[cryptography] Fwd: [gsc] Fwd: OpenBSD IPSEC backdoor(s)

Alfonso De Gregorio adg at crypto.lo.gy
Wed Dec 15 07:21:32 EST 2010

On Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 4:11 AM, Rayservers <support at rayservers.com> wrote:
> Moral: never depend on only one network security layer, and write and verify
> your own crypto. Recall Debian and OpenSSL.

A cautionary word about the risks of software monoculture and the
importance of diversity and depth of defense for the resilience to
security failures is something I share.

That said, I would not recommend people to write their own crypto, as
cryptography is hard enough to foster any kind of fault, glitch or
defect. In turn, this may leads to incidents that promise to be no
less severe than those arising from a backdoor in OpenBSD IPSec stack,
if any.

The security of our software needs the right incentives and sound
engineering practices. Our implementations can be only as
heterogeneous as the interoperability allows it to be - as a matter of
fact, in an information economy driven by economics of networks, an
inescapable tension exists between benefiting from positive network
externalities and addressing the information security risks.

Hence, the claimed backdoor, or a key-leaking mechanism (depending on
its exact nature, that we still do not know...), is something that
might expose the confidentiality of all our virtual (or virtually)
private networks that need to interoperate with OpenBSD, and not only
those deploying only OpenBSD machines.

Today, code audit is needed even more than before.

Alfonso De Gregorio,   blogs at http://Plaintext.crypto.lo.gy

BeeWise, Security Event Futures - http://beewise.org/

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