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Debian SSH Key-Cracking Tools Released, Tips for Tightening

May 16, 2008, 12:45 (5 Talkback[s])

Computerworld: Tools Circulate that Crack Debian, Ubuntu Keys

"A recently disclosed vulnerability in widely used Linux distributions can be exploited by attackers to guess cryptographic keys, possibly leading to the forgery of digital signatures and theft of confidential information, a noted security researcher said today.

"HD Moore, best known as the exploit researcher who created the Metasploit penetration testing framework, called the vulnerability in Debian and Ubuntu systems 'ugly' and said it will be a big job for administrators to find every flawed key, then reissue them..."

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Computerworld Australia: How to Avoid the Debian SSH Key Attacks

"This means that there are only 32,767 possible keys for each key length and there are a number of resources starting to appear that are targeting the weak key issue. One of the tools, developed by Markus Mueller, claims to defeat a 2048 bit RSA SSH key in less than 20 minutes.

"HD Moore, the founder of Metasploit, points out that there are several features of Debian that make the process of brute forcing a key even simpler, given that a lot of Debian systems use sequential pid allocation and most keys are likely to have been user generated with a pid between 500 and 10,000 (which effectively reduces the keyspace to 9,500 keys)..."

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