Tag Archives: OpenPAM

Creating pkgng packages without ports

Lately, I’ve been working on expanding the scope of OpenPAM to more than just a PAM library. Specifically, I’ve added support (in a separate library) for the OATH HOTP and TOTP one-time password algorithms. In the long term, I also intend to implement PSKC and OCRA, the ultimate goal being full compliance with the OATH client and server certification profiles. Part of the reason I’m doing this is that my employer needs it, which is why the University of Oslo holds the copyright on most of the OATH code, but it is also something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and which I believe will greatly benefit FreeBSD.

This is a large undertaking, though. I’m not comfortable rolling a new OpenPAM release with the OATH code at this time—and I probably won’t be for quite a while. I’ve created a “nooath” branch and may roll a release from that branch in order to get the many other OpenPAM improvements into FreeBSD 10.0, but that’s a different story.

In the meantime, I need a way to test my code; not just on a development machine, but also on semi-production systems such as my desktop and my home router. Once it’s tested, I also need a way to deploy it on mission-critical systems. All these systems have one thing in common: they are binary installations, maintained with freebsd-update rather than built from source. So I need a way to install a newer version of OpenPAM without disturbing the base version.

Continue reading “Creating pkgng packages without ports” »

On testing

Last fall, I wrote a completely new configuration parser for OpenPAM Lycopsida. Although the new parser was far more robust than the one it replaced, it was large, unwieldy, and suffered from a number of issues relating to whitespace handling, which stemmed from reusing some old code which unfortunately was thoroughly documented and therefore could not be easily modified. So I decided to rewrite it again, from scratch this time.

Then I did what I should have done last fall but didn’t: I wrote some unit tests. And of the first dozen or so tests I came up with, three failed, revealing two different bugs—one of them fairly serious.

There’s a lesson in here somewhere…

Old history

I am the current maintainer of OpenSSH for FreeBSD, and have been since 2002. I am also the author and maintainer of the PAM implementation used by FreeBSD, and of several of the accompanying PAM modules. Finally, I was a member of the FreeBSD Security Team for several years, served as Assistant Security Officer and Acting Security Officer, and authored or co-authored around 20 security advisories between 2002 and 2004.

I have been asked to comment on SecurityFocus advisories 7467 and 7482, regarding timing attacks against certain versions of OpenSSH that were distributed with FreeBSD 4.x and 5.x releases.

The short version is that no FreeBSD 4.x or 5.x release was ever vulnerable. Read on for the long version. Continue reading “Old history” »


[The context for this piece is slightly dated, but I was hospitalized shortly after I started writing this, and apparently hospitals don’t provide their patients with wireless (or even wired) Internet connections. Go figure.]

I would like to comment on the following excerpt from a Firebird developer’s reaction to the Coverity press release mentioned in an earlier post:

I’m concerned that some code may trigger false positives, like some places (destination buffers) that don’t seem to check bounds, but this is because their source of data is already of guaranteed limited length. Someone that goes looking blindly for strcpy would panic at first glance.

Continue reading “Assumptions” »