EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

02.24.14

The Increasing Danger of Back Doors in Standards and Binary Blobs

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 9:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The risk of back doors in GNU/Linux comes not from source code but from blobs, back room deals, the build process, and bogus standards with weaknesses cleverly shoehorned into them

IT HAS BEEN a while since we last wrote about Mr. Srinivasan from Microsoft-Novell. Suffice to say, Novell did a lot for Microsoft and some former staff of Novell continues to work for Microsoft (either directly or indirectly). One gift from Novell to Microsoft was OOXML inside FOSS/OOo. Another was Mono and let’s not forget intrusion into Linux itself. Robert Pogson goes as far as saying that Microsoft “Hacked Linux!”

“My configuration,” Pogson argues, “has CONFIG_HYPERV not set. The code in question is Copyright 2010, Novell (mshyperv.c), and Copyright 2009, M$ (vmbus_drv.c). K. Y. Srinivasan is listed as one of the authours on both. I’m not about to run that other OS on Beast, but thank you, Thomas Gleixner, for fixing things.” (see this link)

Performance issues overlook the much bigger problem — a problem which we addressed several times before. We already know that the NSA is pursuing back doors in Linux [1, 2, 3, 4] and as we pointed out before, the NSA might already have some.

incidentally, as we have shown before, Yahoo was fighting against NSA surveillance in court. When Microsoft took over Yahoo it became apparent that Yahoo stopped fighting and soon became part of PRISM. While some new reports suggest that Yahoo might be ready to escape Microsoft “Yahoo is still in NSA’s pocket though even if they break free of Microsoft,” explains iophk.

Likewise, even if Linux does not engage with Microsoft, the code from Microsoft remains stuck inside Linux and even if there are no back doors in the code itself, this connects to a system, Hyper-V, which is developed by a back doors specialist (Microsoft). There are binary-level back doors from which to access GNU/Linux systems because if the host machine runs Windows, then we already know that the NSA has access. A nearby company that I once visited, UKFast (the UK’s largest ‘cloud’ provider), runs GNU/Linux servers under HyperV, based on what they told me. How insane is that?! GCHO must love it!

Adding to some concerns about back doors, NSA ally and PRISM partner Apple turns out to have hidden a back door. As Think Progress puts it, “Apple quietly released a major update Friday to fix a security glitch in its iOS 7 systems. But independent security experts say the seemingly routine update covers up what arguably could be Apple’s biggest security lapse, exposing iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users to hackers.”

Whether it’s a back door or just direct access does not matter, but it enables Apple to dance around important questions. It works across several Apple platforms, even desktop platforms [1].

As iophk put it, in relation to this other new article [2] “Potential problems with an official back door in HTTP 2.0, though only in a proposed draft so far. But because of the ways certificates are currently (mis-)managed, this kind of interception of HTTPS is already easy.”

“See one example with four steps,” he added, pointing to [3] from the OpenBSD mailing lists.

It’s not as though GNU/Linux is immune to back doors (Debian has some new security advisories [4,5]), but at least with access to source code the back doors remain very shallow and too risky/difficult for malicious/covert entities to hide. It’s when proprietary software gets added that we lose the ability to ascertain security and privacy.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Apple SSL Vulnerability Affects OSX Too
  2. No, I Don’t Trust You! — One of the Most Alarming Internet Proposals I’ve Ever Seen

    If you care about Internet security, especially what we call “end-to-end” security free from easy snooping by ISPs, carriers, or other intermediaries, heads up! You’ll want to pay attention to this.

    You’d think that with so many concerns these days about whether the likes of AT&T, Verizon, and other telecom companies can be trusted not to turn our data over to third parties whom we haven’t authorized, that a plan to formalize a mechanism for ISP and other “man-in-the-middle” snooping would be laughed off the Net.

    But apparently the authors of IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) Internet-Draft “Explicit Trusted Proxy in HTTP/2.0″ (14 Feb 2014) haven’t gotten the message.

    What they propose for the new HTTP/2.0 protocol is nothing short of officially sanctioned snooping.

  3. relayd SSL interception

    This mail includes a quite detailed explanation of the attached diff that adds support for SSL Interception (“SSL-MITM”) to relayd. If you don’t want to read the story, just skip to the configuration example and diff below.

  4. Debian: 2862-1: chromium-browser: Multiple vulnerabilities
  5. Debian: 2861-1: file: denial of service
Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Patents Roundup: Bad Quality (USPTO), Bad Analysis (India), Bad Microsoft, Bad Actors (Trolls), Bad Scope (Software Patents), and the Ugly

    A mishmash of news about patents, mostly regarding the United States, and what can be deduced at the moment



  2. Links 26/6/2016: IceCat 38.8.0, Wine 1.9.13

    Links for the day



  3. With UPC Dead for Battistelli's Entire Remaining Term, No Reason for the EPO or the Administrative Council to Keep Battistelli Around

    Thoughts about what happens to the EPO's leadership after 'Brexit' (British exit from the EU), which severely undermines Battistelli's biggest project that he habitually used to justify his incredible abuses



  4. Links 24/6/2016: Xen Project 4.7, Cinnamon 3.0.6

    Links for the day



  5. Benoît Battistelli Should Resign in Light of New Leak of Decision in His Vendetta Against Truth-Telling Judge (Updated)

    Benoît Battistelli continues to break the EPO's own rules, not just national laws, as a new decision helps reveal



  6. Fake Patents on Software From Fake Australian 'Inventor' of Bitcoin and the Globally-Contagious Nature of EPO Patent Scope

    News from Australia regarding software patents that should not be granted and how patent lawyers from Australia rely on European patent law (EPO and UK-IPO) for guidance on patent scope



  7. Patent Lawyers Love (and Amplify) Halo and Enfish, Omit or Dismiss Cuozzo and Alice

    By misinterpreting the current situation with respect to software patents and misusing terms like "innovation" patent lawyers and others in the patent microcosm hope to convince the public (or potential clients) that nothing in effect has changed and software patents are all fine and dandy



  8. Looks Increasingly Plausible That Battistelli is Covering up Bogus and/or Illegally-Obtained 'Evidence' From the EPO's Investigative Unit

    Why we believe that Benoît Battistelli is growingly desperate to hide evidence of rogue evidence-collecting operations which eventually landed himself -- not the accused -- in a catastrophic situation that can force his resignation



  9. As Decision on the UK's EU Status Looms, EPO Deep in a Crisis of Patent Quality

    Chaotic situation at the EPO and potential changes in the UK cause a great deal of debate about the UPC, which threatens to put the whole or Europe at the mercy of patent trolls from abroad



  10. Another Demonstration by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff on Same Day as Administrative Council's Meeting

    SUEPO (staff union of the EPO) continues to organise staff actions against extraordinary injustice by Benoît Battistelli and his flunkies whom he gave top positions at the EPO



  11. Links 23/6/2016: Red Hat Results, Randa Stories

    Links for the day



  12. Interview With FOSSForce/All Things Free Tech

    New interview with Robin "Roblimo" Miller on behalf of FOSSForce



  13. Links 22/6/2016: PulseAudio 9.0, GNOME 3.21.3 Released

    Links for the day



  14. IP Europe's UPC Lobbying and the EPO Connection

    The loose but seemingly ever-growing connections between AstroTurfing groups like IP Europe (pretending to represent SMEs) and EPO staff which is lobbying-centric



  15. EPO “Recruitment of Brits is Down by 80%”

    Letter says that “recruitment of Brits is down by 80%” and "the EPO lost 7% of UK staff in one year"



  16. The Conspiracy of Patent Lawyers for UPC and Battistelli's Role in Preparing by Firing People

    The parasitic firms that lobby for the UPC and actually create it -- firms like those that pass money to Battistelli's EPO -- are doing exactly the opposite of what Europe needs



  17. Patent Lawyers, Having Lost Much of the Battle for Software Patents in the US, Resort to Harmful Measures and Spin

    A quick glance at how patent lawyers and their lobbyists/advocates have reacted to the latest decision from the US Supreme Court (Justice Breyer)



  18. Links 21/6/2016: Fedora 24 and Point Linux MATE 3.2 Officially Released

    Links for the day



  19. Supreme Court on Cuozzo v Lee Another Major Loss for Software Patents in the United States

    Much-anticipated decision on the Cuozzo v Lee case (at the highest possible level) serves to defend the appeal boards which are eliminating software patents by the thousands



  20. As Alice Turns Two, Bilski Blog Says 36,000 (Software) Patent Applications Have Been Rejected Thanks to It

    A look back at the legacy of Alice v CLS Bank and how it contributed to the demise of software patents in the United States, the birthplace of software patents



  21. EPO Self-Censorship by IP Kat or Just Censorship of Opinions That IP Kat Does Not Share/Accept (Updated)

    ree speech when it's needed the most (EPO scandals) needs to be respected; or why IP Kat shoots itself in the foot and helps the EPO's management by 'sanitising' comments



  22. Caricature: Bygmalion Patent Office

    The latest cartoon regarding Battistelli's European Patent Office



  23. Links 21/6/2016: GNU/Linux in China's HPC, Linux 4.7 RC4

    Links for the day



  24. Under Battistelli's Regime the EPO is a Lawless, Dark Place

    How the EPO's Investigative Unit (IU) and Control Risks Group (CRG), which is connected to the Stasi through Desa, made the EPO virtually indistinguishable from East Germany (coat of arms/emblem above)



  25. New Paper Demonstrates That Unitary Patent (UPC) is Little More Than a Conspiracy of Patent 'Professionals' and Their Self Interest

    Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna's latest paper explains that the UPC “expert teams” are in fact not experts but people who are using the UPC as a Trojan horse by which to promote their business interests and corporate objectives



  26. Money Flying to Private Companies Without Tenders at Battistelli's EPO (by the Tens of Millions!)

    Extravagant and cushy contracts to the tune of tens of millions of Euros are being issued without public scrutiny and without opportunities to competition (few corporations easily score cushy EPO contracts while illusion of tendering persists -- for small jobs only)



  27. Patent Examiners and Insiders Acknowledge Profound Demise in Patent Quality Under Battistelli

    By lowering the quality of patents granted by the European Patent Office Battistelli hopes to create an illusion of success, where success is not measured properly and is assessed by biased firms which he finances



  28. Jericho Systems Threatens Alice, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Threatens the Patent Trial and Appeal (PTAB)

    A look at the two latest threats to those who helped put an end to a lot of (if not most) software patents in the US



  29. How the Halo Electronics Case Helps Patent Trolls and How Publications Funded by Patent Trolls (IAM for Instance) Covered This

    A Supreme Court ruling on patents, its implications for software patent trolls, and how media that is promoting software patents and patent trolls covered it



  30. Patent Lawyers' Fantasy Land Where Software Patents Are Suddenly Resurrected Even When They're Not

    A quick glance at where the debate over software patents in the United States stands and how profiteers (such as patent lawyers) not only mislead the public but also bully the messengers


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts