Square Hack Week project: secure updates for RubyGems

Jordi Massaguer Pla jmassaguerpla at suse.de
Thu Oct 3 10:39:49 UTC 2013

On 10/03/2013 12:27 PM, Jordi Massaguer Pla wrote:
> On 10/03/2013 12:24 PM, Jordi Massaguer Pla wrote:
>> On 10/03/2013 05:26 AM, Tony Arcieri wrote:
>>> On Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 6:22 PM, Benjamin Fleischer <bfleischer at gmail.com
>>> <mailto:bfleischer at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>     Any update on this?
>>> Personally I've been thinking about this bundler proposal a lot and
>>> whether it and a few accompanying mechanisms can solve most of the
>>> problems in the TUF threat model:
>>> https://github.com/bundler/bundler-features/issues/27
>>> Specifically have a look at this response of mine, which transcends the
>>> goals of the actual Bundler issue, but I think covers most of the bases
>>> from an attack perspective:
>>> https://github.com/bundler/bundler-features/issues/27#issuecomment-25510553 
>>> -- 
>>> Tony Arcieri
>> Having a checksum of the gems in bundler Gemfile.lock file sounds very
>> good. This could help you knowing if a gem has changed.
>> However, if the gem got compromised before you created your
>> Gemfile.lock, you won't know that you are using a bad gem.
>> In order to solve the latter issue, I agree that having the checksum
>> signed will solve this issue, as long as the key used to signed it is
>> trustable.
>> And there comes my question: how do we manage the trust on the keys?
>> A similar problem has been fixed long time ago on linux distributions.
>> On a distribution like SUSE, SUSE employers will review the packages and
>> sign them with the SUSE key, which its public part is distributed in the
>> However I don't think this model can be used in rubygems.org which
>> stores thousands of gems, and is mostly run on a community effort. Thus
>> I would go more on a trust model like gpg, I mean trusting individuals
>> in a chain of trust and having a revoke list.
>> This is what debian does:
>> http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/developers-reference/new-maintainer.html
>> Is this the direction you think we should go / are we going?

I am answering myself :) .

I've seen rubygems.org is going in this direction:


though there is still some work in the TODO list, I think that is the
right direction. In my opinion, the most important missing piece is the
revokation part.

>> regards
>> jordi
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