secure cvs server, urgent

Jan Grant Jan.Grant at
Mon Apr 5 03:49:33 PDT 2004

On Sun, 4 Apr 2004, dave wrote:

> Hello,
>     I'm wanting to offer cvs services to a select group of users from my
> internal server. I need this to be as secure as possible using ssh. I've
> tried cvsd, and although it starts when i try to log in, i'm using :pserver:
> at the moment, i get the message, premature end of file from server, consult
> above messages if any. There are none and nothing in the logs. When i tried
> to use the :ext method i got the error:
> login can only be used with the pserver method.
>     If anyone has secure cvs services going behind a firewall to users on
> the net please let me know.
> Thanks.
> Dave.

Depends what you mean by "secure". Typical use with ssh is to set

	CVSROOT=:ext:$USER at server:/path/to/cvs/repo

in which case the user will need an account on your machine. If you set
up public/private key pairs then cvs access from the command line is
seamless without requiring "cvs login" (you use ssh-agent to keep your
passphrases for you).

You can "force" a command line by configuring the user's
.ssh/authorized_keys file; you might want to consider setting up a
jailed environment for your users with sshd and cvs in it.

Even after all that, cvs still has enough mechanisms to permit the
execution of arbitrary programs on the server with the user's
credentials; so your cvs server still effectively has a high level of
trust in your users.

If you want something "secure" like this you might want to consider an
alternative source control system. Or maybe, if licensing permits,
offload that risk to sourceforge, who've got a lot of practice at this
sort of thing.

jan grant, ILRT, University of Bristol.
Tel +44(0)117 9287088 Fax +44 (0)117 9287112
Personal responsibility for corporate decisions:
if they've nothing to hide, they've nothing to lobby against.

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