Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Debian addresses security concerns

Filed under

The organization's security team has issued a host of announcements and informed the community it has resolved problems with the infrastructure governing security updates.

"There were several issues with the security infrastructure after the release of Sarge [aka Debian 3.1] that led to the Debian security team being unable to issue updates to vulnerable packages. These issues have been fully resolved, and the infrastructure is working correctly again," it said in a statement issued this afternoon.

Debian's elected leader Branden Robinson yesterday flagged an inquiry into the processes by which security updates are released, citing a potential lack of transparency and communication failures.

It was also an appropriate time to add new members to Debian's security team, as several have been inactive for a while, Robinson said in an e-mail to developers. He admitted the organisation had been "sluggish" in the area recently and said the focus would now be on ensuring Debian was not plagued with such problems again.

He said an inquiry -- to be conducted by developer Andreas Barth -- would allow the organisation to attack weak points.

"One thing I'd like to see is better documentation of the internal workings of the security update process," he wrote. "With a broader understanding of the security workflow, I'm hopeful that people will be less likely to draw erroneous inferences about what the causes of problems are, and more likely to make offers of assistance that prove fruitful."

Robinson said he expects to spend a lot of time talking about the security issue to Debian developers and representatives of the user community at the upcoming sixth annual Debian developer conference on July 10 in Helsinki, Finland.

"Many people have stepped forward in public or in private to offer us assistance with ensuring that this problem does not recur," he said, "and that Debian upholds its valuable reputation as a consistent provider of timely security updates to its users."

"I regret the interruption of this service, but with so many people determined to apply their skills to this facet of our responsibilities, I'm confident that we can prevent its recurrence."

Robinson said after "extensive conversations with many people", he suspected two factors were at the heart of Debian's security woes.

Firstly, he said the security team had not been given enough manpower to deal with the demands being placed on it. In addition, there was a failure in the process of actually distributing security updates that were ready to go out.

In the statement issued this afternoon, Debian warned users against installing packages from the "sarge-proposed-updates" suite, as some Web sites had been advocating as a temporary fix before official updates became available.

"Those packages are currently under development and may not work properly," the statement said. "In addition, those packages may not provide users with timely security fixes."

By Renai LeMay
ZDNet Australia

More in Tux Machines

6 smart settings to make your Android phone anticipate your needs

There's no denying that our smartphones have made our lives so much easier, putting our contacts and schedules, our driving directions, the whole internet, right at our fingertips. But if you're using an Android phone you might be leaving even more convenience on the table. There are a bunch of super-smart settings in Nougat and Google Now that’ll make your Android device feel like it’s 10 steps ahead of you. Your Android phone can be proactively telling you how long it’ll take to get to work in the morning, and nudging you when your favorite team is about to take the field. Your device can keep itself unlocked whenever it’s on you, and those snapshots you just took can automatically be arranged into beautiful collages. Battery running low? Android can know to dial down background activity to keep your phone alive. And if you love the idea of asking Google questions without ever touching your phone, you can train your phone to do that, too. Read more

Android and Tizen Leftovers

Update: Convictions Upheld, Sentences Extended In Romanian Microsoft Bribery Trial

According to the blog post, the trial ended on October 3rd, and investigators found that more than 100 people, including former ministers, the mayor of Bucharest, and various businessmen were involved in this latest corruption scandal involving Microsoft. More than 20 million euros were paid by Microsoft there as bribes. [...] These bribery convictions are just the tip of the iceberg. Multiple news outlets are reporting on investigations of bribery in other countries as well as separate investigations by the US Department of Justice and the US Securities And Exchange Commission. Read more

Red Hat News