Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 14th Dec 2010 23:55 UTC, submitted by Oliver
OpenBSD Okay, 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.
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google_ninja
Member since:
2006-02-05

To argue the other side; With closed source, a company has financial incentive to audit their code, since they can be sued if something goes wrong. In open source, nobody has that incentive.

Reply Parent Score: 3

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Bullshit, and nice trolling btw.

Companies have little financial incentive to audit their code, not even when explicitly paid for it. They will audit the code exactly as little as they can get away with - and no more. There's a reason the most insecure software packages are proprietary packages. Because they cannot be effectively audited.

FLOSS projects have an incentive that no proprietary project will ever have: Street credit.

Reply Parent Score: 2

_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

How about being a little less hostile?

Many companies do as little as possible but there are also those that do an average job and those that do an excellent job. Blanket statement FAIL.

Security Companies DO have financial incentives to audit their code as it would be highly embarrassing and financially damaging if things like this were to be found.

The "Real" difference between closed source is that number and variety of people that can look at the code increasing coverage against poor coding or just plain human error (in the code and in checking the code).

However, there is not real statistical way to accurately quantify security verification. Are 3 less intelligent/fastidious code checkers in an OSS project than 1 very fastidious/Intelligent code checker better?

The fact that OSS is more secure is still only a (probable) hypothesis. NOT 100% proven theory.

I would say that it is likely that the low hanging security bugs are more likely to be caught in OSS that closed source, but the really tricky stuff in critical software is probably a much more level playing field.

Edited 2010-12-15 14:53 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

I am literally in the middle of exactly that kind of audit right now.

Our customers care about that kind of thing, they care about our test coverage, and they care about our engineering practices. They are serious companies that are literally putting their future in the hands of our software, and our answers to those kinds of questions can be the difference between making a sale, and losing it.

The reason that I said "to argue the other side" is because I don't really agree with the origional post, exactly because of the street cred thing. It is rare to have security experts reviewing open source code to prove they are badasses publically, but at the same time its rare for a company to have the engineering practices we do, and I don't think one really trumps the other.

Reply Parent Score: 2

TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

o_O?

So open source hackers don't get paid to write code? That would explain why Linus Torvalds is so poor, and Red Hat went out of business.

Oh, wait.

Reply Parent Score: 1

_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

Did you actually read what he wrote instead of imagining what he didn't write?

He did not say that open source developers don't get paid. Just that Closed source companies have incentives to improve their code.

Red Hat has incentives to make sure that the code they ship is good. The difference is that the burden on maintaining and fixing the code isn't solely Red Hats responsibility.

A closed source company has sole responsibility for their code, theoretically they should be more paranoid therefore paying people to ship and check good software.

Where Red hat has to build trust and in turn trust the community for the software it supports, the closed source company has to put developers/money on the code to fix/maintain.

Both can be better or worse. in OSS less popular software has fewer eyeballs checking the source, In closed source a company has to put competent people because they can't make up the diversity and volume of eyballs that a OSS project has.

Reply Parent Score: 3

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

security audits are boring things. many aspects of writing code are pure fun, that is not one of them. I have added features I thought would be cool to open source projects many times before, I have fixed bugs I have run into many times before, but I have never done an audit of a codebase.

On the flip side, thats what I have been doing at work for the last few weeks. Boring as hell, and wouldn't do it if I wasn't getting paid.

Reply Parent Score: 3

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

The amount of people paid to work on open source code is absolutely minuscule compared to the amount of open source code that exists.

Reply Parent Score: 2

ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

a company has financial incentive to audit their code, since they can be sued if something goes wrong.


Really? When was the last time that happened?
Has any software company ever been sued because of a bug that compromised their customers' security?

Reply Parent Score: 3

TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

Heh.
Precisely.
http://www.junauza.com/2010/12/top-50-programming-quotes-of-all-tim...

“If McDonalds were run like a software company, one out of every hundred Big Macs would give you food poisoning, and the response would be, ‘We’re sorry, here’s a coupon for two more.’ “
- Mark Minasi

Posted here on the 14th.

Reply Parent Score: 2

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

been working on an audit for the purpose of certification for the last two weeks now. It is proprietary software, and we will need to re-certify regularly.

On the flip side, I have never audited any open source project for security issues.

so yeah, it happens.

Reply Parent Score: 2