Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Edge for “Linux” Uses Outdated GPG and Then Configures it to Silence Your Distribution’s Package Security Checks

Reprinted with permission from Ryan

Previously: Bruce Schneier: Microsoft Edge is Apparently a Password Stealer Too, Even on GNU/Linux

Microsoft Edge for “Linux” uses outdated GPG and then configures it to silence your distribution’s package security checks.

I got bored today and decided to look at the RPM package for Microsoft Edge for “Linux”.

If you installed it, it will add a microsoft-edge.repo file in etc/yum.repos.d with the following:


As you can see, Microsoft has essentially bypassed the GPG check by enabling the check, and then instead of installing a package signing key into the RPM database, like well behaved software does, they point it at a Public Key hosted on their server.

The gist of this is that it shuts up the “package is unsigned” warning that prevents tampering, but then provides no assurances that Microsoft Edge updates are actually not tampered with.

If an attacker compromises Microsoft’s server, they could replace the key, then replace Microsoft Edge with a package containing anything (or just add malware to Edge to increase the amount of time before people realized anything was wrong with the package), and it would pass the signature check because DNF would check the URL and find the attacker-modified microsoft.asc Public Key.

Additionally, by following the URL to the Microsoft Public Key block, I noticed that they are using an outdated branch of GPG as well, which dates back to 2004 and is only maintained to address CVEs.

GPG recommends migrating to the current branch (2.3.8 is the latest as of this writing), and Mullvad VPN warns its users not to use the 1.4 branch as well.

Additionally, GPG says that the 1.4 branch is not widely used, so there’s likely fewer people legitimately studying it to fix it, and more likely just attackers looking for slobs that are still using it, like Microsoft.

This should be yet another example of how much Microsoft can be trusted to “secure” your computer.

They can’t even secure their own. They had a couple of major data breaches thanks to misconfiguration of Azure recently, which even BleepingComputer covered.

I hope that if you’re considering putting Microsoft software where it doesn’t belong, on your GNU/Linux system, then witnessing their slovenly practices should give you some second thoughts.

Just this repo alone sets up your GNU/Linux system to be seriously compromised.

The point of installing GPG keys into RPM is so that when there’s a breach of the server, it doesn’t affect users that already have the program and get alerted that there’s an update. A legitimate update which updates RPM with the new GPG key would have to be signed using the old one, meaning that a chain of trust is preserved.

When you point it at a Web site, like Microsoft does, you have no idea what you’ll get.

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