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LKAP: Linux Kernel Auditing Project

Jun 09, 2000, 06:33 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bryan Paxton)

[ Thanks to Bryan Paxton for this announcement: ]

######################### kernel auditing project ###########################

This is a mission statement for a project under way and ready to get going. The Linux kernel auditing project(LKAP).

The purpose of this project is self-explanatory. It's an attempt to audit the linux kernel for any security vulnerabilities and/or holes and/or possible vulnerabilities and/or possible holes, and of course without adding more bugs or drawbacks to the existing kernels. The suggested kernels to be audited are 2.0.x kernel series , 2.2.x kernel series, and the 2.3.x/2.4.x kernel series. The group and it's work shall be dealt and worked with via a mailing list.

How to subscribe:

echo subscribe kernel-audit | mail majordomo@nl.linux.org

I feel that this project should have been done a long time ago, not to imply that the linux kernel is insecure, but for example the setuid() hole found on June 7 which affected all 2.2.x kernels. This bug was patched in a matter of hours (isn't open source great!). But here's the point, the flaw/function/hole should _NOT_ have existed in the first place. Which is where this project comes into place.

[ LT editors note: Bryan sent in the following via a talkback: ]

I'm sorry that the entire statement was not published, but the cgi seemed to only allow me to post so much : p

Begin rest of mission statement for LKAP

There's a few things that differ from this project compared to a few others that are similar.

1) To audit the kernel src code without affecting/breaking/disrupting any other part of the kernel. These will not be additional patches you can downloads (add-ons). This auditing is dealing with the current code in the src, not adding or implementing new functions.

2) To educate kernel developers/hackers on how to securely write code. It is my hopes that kernel developers/hackers new and old will subscribe and post to this mailing list with questions and share information, and to simply get help with their code(e.g.: Could this function() cause a possible security hole or lead to an exploit ?"), this is the true power of open source and GNU/Linux

3) To be ahead of the game... A perfect example of this are certain proprietary Operating Systems who sit around and wait for a security bug to come to them and not go to bug themselves. Of course this needs no explanation as to why this never works. I feel that kernel developers/hackers are down to earth and pretty logical people and realize that Linux is _NOT_ perfect, that a lot of the code they write, submit, and gets plugged into the kernel is not flawless and more than likely could be improved for security reasons.

4) To provide an operating system to the public. I want to see a linux where the sysadmin doesn't have to watch his back all the time in fear of say some new knfsd exploit or a way to fork()bomb his/her router via a simple mistake in buffer.c

5) To provide a safe linux to the end-user.. Linux is slowly but surely becoming a choice for the desktop user. Most of these users are walking into linux with no knowledge of what potential dangers lie at their finger tips and in their hard drive. Linux has proven to be one of the most secure operating systems, but I feel as linux becomes more popular with the general public this will change, that more kernel security holes and exploits will arise from nowhere and give us a very unpleasant reality check.

And at last, this will be no easy project, security auditing never is. It takes man power, skill, and just plain aching time. But I believe if the community of gets together on this one, nothing will stop us and Linux will go on to become the #1 security wise operating system to do this date.

Sincerely Bryan Paxton

How to subscribe:

echo subscribe kernel-audit | mail majordomo@nl.linux.org