Home opinion-and-analysis Open Sauce Developer claims FBI implemented backdoors in OpenBSD

Author's Opinion

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

Have your say and comment below.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation implemented a number of backdoors in the open cryptographic framework used in OpenBSD, according to a former developer of the operating system.


Gregory Perry wrote to OpenBSD project chief Theo de Raadt a few days back, explaining that he was revealing this information now because he could - his non-disclosure agreement with the FBI had expired.

"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 (sic) to the FBI," Perry wrote.

He said that this was probably the reason why people inside the FBI were advocating the use of OpenBSD for VPNs and firewalling.

De Raadt responded to the mail on one of the project's mailing lists, saying: "It is alleged that some ex-developers (and the company they worked for) accepted US government money to put backdoors into our network stack, in particular the IPSEC stack.  Around 2000-2001.

According to Wikipedia, IPsec is a suite of protocols for securing IP communications by authenticating and encrypting each packet of  a communication session. There are also protocols for establishing mutual authentication between agents at the beginning of the session and negotiation of cryptographic keys to be used during the session.

"Since we had the first IPSEC stack available for free, large parts of the code are now found in many other projects/products.  Over 10 years, the IPSEC code has gone through many changes and fixes, so it is unclear what the true impact of these allegations are," De Raadt wrote.

Code which is released under the BSD licence can be used freely in any system; it can be locked away in a proprietary system as well.

FREE WHITEPAPER - REMOTE SUPPORT TRENDS FOR 2015

Does your remote support strategy keep you and your CEO awake at night?

Today’s remote support solutions offer much more than just remote control for PCs. Their functional footprint is expanding to include support for more devices and richer analytics for trend analysis and supervisor dashboards.

It is imperative that service executives acquaint themselves with the new features and capabilities being introduced by leading remote support platforms and find ways to leverage the capabilities beyond technical support.

Field services, education services, professional services, and managed services are all increasing adoption of these tools to boost productivity and avoid on-site visits.

Which product is easiest to deploy, has the best maintenance mode capabilities, the best mobile access and custom reporting, dynamic thresholds setting, and enhanced discovery capabilities?

To find out all you need to know about using remote support to improve your bottom line, download this FREE Whitepaper.

DOWNLOAD!

Sam Varghese

website statistics

A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Connect