posted by Thom Holwerda on Tue 14th Dec 2010 23:55 UTC, submitted by Oliver
IconOkay, this is potentially very big news that really needs all the exposure it can get. OpenBSD's Theo de Raadt has received an email in which it was revealed to him that ten years ago, the FBI paid several open source developers to implement hidden backdoors in OpenBSD's IPSEC stack. De Raadt decided to publish the email for all to see, so that the code in question can be reviewed. Insane stuff.

De Raadt received the email from Gregory Perry, currently the CEO of GoVirtual Education. Ten years ago, while he was CTO at NETSEC, Perry did some consulting work for the FBI's GSA Technical Support Center. Perry's NDA expired recently, and as such, he decided to contact De Raadt about what he had learned ten years ago.

"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," Perry details in the email, "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 why several inside FBI folks have been recently advocating the use of OpenBSD for VPN and firewalling implementations in virtualized environments," he adds, "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."

De Raadt takes these allegations very seriously, and wants the code to be audited as soon as possible. Since the IPSEC stack is already quite old, and the allegations are also old, the code has gone through several revisions and the like, but still, De Raadt wants it analysed.

"The mail came in privately from a person I have not talked to for nearly 10 years," he details, "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 this turns out to be true, you could wonder what else has been put in open source projects. Scary thought.

e p (12)    126 Comment(s)

Technology White Papers

See More