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Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2013 15:40:46 +0200
From: nicolas vigier <>
Subject: Re: upstream source code authenticity checking

On Thu, 25 Apr 2013, Alistair Crooks wrote:

> Q4. where's the public key for this?
> A4. could be anywhere. If it's on one of the HKP servers, then cool.
> Not, however, that it can be verified - I know of at least one person
> who has had pubkey information uploaded to the key servers for a key
> he had no knowledge about. Anyone can put whatever email address into
> the userid that they want. If it came with the tarball, ho hum.

Even if the key comes with the tarball, if the tarball is always signed
with the same key for all releases, then it's useful. You download the
key the first time, keep it somewhere (for instance in the package
source) and use it again to check next releases. And if a new release is
signed with a different key you know you need to be more careful and
can check if the key change is legitimate.

> Q5. what was signed?
> A5.  if it comes out as a text document, according to RFC 4880, it has
> some weird properties; hopefully all tar files will be binary. 
> Whatever, what was signed was something with the same digest as the
> tarball.  Default algorithm is SHA1.  Second pre-image attacks on SHA1
> are getting closer to being possible, and there are means to modify
> entries in the tarball so that an attack is much easier.
> Q6. Is this a DSA key?  (DSA keys rely on good entropy at signing
> time) If so, how good was the entropy on the machine used to generate
> the signature?
> A6.  Again, unknown.
> Q7. Has someone found the k value for Q6/A6 previously?
> A7. They might have done. We'd only know if they told us.

Same could be said about ssh, tls or almost anything using cryptography ...

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