a
> framework in place to honor those signatures and verify them.
> So where do we stand on all of this? As I showed above, the makepkg
> and repo-add pieces are pretty much in place. We've done a decent
> amount of work on the libalpm/pacman side of things, but it isn't
> complete yet and is very rough around the edges. This is something
> that is very doable if people want to jump in and help us get this
> done. Obviously knowledge of C would be helpful, but we can always use
> some beta testers to help us work out kinks if necessary.
> This feature request (http://bugs.archlinux.org/task/5331) is quite
> out of date, but we can use it to start tracking things dealing with
> signed packages. There have also been numerous discussions on the
> pacman-dev ML about this stuff (Notably in June,
> http://archlinux.org/pipermail/pacman-dev/2008-June/thread.html).
> So who is willing to help? If we can get this done, pacman 3.3 can go
> out the door with signing support as soon as this is done.
> -Dan

This is good news, I'll gladly help beta test.

More information about the arch-dev-public mailing list