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Date: Sat, 17 May 2008 20:50:55 +0400
From: Solar Designer <>
Subject: Re: OpenSSH key blacklisting

On Sat, May 17, 2008 at 04:46:30PM +0200, Robert Buchholz wrote:
> On Friday 16 May 2008, Solar Designer wrote:
> > Thanks for the "bug" reference.  FWIW, the shell script in this
> > comment is vulnerable itself, in more than one way:
> >
> >
> >
> > For example, it lets a user have any other user's or root's
> > authorized_keys removed, by replacing .ssh with a symlink to someone
> > else's .ssh directory.
> Do you mean the race condition between finding and removing the key?

Yes, this is what I meant, but it is not the only issue - real or
potential ("unverified", or depending on "unspecified" behavior, which I
wouldn't want my servers' security to depend upon).  Another real but
minor issue is having this script rewind a backup tape or freeze up the
machine (depends on what device files exist).

It is just plain wrong to access users' files like that.

> Do you have a patch to propose, implementing your idea?

Not yet, but we (Openwall) are likely to have a patch within a few days,
and this:

> There has been approval of your idea inside Gentoo's hardened team.

is one of the reasons for us to go for the effort.

We're not quite happy with the existing Debian/Ubuntu patch for other
reasons as well, and doing a thorough security audit of that patch, then
fixing whatever the audit uncovers could be about as time-consuming as
coming up with a new patch.

If other distros are interested, please speak up.

Besides the patch, it is equally important to agree on what keys to have
blacklisted, and to have the blacklist ready.  I think we should have
"source" blacklists, which are per-{arch,key}-type and have 32 hex chars
per entry (no attempt at size reduction yet), so we'll be able to
(re)build the binary files from them.

Right now, there doesn't appear to be a consensus on what key {type,
size} combinations to have in the blacklist yet.  So let's discuss this.

As to arch types, I've been told that Debian only supports le32, le64,
and be32 userlands, so we can safely omit be64.

The PID range can be 2 to 32767.  PID 1 is init.
/proc/sys/kernel/pid_max defaults to 32768, but the highest PID value
specified in there is skipped, at least by current 2.6 kernels (we may
want to double-check this on older kernels).  Of course, this does not
cover custom configs and patched kernels (e.g., some PID randomization
patch could alter the maximum PID value).


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