Gentoo Archives: gentoo-security

From: Harlan Lieberman-Berg <sysadmin@××××××××××××××××××××××××.com>
To: gentoo-security@l.g.o
Subject: Re: [gentoo-security] Kernel Security + KISS
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2008 18:58:49
Message-Id: 200802201359.55663.sysadmin@tacticalbusinesspartners.com
In Reply to: Re: [gentoo-security] Kernel Security + KISS by Robert Buchholz
On Sunday 17 February 2008 23:12:35 Robert Buchholz wrote:
> On Sunday, 17. February 2008, Eduardo Tongson wrote: > > What specific kernel knowledge is needed to get a Kernel advisory up > > and running ? > > Between becoming aware of a vulnerability in Linux and drafting an advisory > for one or all kernel sources comes the part where you review which > versions of which kernel sources are affected and unaffected. You also > need to pay attention to specifics of the added patchsets, which might > duplicate vulnerabilities. > > Parts of the job can indeed be done without Kernel and C knowledge, but > some cannot. So if we draft a new kernel security *team*, people without C > and kernel knowledge are helpful -- some others need to have it, though. > > Robert
To be honest, 99% of what is done in the kernel security team can be done with no C knowledge at all. I'm not an expert C person - far from it - but I eventually became the head of Kernel Security until I retired a few months ago. Most of it is bug handling. The major problem is a social, not a technical one. Because of the manner in which our kernels are organized, a single vulnerability involves checking upstream version numbers, coordinating them into our downstream version numbers for all sources, checking to see if the sources are effected, figuring out who to CC for the bugs, then harassing them until they do it. Unlike other security sources, any attempt to hardmask the package is shutdown instantly. The chaos that would result from a kernel hardmask, even one of the lesser used ones, caused me to only successfully order one over my entire career in Gentoo Kernsec... even though more around 30 would have been needed. It is not infrequently that bugs will last six months without any action coming about them, and users are blissfully unaware. I am happy to give my input as the former head of Kernel Security, but it is my personal opinion that any advances in kernel security will require the full cooperation of security, and letting the head of kernel security be able to actually enforce threats, as that seems to be the only way bugs ever get resolved. Pleading didn't work - I tried. -Harlan Lieberman-Berg Gentoo Developer Emeritus -- gentoo-security@l.g.o mailing list

Replies

Subject Author
Re: [gentoo-security] Kernel Security + KISS Ned Ludd <solar@g.o>
Re: [gentoo-security] Kernel Security + KISS "C." <cbergstrom@×××××××××.com>