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How SolarWinds Busted Up Our Assumptions About Code Signing
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weskussmaul
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weskussmaul,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/9/2021 | 4:53:21 PM
Look To This Very Old Method For The Solution To Code Audit Problems
The personal accountability and liability that comes with professional licensing shows us the way to the solution to the problems of code unreliability.

In all of the developed world, a building cannot be deemed habitable without an occupancy permit. That means that an architect, contractor, structural engineer and building inspector all put their livelihoods on the line when they sign their good names to their declaration that the structure is ready to be occupied.

(An interesting corollary to that is that if the architect hasn't been paid, they are unlikely to sign off on the occupancy permit; professional licensing is thus an income assurance tool.)

Check out Osmio Professional Licensing, which brings duly constituted public authority to the digital world. When code is signed by an Osmio professionally licensed code auditor, that means that they're putting their good name and reputation and livelihood on the line. If it turns out there is some funny business in the code that introduces vulnerabilities, well, it's as though that architect had signed off on a  set of drawings that didn't mention a secret subterranean entrance to the building. End of career!
ChadF3
100%
0%
ChadF3,
User Rank: Strategist
3/3/2021 | 2:45:23 PM
Source Signing
Another potential tool to use would be source signing. Where every file would be signed and the compiler would verify each file used (even OS headers/libraries). To be fully covered, all tools, such as make would need to be signing aware. This would at least push the problem back to the code repositories where tampering would need to occur.. possibly pushing signing even further, into those tools (e.g. git) as the authors commit each change.

Now had someone said this idea just a few years ago, people would have said they were mad/paranoid, but it seems it maybe required to truly ensure software integrity.



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