Explain staging

Kimmo Paasiala kpaasial at gmail.com
Mon Oct 7 13:48:35 UTC 2013

On Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 4:36 PM, Daniel Nebdal <dnebdal at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 2:52 PM, Anton Shterenlikht <mexas at bris.ac.uk> wrote:
>> >From bsam at passap.ru Mon Oct  7 13:36:53 2013
>>>07.10.2013 13:23, Anton Shterenlikht пишет:
>>>> What about "make fetch"? It puts files by default under
>>>> ports/distfiles, which, by default, is 755:
>>>> What about "make extract"? Same problem:
>>>I use svn repo owned by a user for ages. When a root rights are needed,
>>>the ports infrastructure asks for the password.
>> I've read a few books on unix security.
>> The typical advice is to assume the user
>> passwords are compromised.
>> If I build and install from a ports tree
>> owned by a user, I increase the chances of
>> comromising the system, if an attacker
>> changes some files in the ports tree,
>> i.e. the URL in the Makefile and the checksum
>> in distinfo. I'll then have to add this worry
>> to my already long list.
>> Anton
> If that happens to an account used by an admin, don't you have larger worries?
> Let's say :
> * You have an account with no special privileges, that you typically
> log in with.
> * That account has a ports tree
> * You typically install ports by compiling them as this user, then
> installing them with root privileges.
> If you use sudo, and you haven't used targetpw or something to make it
> ask for a different password, and you haven't set any strong limits on
> it, anyone that got your password would also be able to use sudo to do
> whatever they wanted more directly. So let's assume you're not doing
> that.
> An attacker with your password could meddle with your .profile or
> .cshrc or whatever, and replace your shell with a lookalike that
> logged all input. From there, they could get hold of whatever commands
> and passwords you use to install software, and reuse that to install
> whatever they want directly.  If what you use is sudo, somehow
> restricted to only run make install, and only within that ports tree
> ... again, what would keep an attacker from just modifying any random
> port on the fly, installing it there and then, and then reverting the
> changes to reduce the risk of detection?
> It just seems like leaving a timebomb in the form of a modified ports
> directory would be a fairly inefficient thing to do if they'd already
> gotten that far., and it would run the risk of being overwritten
> and/or detected next time you updated your ports tree.  Of course, if
> you set the ports tree a+w (or, heaven forbid, 0777), you'd be asking
> for trouble ... but that's not new.
> Then again, I might have overlooked something. :)

In my opinion fetching and building (and creating packages if using
staging ) as a non privileged user is always safer than doing the same
things as root. The common advice to security is to AVOID using
admin/root privileges as much as possible to minimize the attack


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