Dec 152010
 

An open source operating system lauded for its security features appears to have been infiltrated by the FBI over a decade ago resulting in the covert injection of eavesdropping code allowing the U.S. Government to snoop certain types of commonly used encrypted network traffic.

Security expert and OpenBSD leader Theo De Raadt forwarded to the openbsd-tech mailing list an email from an old associate who claims the Federal Bureau of Investigation hired his company to create secret backdoors into the OpenBSD Crypto Framework IPsec networking stack about ten years ago.  According to de Raadt, “large parts of the [IPsec] code are now found in many other projects/products.”  Indeed, IPsec is the basic toolset for securing Internet Protocol (IP) communications across the Internet, and the OpenBSD implementation of IPsec is widely used.

Apparently experiencing a change of conscience since then, de Raadt’s former associate, Gregory Perry, further suggests that OpenBSD lost its DARPA funding because DARPA was aware of these covertly implemented security vulnerabilities.  Theo de Raadt writes:

I refuse to become part of such a conspiracy, and
will not be talking to Gregory Perry about this.  Therefore I am
making it public so that
(a) those who use the code can audit it for these problems,
(b) those that are angry at the story can take other actions,
(c) if it is not true, those who are being accused can defend themselves.

If true, this successful FBI “conspiracy” represents a serious blow to the credibility of open source security efforts.  Up until now, OpenBSD has been widely viewed as one of the most secure operating systems available.

The full text of the email, which came from here, is below.

List:       openbsd-tech
Subject:    Allegations regarding OpenBSD IPSEC
From:       Theo de Raadt
Date:       2010-12-14 22:24:39
Message-ID: 201012142224.oBEMOdWM031222 () cvs ! openbsd ! org
[Download message RAW]

I have received a mail regarding the early development of the OpenBSD
IPSEC stack.  It is alleged that some ex-developers (and the company
they worked for) accepted US government money to put backdoors into
our network stack, in particular the IPSEC stack.  Around 2000-2001.

Since we had the first IPSEC stack available for free, large parts of
the code are now found in many other projects/products.  Over 10
years, the IPSEC code has gone through many changes and fixes, so it
is unclear what the true impact of these allegations are.

The mail came in privately from a person I have not talked to for
nearly 10 years.  I refuse to become part of such a conspiracy, and
will not be talking to Gregory Perry about this.  Therefore I am
making it public so that
(a) those who use the code can audit it for these problems,
(b) those that are angry at the story can take other actions,
(c) if it is not true, those who are being accused can defend themselves.

Of course I don’t like it when my private mail is forwarded.  However
the “little ethic” of a private mail being forwarded is much smaller
than the “big ethic” of government paying companies to pay open source
developers (a member of a community-of-friends) to insert
privacy-invading holes in software.

—-

From: Gregory Perry
To: “deraadt@openbsd.org”
Subject: OpenBSD Crypto Framework
Thread-Topic: OpenBSD Crypto Framework
Thread-Index: AcuZjuF6cT4gcSmqQv+Fo3/+2m80eg==
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2010 23:55:25 +0000
Message-ID: <8D3222F9EB68474DA381831A120B1023019AC034@mbx021-e2-nj-5.exch021.domain.local>
Accept-Language: en-US
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Status: RO

Hello Theo,

Long time no talk.  If you will recall, a while back I was the CTO at
NETSEC and arranged funding and donations for the OpenBSD Crypto
Framework.  At that same time I also did some consulting for the FBI,
for their GSA Technical Support Center, which was a cryptologic
reverse engineering project aimed at backdooring and implementing key
escrow mechanisms for smart card and other hardware-based computing
technologies.

My NDA with the FBI has recently expired, and I wanted to make you
aware of the fact that the FBI implemented a number of backdoors and
side channel key leaking mechanisms into the OCF, for the express
purpose of monitoring the site to site VPN encryption system
implemented by EOUSA, the parent organization to the FBI.  Jason
Wright and several other developers were responsible for those
backdoors, and you would be well advised to review any and all code
commits by Wright as well as the other developers he worked with
originating from NETSEC.

This is also probably the reason why you lost your DARPA funding, they
more than likely caught wind of the fact that those backdoors were
present and didn’t want to create any derivative products based upon
the same.

This is also why several inside FBI folks have been recently
advocating the use of OpenBSD for VPN and firewalling implementations
in virtualized environments, for example Scott Lowe is a well
respected author in virtualization circles who also happens top be on
the FBI payroll, and who has also recently published several tutorials
for the use of OpenBSD VMs in enterprise VMware vSphere deployments.

Merry Christmas…

Gregory Perry
Chief Executive Officer
GoVirtual Education

“VMware Training Products & Services”

540-645-6955 x111 (local)
866-354-7369 x111 (toll free)
540-931-9099 (mobile)
877-648-0555 (fax)

http://www.facebook.com/GregoryVPerry
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