Date: Wed, 04 Jun 2008 14:49:47 -0400 From: Nathanael Hoyle <nhoyle@...letech.com> To: oss-security@...ts.openwall.com Subject: Re: OpenSSH key blacklisting The Fungi wrote: > On Wed, Jun 04, 2008 at 11:14:12AM -0400, Nathanael Hoyle wrote: > [...] >> However, the reason debian got into the mess they did in the first >> place with this was specifically because they were trying to >> remove responsibility from the can't-be-bothered users for >> configuration. At one point, nearly all ssh key generation systems >> required the user the type keys 'at random' on the keyboard, >> and/or to move the mouse to generate an entropy pool for a seed >> value for key generation. Because debian performs key-generation >> on first boot in most cases, that early in the startup there might >> not be sufficient entropy in the network traffic for utility. I >> guess they found that users were either incapable of or >> disinclined to participate in the key generation process. > [...] > > Not to be argumentative, but have you installed OpenBSD lately > (effectively the reference platform for OpenSSH development)? For > years, its base install has run sshd by default, generated host keys > at first boot, and not prompted at the console for human interaction > to augment entropy for this process. I find it hard to blame this > *particular* behavior on Debian (unless you're suggesting that they > strong-armed OpenSSH upstream to integrate these changes on their > behalf?). It's been about two years since I have installed OpenBSD. I do not know what entropy pool source OpenBSD uses for initial key generation. It was my understanding that the recently disclosed/discussed issue involved a Debian-specific (and their downstreams, like Ubuntu) decision to utilize the PID of the keygen process to seed the key generation, severely limiting the effective keyspace. If I completely misunderstood this, my apologies to Debian. It was not so much that I was saying that eliminating user interaction was a bad thing (as I think most users can't be bothered to set up a secure system), but that requiring user interaction to set up validation may be a poor choice (as in the case of requiring them to set key authority/revocation servers as the other poster suggested). -Nathanael
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