Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Debian addresses security concerns

Filed under
Linux

The organization's security team has issued a host of announcements and informed the community it has resolved problems with the infrastructure governing security updates.

"There were several issues with the security infrastructure after the release of Sarge [aka Debian 3.1] that led to the Debian security team being unable to issue updates to vulnerable packages. These issues have been fully resolved, and the infrastructure is working correctly again," it said in a statement issued this afternoon.

Debian's elected leader Branden Robinson yesterday flagged an inquiry into the processes by which security updates are released, citing a potential lack of transparency and communication failures.

It was also an appropriate time to add new members to Debian's security team, as several have been inactive for a while, Robinson said in an e-mail to developers. He admitted the organisation had been "sluggish" in the area recently and said the focus would now be on ensuring Debian was not plagued with such problems again.

He said an inquiry -- to be conducted by developer Andreas Barth -- would allow the organisation to attack weak points.

"One thing I'd like to see is better documentation of the internal workings of the security update process," he wrote. "With a broader understanding of the security workflow, I'm hopeful that people will be less likely to draw erroneous inferences about what the causes of problems are, and more likely to make offers of assistance that prove fruitful."

Robinson said he expects to spend a lot of time talking about the security issue to Debian developers and representatives of the user community at the upcoming sixth annual Debian developer conference on July 10 in Helsinki, Finland.

"Many people have stepped forward in public or in private to offer us assistance with ensuring that this problem does not recur," he said, "and that Debian upholds its valuable reputation as a consistent provider of timely security updates to its users."

"I regret the interruption of this service, but with so many people determined to apply their skills to this facet of our responsibilities, I'm confident that we can prevent its recurrence."

Robinson said after "extensive conversations with many people", he suspected two factors were at the heart of Debian's security woes.

Firstly, he said the security team had not been given enough manpower to deal with the demands being placed on it. In addition, there was a failure in the process of actually distributing security updates that were ready to go out.

In the statement issued this afternoon, Debian warned users against installing packages from the "sarge-proposed-updates" suite, as some Web sites had been advocating as a temporary fix before official updates became available.

"Those packages are currently under development and may not work properly," the statement said. "In addition, those packages may not provide users with timely security fixes."

By Renai LeMay
ZDNet Australia

More in Tux Machines

Find the Perfect Linux-Compatible PC with Ubuntu's Hardware Database

Some PCs are more difficult to run Linux on than others—it’s all about the drivers. Some laptops are available with Linux pre-installed, but plenty aren’t—even though they may make great Linux PCs. The Ubuntu Certified Hardware database helps you find Linux-compatible PCs. Most computers can run Linux, but some are much easier than others. Certain hardware manufacturers (whether it’s Wi-Fi cards, video cards, or other buttons on your laptop) are more Linux-friendly than others, which means installing drivers and getting things to work will be less of a hassle. Read more

OnePlus 2 Review Roundup: Solid Android Smartphone And Fantastic Tag Price

The OnePlus 2 will not become available in the U.S. and Europe until Aug. 11, but the first reviews of the Chinese startup's second flagship smartphone are already in, and the verdict is a resounding thumbs up from most people who were lucky enough to be given a preview build. When it comes to the OnePlus 2's design, reviewers agree that the device has a solid, comfortable build thanks to the textured sandstone panel on the back and the slight convex shape that curves right into the hands, while still evoking that premium feel with the aluminum frame holding up the device. Read more

Arch Linux 2015.08.01 Is Now Available for Download, Powered by Linux Kernel 4.1

You won't believe this, but it's already August, so the time has come for the Arch Linux operating system to receive a new installation media that includes all the updates that have been released during the month of July 2015. Read more

Linux Kernel 3.12.45 LTS Has ARM64 and x86 Fixes, Numerous Updated Drivers

On the last day of July, Jiri Slaby, the maintainer of the Linux 3.12 kernel series, which is an LTS (Long Term Support) version supported with patches and driver updates for a few more years than normal kernel releases, announced the immediate availability for download of the forty-fifth maintenance release of Linux kernel 3.12 LTS. Read more