transcript

Screenshot of github showing part of the commit message of this commit with this text:

Remove the backdoor found in 5.6.0 and 5.6.1 (CVE-2024-3094).

While the backdoor was inactive (and thus harmless) without inserting
a small trigger code into the build system when the source package was
created, it's good to remove this anyway:

  - The executable payloads were embedded as binary blobs in
    the test files. This was a blatant violation of the
    Debian Free Software Guidelines.

  - On machines that see lots bots poking at the SSH port, the backdoor
    noticeably increased CPU load, resulting in degraded user experience
    and thus overwhelmingly negative user feedback.

  - The maintainer who added the backdoor has disappeared.

  - Backdoors are bad for security.

This reverts the following without making any other changes:

The sentence “This was a blatant violation of the Debian Free Software Guidelines” is highlighted.

Below the github screenshot is a frame of the 1998 film The Big Lebowski with the meme caption “What, are you a fucking park ranger now?” from the scene where that line was spoken.

  • RedWeasel@lemmy.world
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    3 months ago

    Seriously. If you are going to do it, write in assembly or something else no one understands.

    • Ineocla@lemmy.ml
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      3 months ago

      Tbh jia tan really wasn’t lucky some mf at Microsoft noticed a 500ms delay in ssh. The backdoor was so incredibely clever and Well hidden and ingenious i almost feel bad for him lmao

      • conditional_soup@lemm.ee
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        3 months ago

        A really good point I heard is: this was likely a state actor attack, so how many others just like this are out there, undiscovered?

        • B0rax@feddit.de
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          3 months ago

          Unpopular opinion: what if it was not a state actor and just some bored person somewhere that thought it would be cool to own a bot net?

          What if this is just one of many backdoors and it’s just the only one we found?

          • thisisbutaname
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            3 months ago

            I heard that person actively contributed for something like 2 years, providing actually useful contributions, to gain the level of trust needed to plant that backdoor. Feels a bit too much to chalk it up to boredom.

            As for the second part, that’s an interesting question. Are there lots of backdoors and we just happened to notice this one, or are backdoors very rare exactly because we’d have found them out soon like in this case?

            • Appoxo@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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              3 months ago

              You’d be surprised what I manage with motivation and boredom.
              You’d be surprised what a highly skilled scalled person can manage to achieve.

              Boredom, Skills and Motivation are dangerous things to have if improperly handled.

            • trolololol@lemmy.world
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              3 months ago

              Another speculation from the suse team was a private company with intent to sell the exploit to state across actors

              I think there’s lots of known backdoors that are not publicly disclosed and privately sold.

              But given the history of cves in inclined to believe most come from well intentioned developers. When you read the blogs from the Google security team for example, it’s interesting to see how you need to chain a couple exploits at least, to get a proper attack going. Not in this case, it would make it very straightforward to accomplish very intrusive actions.

          • PapstJL4U@lemmy.world
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            3 months ago

            The design is Moriarty lvls of complex. State actor might be too specific, but everything but a group of people would be highly unlikely.

            • B0rax@feddit.de
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              3 months ago

              You forget that a lot of brilliant open source projects are one man shows from geniuses somewhere around the world. They are usually not paid.

              In the other hand, if you get your hands on a powerful botnet, you can rent out its services (like ddos for example) for quite a bit of money.

          • GissaMittJobb@lemmy.ml
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            3 months ago

            Realistically I think it’s probably easier to acquire a botnet of less secure systems. This was a targeted attack.

            • B0rax@feddit.de
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              3 months ago

              Easier, yes. But some people will do stuff because it is more challenging.

        • SzethFriendOfNimi@lemmy.world
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          3 months ago

          It’s scary to think about… a lot of people are now thinking about how we can best isolate our build test process so it works as a test suite but doesn’t have any way to interact with the output or environment.

          It’s just blows my mind to think of the levels of obfuscation this process used and how easy it would be to miss it.

        • TheGalacticVoid@lemm.ee
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          3 months ago

          I’m surprised that nobody suggested that he was a kidnapped dev. This seems like a different implementation of the pig butchering scams that target ordinary people.

            • TheGalacticVoid@lemm.ee
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              3 months ago

              I wasn’t joking.

              A good chunk of scam calls and texts come from people who themselves are victims of kidnapping. Many of those victims (primarily in Asia) got into the position they were in because they were looking for work, went to a different country to start a promised job, and then got trapped and forced to work for scam centers that do social engineering attacks.

              These scam centers are sophisticated to the point where they can develop very legitimate-looking crypto trading platforms for targets in the US and other wealthy countries. They then assign one of the kidnapped people to a target. These kidnapped people then social engineer their way for months to get what their captors want - usually money in the aforementioned trading platform. Then, they cut all contact once they have control of the funds.

              How does this relate to XZ? Well, if they can kidnap ordinary people looking for jobs, there’s not much stopping them from including devs in their pool of targets. Afterward, it’s just a rinse and repeat of what they’d done before.

              If you want to look more into pig butchering, John Oliver has a great episode on it.

              • davel [he/him]@lemmy.ml
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                3 months ago

                You don’t kidnap extremely highly skilled internet malware developers and force them to code for you, you just pay them appropriately.

                • Iapar@feddit.de
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                  3 months ago

                  Jupp. If you trap someone highly skilled and give that person a weapon, the chances are good that this person will use that against you.

                  Like how does a less skilled person know that this code will not send location to the police with a message?

      • RedWeasel@lemmy.world
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        3 months ago

        Neither does the blob it downloaded. Would you think twice about AVX10 support if it was commented as AVX10 support in a compression library? Some might, but would they be the ones reviewing the code? A lot of programs that can take advantage of “handwritten” optimizations, like video decoders/encoders and compression, have assembly pathways so it will take advantage of the hardware when it is available but run when it isn’t. If the reviewers are not familiar with assembly enough something could be snuck in.

        systemD is using dlopens for libraries now and I am not convinced malware couldn’t modify the core executable memory and stay resident even after the dl is unloaded. Difficult, yes, but not impossible.

    • Galli [comrade/them]@hexbear.net
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      3 months ago

      I can excuse attempting to compromise millions of computer systems worldwide for nefarious purposes but I draw the line at violating the contributor guidelines of an opensource project.

    • lefixxx@lemmy.world
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      3 months ago

      Its like saying bank robbery is against bank’s gun carrying policy.

      Sure its true, but thats not really the problem being addressed. The massive, notorious security vulnerability is.

    • deltapi@lemmy.world
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      3 months ago

      Yep, probably because it’s not funny or clever. My guess is that you look for funny and/or clever in your jokes.

        • computergeek125@lemmy.world
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          3 months ago

          I’m still lost… I’ve been following the XZ thing since it broke, so I get the context, but I’m not sure how the meme at the bottom is connected?

          • Boomkop3@reddthat.com
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            3 months ago

            On the photo you see a violation of rules listed as one of the reasons this commit is made. Because it’s at the top the meme creator is presuming that’s their main priority.

            And they disagree with that, so they’re calling them a “park ranger”. I’m guessing they’re alluding to an old but common media presentation of park rangers being childish about rules.

            I get the joke with that it looks a bit odd to put that reason at the top of the list, but their response I find more unkind than funny

            • Arthur Besse@lemmy.mlOP
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              3 months ago

              As the image transcript in the post body explains, the image at the bottom is a scene from a well-known 1998 film (which, according to Wikipedia, was in 2014 selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”).

              This meme will not make as much sense to people who have not seen the film. You can watch the referenced scene here. The context is that the main character, The Dude (played by Jeff Bridges) has recently had his private residence invaded by a group of nihilists with a pet marmot (actually portrayed by a ferret) and they have threatened to “cut off his Johnson”. In an attempt to express sympathy, The Dude’s friend Walter (played by John Goodman) points out that, in addition to the home invasion and threats, the nihilists’ exotic pet is also illegal. The Dude’s retort “what, are you a fucking park ranger now” is expressing irritation with that observation, because it is insignificant compared with the threat of the removal of his penis.

              This meme attempts to draw a parallel between this humorous scene and XZ developer Lasse Collin’s observation that the XZ backdoor was also a violation of Debian’s software licensing policies.

              Thank you for reading my artist’s statement.

            • loutr@sh.itjust.works
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              3 months ago

              It’s a scene from The Big Lebowski, right after The Dude got tortured with a marmot by German nihilists. Walter focuses on the legality of keeping a marmot as a pet, which is obviously not the main issue.

    • flashgnash@lemm.ee
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      You’ve gotta wonder what else you’d write though

      Especially given the urgency guy’s probably not gonna sit there and ponder

  • Jomosoto
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    Best part to me is “The maintainer who added the backdoor has disappeared.” implying it was removes because there’s nobody left to maintain it

    • Wooki@lemmy.world
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      3 months ago

      The binaries had part of the source hidden in them implying it was closed source code. But it wasnt compiled code its just poorly obfuscated code. The pattern is pretty simple.