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Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2024 15:01:31 -0700
From: Andres Freund <>
Subject: Re: Re: backdoor in upstream xz/liblzma leading to
 ssh server compromise


On 2024-03-30 22:46:17 +0100, Axel Beckert wrote:
> On Sat, Mar 30, 2024 at 12:48:50PM -0700, Andres Freund wrote:
> > FWIW, RSA_public_decrypt is reachable, regardless of server configuration,
> > when using certificate based authentication.
>              ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> Wait, do you really mean SSH keys verified by certificates issued by a
> (usually internal, SSH-specific) certificate authority (CA) for a key?
> See e.g.
> what certificate-based authentication in SSH actually means.
> From my experience certificate-based SSH authentication (i.e. those
> algorithms with *-cert-* in their names) is rather rare, while simple
> public key authentication (where you just put your according pubkey
> into .ssh/authorized_keys) is very common.
> Can you clarify if you really meant that solely certificate based
> authentication (with certificates issued by a CA) triggers that code
> path or if you actually meant all sorts of public key based
> authentication in general?

I meant CA based auth - but note that, from what I can tell, you don't need to
have it set up on the server side or anything. You might not even be able to
disable it. If the client sends a signed key, the signature is loaded and
verified before approved algorithms are checked.

This seems suboptimal regardless of the backdoor issue, so I opened an
enhancement request for openssh:

I might be misreading the code around some of the details, but I did
experimentally verify that an rsa signature is verified without CA auth being


Andres Freund

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