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Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2012 11:15:02 -0600
From: Kurt Seifried <>
CC: Tavis Ormandy <>
Subject: Re: Re: Re: CVE request(?): gpg: improper file permssions
 set when en/de-crypting files

Hash: SHA1

On 09/24/2012 02:42 AM, Tavis Ormandy wrote:
> Matthias Weckbecker <> wrote:
>> On Friday 21 September 2012 23:47:48 Michael Gilbert wrote:
>> [...]
>>> So anyway, I suppose this creates more questions than answers,
>>> but I guess its worth thinking about.  After all, what did the
>>> user really expect?  If they had intended that original file to
>>> be private, and now its not, is that appropriate?  Is it more
>>> appropriate to assume all users know how to use umask
>>> appropriately?
>> IMO if one bothers to encrypt a file at all it was certainly
>> intended to be private and only supposed to be readable by a
>> certain user / user group and not by just everyone. Otherwise
>> encryption would be pointless, or are there any other reasons for
>> encrypting a file?
>>> Best wishes, Mike
>> Thanks, Matthias
> I agree. Users do know how to use umask properly, but this isn't
> what umask is for. The umask for the low order bits are only
> applied if the program requested 0666, it's still the
> responsibility of the program to choose the appropriate
> permissions.
> Creating sensitive files with 0666 and then saying "set your umask"
> is just wrong.
> Tavis.

So where do we draw the line? tar? By this definition any program that
has stores sensitive data (passwords/etc.) or has potentially
sensitive output (so email, web clients, chat clients, file
downloaders, text editors, etc.) needs to internally pick some "safe"
default and apply it and/or umask (whichever is more secure I guess).

Personally I think applying file permissions at the program level is
in general (outside of some highly specific instances like encryption
key generation and storage in a file) a very very bad place to do
this. Moving it up a layer to the OS (e.g. umask, home dir
permissions, etc.) makes way more sense I think.

However if people want to go ahead with this then a short list would be:

OpenSSH/any SSH or encrypted connection client
OpenSSL/anything that generates certificates/keys/etc.
GPG/PGP/anything that provides file encryption/decryption
Email clients (email is almost always sensitive, stored passwords/certs)
Web clients (cached web pages are sensitive, stored passwords/certs)
Chat programs (IRC, MSN, etc.) (stored passwords/certs)
Any programs storing financial/accounting data (GnuCash, etc.).
Any programs storing health related data (GnuHealth, etc.).
File editing programs were previously mentioned

I'm sure I've missed a few.

- -- 
Kurt Seifried Red Hat Security Response Team (SRT)
PGP: 0x5E267993 A90B F995 7350 148F 66BF 7554 160D 4553 5E26 7993

Version: GnuPG v1.4.12 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla -


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