Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Well, yes, malicious code can be planted in open source too (though as some commentators on that list has stated, it would be as easy to just pose as a developer and try to hide backdoors when submitting new code). But open source is better at handling it.

May Contain Traces of Bolts: OpenBSD IPSec backdoor allegations: triple $100 bounty

OpenBSD IPSec backdoor allegations: triple $100 bounty

In case you hadn't heard: Gregory Perry alleges that the FBI paid OpenBSD contributors to insert backdoors into OpenBSD's IPSec stack, with his (Perry's) knowledge and collaboration.

If that were true, it would also be a concern for FreeBSD, since some of our IPSec code comes from OpenBSD.

I'm having a hard time swallowing this story, though. In fact, I think it's preposterous. Rather than go into further detail, I'll refer you to Jason Dixon's summary, which links to other opinions, and add only one additional objection: if this were true, there would be no "recently expired NDA"; it would be a matter of national security.

I'll put my money where my mouth is, and post a triple bounty:

  1. I pledge USD 100 to the first person to present convincing evidence showing:

    • that the OpenBSD Crypto Framework contains vulnerabilities which can be exploited by an eavesdropper to recover plaintext from an IPSec stream,
    • that these vulnerabilities can be traced directly to code submitted by Jason Wright and / or other developers linked to Perry, and
    • that the nature of these vulnerabilities is such that there is reason to suspect, independently of Perry's allegations, that they were inserted intentionally--for instance, if the surrounding code is unnecessarily awkward or obfuscated and the obvious and straightforward alternative would either not be vulnerable or be immediately recognizable as vulnerable.
  2. I pledge an additional USD 100 to the first person to present convincing evidence showing that the same vulnerability exists in FreeBSD.

  3. Finally, I pledge USD 100 to the first person to present convincing evidence showing that a government agency successfully planted a backdoor in a security-critical portion of the Linux kernel.

Checking the comments there, there are some organisations and persons matching the bounty. So the programmer that finds such a backdoor (if it exists) gets some money and more importantly fame.

The reaction when actual backdoors are in commercial code is often to scream bloody murder in the press, accuse the one that found it for hacking their safe system, and so on.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 03:41:42 AM EST
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