Feeds

Whoops! Tiny bug in NetBSD 6.0 code ruins SSH crypto keys

'Random numbers are too important to be left to chance'

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The brains behind NetBSD have warned a bug in the open-source OS creates weak cryptographic keys that can be cracked by attackers. Users attempting to secure sensitive communications, such as SSH terminal connections, using the dodgy keys could be easily snooped on and their data decrypted.

The use of a cryptographically flawed pseudo random-number generator in NetBSD 6.0 means that potentially predictable keys were generated. Versions of NetBSD-current older than 26 January 2013 are affected. NetBSD 5.1 and 5.2 do not suffer from the bug, which is due to be fixed in NetBSD 6.1. Until then users need to update their kernels to builds created after 26 January.

Many types of cryptographic keys (including SSH and SSL session keys) generated on affected systems may be weak. A sizeof() blunder introduced data that wasn't sufficiently random for cryptography.

Sys admins are advised to generate new keys after updating the NetBSD kernel software, as explained in an advisory from the NetBSD Foundation.

"For systems newly set up with NetBSD 6, all SSH host keys are suspect," the advisory explains. "Other persistent cryptographic secrets (for example, SSH or SSL keys of any type) generated using /dev/urandom on NetBSD 6 systems which may have had insufficient entropy at key generation time may be impacted and should be regenerated."

The first version of the advisory was published late last month prior to publication of an update with a stronger warning that caught the eye of crypto experts such as Ivan Ristic, an open-source advocate who runs the SSL Labs service. ®

Bootnote

A hat-tip to Reg reader Richard Outerbridge for the heads up on the bug. "Picking random numbers is far too important to be left to chance," Richard wisely notes.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?