Security leak: Public disclosure of user data without their consent by installing software via pkg

Shawn Webb shawn.webb at
Thu Apr 8 16:24:05 UTC 2021

On Thu, Apr 08, 2021 at 04:50:17AM +0200, Stefan Blachmann wrote:
> The answers I got from both "Security Officers" surprised me so much
> that I had to let that settle a bit to understand the implications.
> Looking at the FreeBSD Porters' Handbook
> [],
> it describes the purpose of the package pre- and postinstallation
> scripts as to "set up the package so that it is as ready to use as
> possible".
> It explicitly names only a few actions that are forbidden for them to
> do: "...must not be abused to start services, stop services, or run
> any other commands that will modify the currently running system."
> Anything else is apparently deemed “allowed”.
> Spying out the machine and its configuration, sending that data to an
> external entity – perfectly OK. Not a problem at all.
> This has been proved by the handling of this last BSDstats security
> incident, where the FreeBSD “pkg” utility is being abused to run
> spyware without the users’ pre-knowledge and without his content.
> This abuse is apparently being considered acceptable by both FreeBSD
> and HardenedBSD security officers.
> Instead of taking action, you "security officers" tell the FreeBSD
> users that it is their own guilt that they got “pwnd”.
> Just because they trustingly installed software from the package repo
> hosted by FreeBSD, without religiously-carefully auditing every and
> each packages' pre- and postinstallation script before actual install,
> using the “pkg -I” option.
> Indeed, I felt very surprised that the “Security Officer” of “Hardened
> BSD” chimed in, only to publicly demonstrate his lack of competence to
> recognize obvious security problems.
> Like two fish caught with a single hook!

1. Ad hominem much? I understand the underlying problem very well.
2. Your hostility is incredibly annoying.
3. You attribute malice where there is none.
4. This is volunteer work, where volunteers have everyones well-being
   in mind.
5. Threatening to go to journalists accomplishes... what? What makes
   you think journalists are NOT paying attention to this list? What
   makes you think journalists care about you?
6. I really, really, really, really, really hate the "Karen" meme. But
   it fits incredibly well here.
7. Where can I review your patches that fix the problem?
8. Entitlement mentality much?

Sure, the bsdstats package shouldn't submit just on "pkg install."
Instead of fixing the problem, you went the hostile route.

I'm sure you won't learn anything from this, but I hope you do. To me,
it reinforces how random people feel entitled to force their will on


Shawn Webb
Cofounder / Security Engineer
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 833 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the freebsd-security mailing list