Unsafe at any clock speed: Linux kernel security needs a rethink
The Linux kernel today faces an unprecedented safety crisis. Much like when Ralph Nader famously told the American public that their cars were "unsafe at any speed" back in 1965, numerous security developers told the 2016 Linux Security Summit in Toronto that the operating system needs a total rethink to keep it fit for purpose.
No longer the niche concern of years past, Linux today underpins the server farms that run the cloud, more than a billion Android phones, and not to mention the coming tsunami of grossly insecure devices that will be hitched to the Internet of Things. Today's world runs on Linux, and the security of its kernel is a single point of failure that will affect the safety and well-being of almost every human being on the planet in one way or another.
Linux Foundation and Linux
ON.Lab’s ONOS Project noted its eighth SDN platform release expands southbound and northbound protocol, legacy device support
The telecommunications market’s choice of software-defined networking platforms continues to blossom, with the Open Networking Laboratory’s Open Network Operating System Project releasing its latest SDN platform variant under the “Hummingbird” tag.
OPNFV today issued its third software release, ending the agonizing six-month period in which folks had to pronounce and spell Brahmaputra. (See OPNFV Issues Third Software Release.)
This latest release continues the river theme but is sensibly named Colorado: It has other advantages as well, namely support for key features such as security, IPv6, service function chaining (SFC) testing, virtual private networks and more.
In addition, Colorado is laying some key groundwork for what lies ahead as the industry comes to terms with the MANO (management and network orchestration) dilemma, says Heather Kirksey, Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. 's executive director.
With AMD's forthcoming Zen processors is support for some new memory encryption technologies that are of particular benefit for virtualized environments.
I wrote about Linux patches for AMD memory encryption earlier this year while since then more information has come to light. At last month's Linux Security Summit, David Kaplan presented on these technologies coming with Zen; only today I had come across the slide deck for this presentation.
The technologies come down to Secure Memory Encryption (SME) and Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV). SME provides memory encryption on a per-page-table basis using AMD's ARM-based security co-processor. AMD SME + SEV are designed against both user-access attacks and physical access attacks with a particular focus on VM / hypervisor security.
Fuzz testing (or fuzzing) is a software testing technique that involves passing invalid or random data to a program and observing the results, such as crashes or other failures. Bamvor Jian Zhang of Huawei, who will be speaking at LinuxCon Europe, realized that existing fuzz testing tools -- such as trinity -- can generate random or boundary values for syscall parameters and inject them into the kernel, but they don’t validate whether the results of those syscalls are correct.
While GLAMOR has already been around for a number of years as a means of providing generic X11 2D acceleration over OpenGL for the X.Org Server, it's a seemingly never-ending process to optimize its code-paths for best performance. More improvements are en route for making GLAMOR 2D faster, which should especially be helpful for Raspberry Pi users making use of the VC4 driver stack on this very slow-speed hardware.
Benefits to the GLAMOR code in the X.Org Server obviously have the potential to benefit all users of this acceleration mechanism for code going into the xorg-server code-base as opposed to an individual GL driver, but for Raspberry Pi users in particular there is some efforts ongoing by Broadcom's Eric Anholt as well as Keith Packard's never-ending tinkering with the X Server code. GLAMOR continues to be used by default for all AMD GCN GPUs, Nouveau for the latest generations of GPU too, VC4 2D is only supported with GLAMOR, and optionally by other DDX drivers too.
After announcing a few days ago that a new, important OpenSSL update is available for all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems, Canonical's Marc Deslauriers now informs the community about another patch to address a regression.
The new security advisory (USN-3087-2) talks about a regression that was accidentally introduced along with the previous OpenSSL update (as detailed on USN-3087-1), which addressed no less than eleven (11) security vulnerabilities discovered upstream by the OpenSSL team.
If Cellebrite sounds familiar, that’s because the name of this Israeli company came up during Apple’s standoff with the FBI over breaking iPhone encryption. The agency managed to crack the San Bernardino iPhone with the help of an undisclosed company. Many people believe it was Cellebrite that came to the rescue. Meanwhile, the company revealed that it could hack just about any modern smartphone, but refused to say whether its expertise is used by the police forces of repressive regimes.
Microsegmentation, a method to create secure, virtual connections in software-defined data centers (SDDCs), has already emerged as one of the primary reasons to embrace network virtualization (NV). But some vendors believe that East-West encryption of traffic inside the data center could be the next stop in data-center security.
For example, VMware says it is looking at encrypting East-West traffic inside the data center, adding another layer of security to the SDDC. Why is that important? Today, most firewalls operate on the perimeter of the data center – either guarding or encrypting data leaving the data center for the WAN. And some security products may encrypt data at rest inside the data center. But encrypting the traffic in motion between servers inside the data center – known in the business as the East-West traffic – is not something that’s typically done.
DHS Offers Its Unsolicited 'Help' In Securing The Internet Of Things [Ed: In the UK, GCHQ meddles in the Surveillance of Things in the name of 'security' while at the same time, with Tories' consent, cracking PCs]
It's generally agreed that the state of security for the Internet of Things runs from "abysmal" to "compromised during unboxing." The government -- despite no one asking it to -- is offering to help out… somehow. DHS Assistant Secretary for Cyber Policy Robert Silvers spoke at the Internet of Things forum, offering up a pile of words that indicates Silvers is pretty cool with the "cyber" part of his title... but not all that strong on the "policy" part.