Backdoor in e107 CMS version 0.7.17
Posted Jan 28, 2010 19:26 UTC (Thu) by njs
In reply to: Backdoor in e107 CMS version 0.7.17
Parent article: Backdoor in e107 CMS version 0.7.17
In principle it could help, but mostly by making it easier to recover after the repository was compromised (which doesn't seem to have happened here in any case). Presumably they would just change the website to say "please upgrade to 1412a4732abc8" or whatever and no-one would notice that either. Signatures could help in principle, but key management and achieving trust is it's own barrel of worms, and these sorts of attacks are surprisingly rare; I'm not sure how much effort it's worth expending to defend against them.
If you *really* want to compromise the users of some project, it's pretty straightforward -- just come up with a plausible pseudonym, and send some legitimate patches that "accidentally" introduce an old-fashioned security bug. All the crypto in the world won't help with that. There are plenty of people you'd expect to be expending real resources on this, too -- militaries, criminals, heck, security researchers (who build their reputation and consulting business through finding bugs). The only reason I can think of that we haven't caught anyone at it yet is that earnest engineers produce enough security holes that people who depend on security holes mostly don't find it worth the bother trying to add more.
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