You’ve probably heard by now about the gaping hole in keys generated by Debian’s OpenSSL. If not, the summary is that your SSH keys and SSL certs were selected from a fixed pool of 215 (32,767) possibilities, and are thus easy to brute-force over the network. If you have any keys generated on a Debian system, you need to immediately replace them or disable the associated service. It’s that bad — remote login or root with only a few thousand tries.
Luckily, Debian recently fixed this 2-year-old hole in this commit. Great, right? Except, I made a quick comparison to the commit that introduced the bug, which shows they missed reverting both places the bug was added. So they still didn’t fix it completely.
As a past FreeBSD committer and crypto engineer, I knew any commits to the PRNG or other such critical code were subject to intense review. That’s before they could be committed. If a committer were found to have introduced such a fatal flaw, the patch to fix it would have been doubly-scrutinized before being allowed into the tree. Apparently, the same guy who introduced the bug was left to screw up the fix.
Once more, this time with prior review!
Edit: a commenter informed me that there was review of this fix, and Debian decided to leave their implementation silently incompatible with the OpenSSL API docs.
“If a Microsoft developer commented out seeding in Vista CryptGenRandom(), they would be fired 12 times. Then Microsoft would buy the next company that hired them in order to fire them again.”
– Thomas Ptacek