[cryptography] kernel.org hack and kernel integrity

Jeffrey Walton noloader at gmail.com
Fri Sep 2 22:19:50 EDT 2011

Am I the only guy who finds the kernel integrity assurances suspect [1]:

    However, it's also useful to note that the potential damage of cracking
    kernel.org is far less than typical software repositories. That's because
    kernel development takes place using the git distributed revision control
    system, designed by Linus Torvalds. For each of the nearly 40,000 files
    in the Linux kernel, a cryptographically secure SHA-1 hash is calculated
    to uniquely define the exact contents of that file.

I did see the claims that git had security related design goals
(wikipedia). Unfortunately, the wikipedia reference points to a
Torvalds talk at Google where he claims "security is distributed. and
I trust 5, 10, 0r 15 developers [sic]" [2] (among his other ramblings
and bashings). So its not clear to me how Torvalds trust a few people,
therefore integrity is assured. And naively, I would also expect that
the ability to do things like "tweak dates on commits" would help hide
malicious behavior [3].

Could anyone explain git's security assurances to a non-git layman?

[1] http://kernel.org/
[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XpnKHJAok8, 27:43
[3] https://git.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/GitFaq#How_can_I_tweak_the_date_of_a_commit_in_the_repo.3F

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