Today we see more and more attacks on operating systems taking advantage of various technologies, including obsolete cryptographic algorithms and protocols. As such, it is important for an operating system not only to carefully evaluate the new technologies that get introduced, but to also provide a process for phasing out technologies that are no longer relevant. Technologies with no practical use today increase the attack surface of the operating system and more specifically, in the cryptography field, introduce risks such as untrustworthy communication channels, when algorithms and protocols are being used after their useful lifetime.
That risk is not being confined to the users of the obsolete technologies; as the DROWN and other cross-protocol attacks have demonstrated, it is sufficient for a server to only enable a legacy protocol in parallel with the latest one, for all of its users to be vulnerable. Furthermore, the recent cryptographic advances against the SHA-1 algorithm used for digital signatures, demonstrate the need for algorithm agility in modern infrastructures. SHA-1 was an integral part of the Internet and private Public Key Infrastructures and despite that, we must envision a not so distant future with systems that no longer rely on SHA-1 for any cryptographic purpose.
To address the challenges above, with the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.4 beta, we are introducing several cryptographic updates to RHEL and we also are introducing a multitude of new features and enhancements. We continue and extend our protocol deprecation effort started in RHEL 6.9, improve access to kernel-provided PRNG with the getrandom system call, as well as ensure that HTTP/2 supporting technologies like ALPN in TLS, and DTLS 1.2, are supported universally in our operating system. Python applications are also made secure by default by enabling certificate verification by default in TLS sessions. We are also proud to bring the OpenSC smart card drivers into RHEL 7.4, incorporating our in-house developed drivers and merging our work with the OpenSC project community efforts. At the same time, the introduced crypto changes ensure that RHEL 7.4 meets the rigorous security certification requirements for FIPS140-2 cryptographic modules.
Removal of SSH 1.0, SSL 2.0 protocols and EXPORT cipher suites
For reasons underlined in our deprecation of insecure algorithms blog post, that is, to protect applications running in RHEL from severe attacks utilizing obsolete cryptographic protocols and algorithms, the SSH 1.0, SSL 2.0 protocols, as well as those marked as ‘export’ cipher suites will no longer be included in our supported cryptographic components. The SSH 1.0 protocol is removed from the server-side of the OpenSSH component, while support for it will remain on the client side (already disabled by default) to allow communications with legacy equipment. The SSL 2.0 protocol as well as the TLS ‘export’ cipher suites are removed unconditionally from the GnuTLS, NSS, and OpenSSL crypto components. Furthermore, the Diffie-Hellman key exchange is restricted only to values considered acceptable for today’s cryptographic protocols.
Note also, that through our review of accepted legacy hashes in the operating system we have discovered that the OpenSSL component enables obsolete hashes for digital signatures, such as SHA-0, MD5, and MD4. Since these hashes have no practical use today, and to reduce the risk of relying on legacy algorithms, we have decided to deviate from upstream OpenSSL settings and disable these hashes by default for all OpenSSL applications. That change is reversible (see release notes). Note that this issue was discussed with the upstream OpenSSL developers, and although that behavior is known to them, it is kept for backwards compatibility.
Below is a summary of the deprecated protocols and algorithms.
Introduced change Description Reversible SSL 2.0 protocol The shipped TLS libraries will no longer include support for the SSL 2.0 protocol. No. Export TLS ciphersuites The shipped TLS libraries will no longer include support for Export TLS ciphersuites. No. SSH 1.0 protocol The shipped OpenSSH server will no longer include support for SSH 1.0 protocol. No. TLS Diffie-Hellman key exchange Only parameters larger than 1024-bits will be accepted by default. Conditionally (information will be provided in the release notes). Insecure hashes for digital signatures in OpenSSL The MD5, MD4 and SHA-0 algorithms will not be enabled by default for TLS sessions or certificate verification on OpenSSL. Yes. Administrators can revert this setting system-wide (information will be provided in the release notes). RC4 algorithm The algorithm will no longer be enabled by default for OpenSSH sessions. Yes. Administrators can revert this setting system-wide (information will be provided in the release notes).
Phasing out of SHA-1
SHA-1 was published in 1993 and is still in use today in a variety of applications including but not limited to the web PKI. In particular, its primary use case is digital signatures on data, certificates, and OCSP responses. However, there are several known weaknesses on this hash and there was recently a demonstration of collision attack, something that, when combined with the experience of MD5 hash attacks, is an indication that a forged certificate attack may not be far in the future. For that reason, we have ensured that all our cryptographic tools1 which deal with digital signatures will no longer use SHA-1 as the default hash function, but instead switch to SHA2-256, which provides maximum compatibility with older clients.
In addition, to further strengthen the resistance of RHEL to such cryptographic attacks, we have lifted the OpenSSH server and client limitation to SHA-1 for digital signatures, enabling support for SHA2-256 digital signatures.
We do not yet plan to disable SHA-1 system-wide in RHEL 7 as a significant amount of infrastructure still depends on it, and disabling it would severely disrupt operations. Nonetheless, we would like to recommend software engineers working on RHEL to no longer rely on SHA-1 for cryptographic purposes, and system administrators to verify that they no longer use certificates, OCSP stapled responses, or any other cryptographic structure with SHA-1 based signatures.
To verify whether a certificate, OCSP response, or CRL utilize the SHA-1 hash algorithm for signature, you may use the following commands.
Test Command Certificate in FILENAME uses SHA-1
openssl x509 -in FILENAME -text -noout |
grep -i 'Signature.*sha1'
OCSP response in FILENAME uses SHA-1
openssl ocsp -resp_text -respin FILENAME
-noverify | grep -i 'Signature.*sha1'
CRL in FILENAME uses SHA-1
openssl crl -in FILENAME -text -noout |
grep -i 'Signature.*sha1'
HTTP/2 related updates
Modern internet applications strive for low-latency and good responsiveness, and the HTTP/2 protocol is a major driver to that effort. With the introduction of OpenSSL 1.0.2 into RHEL 7.4, we complete across our base crypto stack support for Application Layer Protocol Negotiation (ALPN). This TLS protocol extension enables applications to reduce TLS handshake round-trips by negotiating the application protocol and its version during the handshake process. In practice this is used for applications to signal their HTTP/2 support, eliminating the need for additional round-trips after the TLS connection is established. That, when combined with other kernel features such as TCP fast open, can further fine-tune the TLS session establishment.
DTLS 1.2 for all applications
Additionally, the introduction of OpenSSL 1.0.2 brings support for the Datagram TLS 1.2 (DTLS) protocol in OpenSSL applications, completing that support throughout the TLS stacks on the operating system. That support ensures that applications using the DTLS protocol can take advantage of the secure authenticated encryption (AEAD) cipher suites, eliminating the reliance on CBC cipher suites, which are known to be problematic for DTLS.
Crypto-related Python-language changes
The upstream version of Python 2.7.9 enabled SSL/TLS certificate verification in Python’s standard library modules that provide HTTP client functionality such as urllib, httplib or xmlrpclib. Prior to this change, no certificate verification was performed by default, making Python applications vulnerable to certain classes of attacks in SSL and TLS connections. It was a well known issue for a long time and several applications worked around the issue by implementing their own certificate checks. Despite these work-arounds, in order to ensure that all Python applications are secure by default, and follow a consistent certificate validation process, in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 we incorporate the upstream change and enable certificate verification by default in TLS sessions for all applications.
Crypto-related kernel changes
Despite the fact that the Linux kernel was one of the first to provide interfaces to access cryptographically-secure pseudo-random data via /dev/*random interfaces, these interfaces show their age today. The /dev/random is a system device which when read will provide random data, to the extent assessed by an internal estimator. That is, the device will block when not enough random events, related to internal kernel entropy sources, such as interrupts, CPU, and others, are accumulated. Due to that, the /dev/random interface may seem initially tempting to use. However, in practice /dev/random cannot be relied on; it requires a large amount of random events to be accumulated to provide few bytes of random data, and any use of it during boot time could risk blocking the system indefinitely.
On the other hand, the device /dev/urandom provides access to the same random generator, but will never block, nor apply any restrictions to the number of new random events that must be read in order to provide any output. That is expected, given that modern random generators when sufficiently seeded can provide an enormous amount of output prior to being considered broken in an informational-theoretic sense. Unfortunately, /dev/urandom suffers from a design flaw. When used early in the boot process prior to initialization of the kernel random number generator, it will still output data. How random is the output data is system-specific, but in modern platforms, which provide a CPU-based random generator, that is less of an issue.
To eliminate such risks, RHEL 7.4 introduces the getrandom() system call, which combines the best of the existing interfaces. It can provide non-blocking access to kernel CPRNG and it will block prior to the kernel random generator being initialized. Furthermore, it requires no file descriptor to be carried by application and libraries. The new system call is available through the syscall(2) interface.
Smart card related changes
For long time, RHEL provided the CoolKey smart-card driver for applications to access the PKCS#11 API on smart cards. This driver was limited to the smart cards that we focus on for our operating system, that is, the PIV, CAC, PKCS#15-compliant and CoolKey-applet cards. However, over the years, the community-based OpenSC project, which provided an alternative driver, has managed to provide support for the majority of available smart cards, provide solid code base with support for the industry standard PKCS#11 API, and is already included in our Fedora distribution for many years. Most importantly, however, the project also serves as a healthy example of a community-driven project, with collaborating engineers from diverse backgrounds and technologies.
With that in mind, we have proceeded by merging our projects, by introducing missing drivers and features to OpenSC, as well as by releasing our extensive test suite for smart card support. The outcome of this effort is made available on RHEL 7.4, where the OpenSC component will serve in parallel with the CoolKey component. The latter will remain supported for the lifetime of RHEL 7, however, new hardware enablement will only be available on the OpenSC component.
In the lifetime of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 we plan to deprecate and disable by default the SSL 3.0 protocol and the RC4 cipher from TLS and Kerberos system-wide. Note that we do not plan to remove support for the above algorithms, but disable them for applications, which did not explicitly requested them.
Introduced change Description Reversible SSL 3.0 protocol The shipped TLS libraries will no longer enable support for the SSL 3.0 protocol. This is a protocol which has been superseded by TLS 1.0 for almost two decades, and there is a multitude of attacks towards it. By explicitly enabling the protocol in applications that require it. RC4 The shipped TLS libraries will no longer enable support for the RC4 based ciphersuites by default. Cryptographic advances have shown that accidental usage of that algorithm put applications at risk in relation with data secrecy. By explicitly enabling the ciphersuites in applications that require them.
All of the above changes ensure that Red Hat Enterprise 7 remains a leader in the adoption of new technologies with security built into the OS. Red Hat Enterprise Linux not only carefully evaluates and incorporates new technologies, but technologies that are no longer relevant and pose a security risk are regularly phased out. Specifically, HTTP/2-supporting protocols are made available in all of our cryptographic back-ends. We also align with the community on smart card development not only by bringing our improvements to the OpenSC project, but by introducing it as a fully supported component in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. Furthermore, with the introduction of Datagram TLS 1.2 in OpenSSL, and the updates in OpenSSH in order to support other than SHA-1 cryptographic hashes, we ensure that all Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 applications utilize the right cryptographic algorithms which can resist today’s threats.
On the other hand, we reduce the attack surface of the operating system, by removing support for SSH 1.0, SSL 2.0, and the TLS ‘export’ cipher suites. That is a move which reduces the risk of successful future attacks, at the cost of removal of protocols which are today considered either too risky to use or plain insecure.
The removal of the previously mentioned protocols was an exceptional move because we are convinced that these are primarily used to attack misconfigured systems rather than for real-world use cases. Regarding any future changes, for example the disablement of SSL 3.0 or RC4, we would like to assure that it will be done in a way that systems can revert to the previous behavior when required by local policy.
All of these changes ensure Red Hat Enterprise Linux keeps pace with the reality of the security landscape around us, and improves its strong security foundation.
The above applies to software from the GnuTLS, NSS, and OpenSSL crypto components. ↩
The Java Development Kit (JDK) version 8 provides the Java API for XML Processing (JAXP). If a developer is using JAXP on Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) 7 they need to be aware that Red Hat JBoss EAP 7 ships it's own implementation, with some differences from JDK 8 that are covered in this article.
There have been three issues raised in the month of May 2017 relating to JAXP on Red Hat JBoss EAP 7: CVE-2017-7464, CVE-2017-7465, and CVE-2017-7503. All of the issues are XML External Entity (XXE) vulnerabilities, which have affected Java since 2002. XXE is a type of attack that affects weakly configured XML parsers. A successful attack occurs when XML input contains external entities. Those external entities can do things such as access local network resources, or read local files.
Red Hat maintains it's own fork of Xalan used for XML processing. This was done to avoid certain limitations with the upstream code in a multi-classloader, modular environment, such as Red Hat JBoss EAP. The JDK maintains it's own fork as well, and has made some security improvements which have not been contributed back to the upstream Xalan project. For example a Billion Laughs-style XXE attack is thwarted on OpenJDK 1.8.0_73 by changes that result in an error message such as:
JAXP00010001: The parser has encountered more than "64000" entity expansions in this document; this is the limit imposed by the JDK.
It's important to remember that you only need to be concerned about vulnerabilities affecting XML processing if you don't trust the XML content you are parsing. One way to add trust to XML content is by adding authentication to network-accessible endpoints which are accepting XML content.
The current situation
All of the vulnerabilities relate to JAXP and not to the Web Services specifications JAX-WS and JAX-RS. JAX-WS and JAX-RS are implemented on Red Hat JBoss EAP by Apache CXF and Resteasy. One of the main goals for developers on Red Hat JBoss EAP is to build web services, which is why the distinction is made. If you're doing web service development on Red Hat JBoss EAP 7, these issues will mostly not apply. They affect the use of JAXP directly for XML processing.
There is one place where web services overlap with JAXP, and user code could potentially be affected by one of these vulnerabilities. Section 4.2.4 of the JAX-RS 2.0 specification mandates that EAP 7 must provide MessageBodyReader, and MessageBodyWriter implementations for javax.xml.transform.Source. This is used for processing of JAX-RS requests with
application/*+xmlmedia types. A common way of unmarshaling a javax.xml.transform.Source is to use a TransformerFactory as demonstrated here:
TransformerFactory factory = TransformerFactory.newInstance(); Transformer transformer = factory.newTransformer(); StreamResult xmlOutput=new StreamResult(new StringWriter()); transformer.transform(mySource,xmlOutput); resultXmlStr = xmlOutput.getWriter().toString();
mySourceis of type javax.xml.transform.Source.
In this situation, there is one outstanding issue, CVE-2017-7503, on EAP 7.0.5 which is yet to be resolved. While this is one place where Red Hat JBoss EAP encourages the use of JAXP, the JAX-RS implementation (Resteasy) is not directly affected. Resteasy is not directly affected because it doesn't do any processing of a javax.xml.transform.Source as demonstrated above. It only provides a javax.xml.transform.Source for the developer to transform in their web application code.
CVE-2017-7503 affects processing of XML content from an untrusted source using a javax.xml.transform.TransformerFactory. The only safe way to process untrusted XML content with a TransformerFactory is to use the StAX API. StAX is a safe implementation on EAP 7.0.x because the XML content is not read in it's entirety in order to parse it. As a developer using StAX, you decide which XML stream events you want to react to, so XXE control constructs won't be processed automatically by the parser.
For CVE-2017-7464 and CVE-2017-7465 there are mitigations from OWASP XXE Prevention Cheat Sheet. The specific mitigation for these issues are as follows:
SAXParserFactory parserFactory = SAXParserFactory.newInstance(); parserFactory.setFeature(XMLConstants.FEATURE_SECURE_PROCESSING, true); parserFactory.setFeature("http://apache.org/xml/features/disallow-doctype-decl", true);
TransformerFactory factory = TransformerFactory.newInstance(); factory.setFeature(javax.xml.XMLConstants.FEATURE_SECURE_PROCESSING, true);
How could it be fixed?
On Red Hat JBoss EAP 7.0.x, CVE-2017-7503 is yet to be resolved. In contrast CVE-2017-7464 and CVE-2017-7465 already have mitigations in place so a fix may not be provided in the 7.0.x stream.
Ideally, JAXP implementations would be removed entirely from Red Hat JBoss EAP 7 and rely solely on those from the JDK itself. Removing Xalan from Red Hat JBoss EAP is still being investigated.
A compromise might be to maintain a fork of the JAXP libraries and enable the secure options recommended by OWASP by default in a future major release of Red Hat JBoss EAP 7.Posted: 2017-06-01T13:30:00+00:00
Red Hat Product Security takes pride in the quality and timeliness of its Security Advisories and all the accompanying information we publish for every erratum and vulnerability that we track and fix in our products. There are many ways in which customers and the general public can get notified about those advisories and errata and one of the most commonly used is the rhsa-announce mailing list. This list has been around for nearly 10 years, and we have recently taken steps to increase its usefulness for a wider variety of subscribers.
E Pluribus Mail Unum
The rhsa-announce mailing list was created in November of 2007 with the purpose of delivering information about all security advisories published by Red Hat regardless of the product family they affected. Before rhsa-announce there were two mailing lists, enterprise-watch-list and jboss-watch-list, with the latter having been created earlier that year (March 2007) and the former going way back to March 2003. That is 14 years of security advisories archived publicly in a simple text format that makes it easy for search engines to index them.
Over time our product portfolio expanded and new mailing lists were created, maintaining the usual behavior with rhsa-announce receiving all advisory email and the lists specific to a “product family” received only those that affected those particular products. This led to the creation of rhev-watch-list and storage-watch-list (anyone remembers stronghold-watch-list?), which have been a little less popular (hundreds of subscribers) than the original ones (thousands of subscribers).
As Red Hat’s product portfolio continues to expand this raised a few questions. Are we just going to continue creating new lists? How do we expect interested people to find out about those lists? Is there a better way forward? Well, it turns out there is: mailing lists managed by MailMan can support topics, which is a way to create “sub-lists” inside a list by matching keywords in certain headers. Subscribers can update the topics they subscribe to at any time without having to manage multiple subscriptions and perhaps multiple filters in their email clients. We are therefore making rhsa-announce the one and only mailing list for all Red Hat Security Advisories, with topics support for selecting specific security impacts of the published errata, or specific product families one is interested in, starting on June 1st.
Call to Action: if you currently subscribe to any security advisory mailing list at Red Hat other than rhsa-announce, please unsubscribe from them and select the topics you are interested in at rhsa-announce instead.
Subscribing to Specific Topics in RHSA-Announce
Subscribing to rhsa-announce is very easy: just visit the mailing list information page and follow the instructions in the “Subscribing to RHSA-announce” section; alternatively, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject of “subscribe”. Either method should send you a confirmation email with instructions to confirm your subscription. The subscription section looks like this:
Once you are subscribed, go to the subscription options page, log in, and scroll down to the list of topics to select those that you are interested in (see the screen capture below). You will need your rhsa-announce subscription password to access that page (the one you entered in the WebUI or that MailMan generated for you if you subscribed via email). After selecting your topics of interest, click on “Submit My Changes” at the bottom of the page to save your options.
The topics for Critical, Important, Moderate, and Low severity issues match for every product so, for example, selecting “Critical Severity Issues” delivers email about advisories of Critical impact affecting every Red Hat product. The topics for specific product lines match on every product in that group so “Middleware products issues” matches and delivers all advisory emails, of any severity, concerning our Middleware products.
Unfortunately one cannot subscribe to intersections of topics; it is not possible to subscribe only to “Critical advisories for OpenStack” or similar. The topic subscription is a union of all topics selected. Another detail worth mentioning is that MailMan topic filtering is sometimes “too inclusive”, and some advisories may match more than the expected topics, depending on the contents of some email headers. Topics do not miss a product advisory email, though, they just may sometimes include messages for a product outside the expected group.
If one wishes to unsubscribe from rhsa-announce (or any other list hosted by Red Hat), that can also be done from the list options page or by sending an email to email@example.com with a subject of “unsubscribe”. For other lists the operation is similar: just append “-firstname.lastname@example.org” to the list name to obtain the address to send the unsubscribe command to, such as email@example.com.
Finally, it should be noted that rhsa-announce is not meant for general discussion of advisories; it is a read-only mailing list. Questions regarding advisories can be sent to Red Hat Support or to Red Hat Product Security.
Other Sources of Errata Notifications and Vulnerability Information
While we’re on the subject of receiving notifications about Red Hat Security Advisories and our security errata, it should be mentioned that email is not the only way to get that information. The Product Security section of the Red Hat Customer Portal contains a wealth of information about our advisories, individual CVEs, blog posts, and more. Certain vulnerabilities need special attention sometimes because they are truly severe and sometimes because we feel the need to dispel some myth involving scary logos and catchy names. Those get a more detailed article in the Vulnerability Responses section of the Portal. Logged-in users that have active Red Hat Subscriptions can also proceed to the notifications area of the Customer Portal and select from a nice amount of errata notification options to receive more personalized notifications.
For those interested in automation, in addition to the usual machine-consumable CVRF and OVAL data we have been providing for years, we also provide a Security Data API that everyone is welcome to make reasonable use of and easily query for many kinds of security information they are interested in regarding our products.
As can be seen, there are many options for consuming our published security advisory information. This continues our tradition of providing objective and timely security advice as transparently and openly as possible, something Red Hat Product Security is very proud of.Posted: 2017-05-17T13:30:00+00:00
We have just rolled out an update to the interface of the Red Hat Container Catalog that attempts to answer to the question of whether or not a particular container image available in the Container Catalog can be considered secure. In the interests of transparency providing as much information as available to deploy the right container image for their needs, we are excited about these new capabilities in the Red Hat Container Catalog and wanted to give a little insight on our rationale.
Vulnerability scoring and rating is nothing new in the security ecosystem. We rate the severity of vulnerabilities using our four-point security rating scale where an individual flaw can be rated as Critical, Important, Moderate, or Low. Security errata (RHSA) that are released also are assigned an impact rating based on the highest impact rating of the flaws being fixed in the erratum. These ratings are based solely on the merit of the flaw itself, without any concept of possible impact over time (for example, a Moderate-rated flaw remains Moderate forever because the flaw itself is being rated). While exploitability comes into account when the flaw rating is assigned (in terms of whether it is wormable, remotely exploitable, locally exploitable, etc.), we don’t look at the risk of exploitation over time when assessing it.
Container images, being a static selection of software for a specific purpose, subtly change the way flaws should be rated. The security of a container image is not based on the concept of an isolated system on the host. Users should not expect a container image to remain secure indefinitely. The older a container image, the higher the probability of it containing a security exposure.
Curtis Yanko from Sonatype, during a talk at Red Hat Summit 2016 entitled "Secure Your Enterprise Software Supply Chain with Containers" was quoted as saying that "code ages like milk, not like wine." When we were looking at how to rate or score container images, we felt that this explained it quite well: containers age like milk, not like wine. Old, stale containers are much more likely to contain security risks, while new, fresh containers are less likely. The Red Hat Container Catalog (or more specifically the “Container Health Index”) will rate the container images based on known security flaws and the length of time the software in the container images is exposed to those flaws. Because container trust is temporal, we chose to grade container images with a simple time-based rating system rather than just a vulnerability-based one.
The challenges we faced were to make sure that at a glance the grade was relevant and easy to understand. It had to account for known security exposures and associated age, but could not account for individual users’ relevant risk as we do not know what individual users may be doing with any given container (we can’t know if it is performing some critical action or running a critical service). Each user needs to determine risk based on the Container Health Index, their use-case and any other information available to them.
So, using the line of thought that fresh containers are better than older ones, we use a grading system of A through F to describe the freshness of a container image and associated security exposures. Specifically, the age and the criticality (rated Critical or Important) of the oldest flaw that is applicable to the container image.
As container images age, the scores get worse:
- Grade A: This image does not have any unapplied Critical or Important security errata
- Grade B: This image is affected by Critical (no older than 7 days) or Important (no older than 30 days) security errata
- Grade C: This image is affected by Critical (no older than 30 days) or Important (no older than 90 days) security errata
- Grade D: This image is affected by Critical (no older than 90 days) or Important (no older than 12 months) security errata
- Grade E: This image is affected by Critical or Important security errata no older than 12 months
- Grade F: This image is affected by Critical or Important security errata older than 12 months
- Unknown: This image is missing metadata required to calculate a grade and cannot be scanned
For example, a Grade A container image does not contain known unapplied errata that fix Critical or Important flaws, although the container image may have missing errata that fix Moderate or Low flaws. Ideally you will always be running Grade A containers.
Container images of Grade B may be missing errata that fix flaws of Critical or Important rating, however no missing Critical flaw is older than 7 days and no missing Important flaw is older than 30 days. The number of days is based on the initial date an erratum was released to fix the flaw.
Currently, the information that is required to generate this grade is based on Red Hat errata published for Red Hat products that are available in the RPM packaging format. Containers that include other software layered on top of a Red Hat RPM-based base layer are not included in the grade. In this case, you will need to consider the possible impact of the ungraded components with the underlying container image’s grade and the age of the container itself to determine what is acceptable for you.
While we would love to provide similar ratings to all container images, we currently only rate Red Hat RPM-based container images because of the data available for analysis. We hope to continue to build on the breadth of analytics available on the Red Hat Container Catalog.Posted: 2017-04-25T16:26:09+00:00
As you’ve probably heard, this year’s Red Hat Summit is in Boston May 2-4. Product Security is looking forward to taking over multiple sessions and activities over the course of those 3 days, and we wanted to give you a sneak peek of what we have planned.
There will be A LOT of Product Security sessions including:
Tuesday, May 2
Time Session Title Room 10:15-11:00AM L102598 - Practical OpenSCAP—Security standard compliance and reporting Room 252B 10:15-11:00AM S102106 - Red Hat security roadmap Room 156AB 10:15-11:00AM S104999 - A greybeard's worst nightmare— How Kubernetes and Docker containers are re-defining the Linux OS Room 104AB 11:30AM-12:15PM B104934 - The age of uncertainty: how can we make security better Room 158 11:30AM-12:15PM S105019 - Red Hat container technology strategy Room 153A 12:45-1:15PM Security + Red Hat Insights Expert Exchange at Participation Square, Partner Pavilion 3:30-4:15PM P102235 - The Furry and the Sound: A mock disaster security vulnerability fable Room 156AB 3:30-4:15PM S102603 - OpenShift Roadmap: What's New & What's Next! Room 153B 4:30-5:15PM B103109 - How to survive the Internet of Things: Security Room 155 4:30-5:15PM S104047 - The roadmap for a security-enhanced Red Hat OpenStack Platform Room 151A
Wednesday, May 3
Time Session Title Room 10:15-11:00AM S105084 - Security-Enhanced Linux for mere mortals Room 104AB 11:30AM-12:15PM S103850 - Ten layers of container security Room 156C 3:30-4:14PM LT122001 - Lightning Talks: Infrastructure security Room 101 3:30-5:30PM L99901 - A practical introduction to container security Room 251 3:40-4:00PM Container Catalog Quick Talk Expert Exchange at Participation Square, Partner Pavilion 4:30-5:15PM LT122006 - Red Hat Satellite lightning talks Room 101 4:30-5:15PM S102068 - DevSecOps the open source way Room 104C 4:30-5:15PM S104105 - Securing your container supply chain Room 153B 4:30-5:15PM S104897 - Easily secure your front- and back-end applications with KeyCloak Room 153A
Thursday, May 4
Time Session Title Room 9:50-10:10AM Risk Report Quick Talk Expert Exchange at Participation Square, Partner Pavilion 10:15-11:00AM S111009 - Partner session: Microsoft Room 105 10:15-11:00AM S103174 - Automating security compliance for physical, virtual, cloud, and container environments with Red Hat CloudForms, Red Hat Satellite, and Ansible Tower by Red Hat Room 157C 10:15AM-12:15PM L100049 - Practical SELinux: Writing custom application policy Room 252B 11:30AM-12:15PM S102840 - The security of cryptography Room 156C 11:30AM-12:15PM B103948 - DirtyCow: A game changer? Room 155 3:30-4:15PM B103901 - Perfect Security: A dangerous myth? System security for open source Room 155 3:30-5:30PM L105190 - Proactive security compliance automation with CloudForms, Satellite, OpenSCAP, Insights, and Ansible Tower Room 254A 4:30-5:15PM S104110 - An overview and roadmap of Red Hat Development Suite Room 102A
We are pleased to announce we will be hosting a series of games in Participation Square at Summit that will cover all things security including recent vulnerabilities, product enhancements and more. Come test your knowledge, and win some awesome prizes in the process!
Our games will be live at the following times, so mark your calendars!
Tuesday, May 2
Time Game Room 11:10-11:50AM Product Security Game Show Expert Exchange at Participation Square, Partner Pavilion 1:05-1:45PM Product Security Game Show Expert Exchange at Participation Square, Partner Pavilion 3:00-3:30PM Flawed & Branded Card Game Expert Exchange at Participation Square, Partner Pavilion 5:00-5:30PM Product Security Game Show Expert Exchange at Participation Square, Partner Pavilion 6:30-7:00PM Flawed & Branded Card Game Expert Exchange at Participation Square, Partner Pavilion
Wednesday, May 3
Time Session Title Room 1:00-1:45PM Product Security Game Show Expert Exchange at Participation Square, Partner Pavilion 5:00-5:45PM Product Security Game Show Expert Exchange at Participation Square, Partner Pavilion 5:50-6:20PM Flawed & Branded Card Game Expert Exchange at Participation Square, Partner Pavilion
Thursday, May 4
Time Session Title Room 11:35AM-12:05PM Flawed & Branded Card Game Expert Exchange at Participation Square, Partner Pavilion 12:10-1:00PM Product Security Game Show Expert Exchange at Participation Square, Partner Pavilion
We are looking forward to connecting with you in Boston! Hope to see you there.Posted: 2017-04-19T13:30:00+00:00
Red Hat continues to be a leader in transparency regarding security problems that are discovered in our software and the steps we take to fix them. We publish data about vulnerabilities on our security metrics page and recently launched an API Service that allows easier (and searchable) access to the same data. This data is important to administrators for understanding what known security problems exist and determining what they should do about it.
Pitfalls of comparing version numbers
Comparing version numbers with Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) advisories is a common mistake people, and 3rd party security scanners, make when trying to determine if systems are vulnerable. To truly understand the real risk a system is exposed to by a flaw one must know what the CVE affects, how the vulnerability is fixed, what you have installed, and where it came from in order to be able to properly compare things. The data available from our website can get you started but an understanding of your system is needed to complete the picture.
Suppose someone installs an Apache httpd RPM from a non-Red Hat source and they compare its version with data from one of Red Hat’s CVEs to see if it is affected. Suppose the version of the installed RPM is lower than the one that Red Hat released to fix the CVE. What does that tell you about the vulnerability? Absolutely nothing. The 3rd party httpd RPM may contain an older build of httpd that is unaffected by the CVE (perhaps the flaw was in code introduced at a later date), an older build that is affected by the CVE, a newer build (there’s no guarantee that the 3rd party used the same versioning system as either Apache or Red Hat) that is still affected by the CVE, or a newer version that is not affected by the CVE. Or it may contain an arbitrarily different patchlevel of httpd, containing some patches that Red Hat’s build does not have but excluding others that Red Hat does include. Simply put, there is no useful information that can be gathered from such a simple comparison.
What if a server only has Red Hat software installed, is there something we can say then? Perhaps, but it’s not as simple as most people assume.
First, just because the newest version of a package in a given channel is affected by a CVE - and therefore we release an update to fix it - does not mean that older versions of that package are necessarily affected. Going back and testing for the presence of the vulnerability in all previous versions is not something that is typically done unless there is a good reason. So if you are running an older version and a new package is released that fixes a CVE, that is not a guarantee that you are vulnerable to that CVE. In addition, some CVEs require a combination of packages before the system is vulnerable, eg. kernel-1234 and openssh-5678. Security scanners usually fail to identify such cases and can generate false-positive alerts if only one of the packages is installed or has a lower version.
Second, version comparison is completely untenable when you’re comparing packages from different channels or repositories. A simple example would be comparing a kernel from RHEL 6 with RHEL 7. The kernel you have installed on your RHEL 6 machines is kernel-2.6.32-264.el6. What if Red Hat releases kernel-3.10.0-513.el7 to fix a RHEL 7 CVE? A naive version comparison would lead you to believe that the RHEL 6 kernel is vulnerable, but that may or may not be true. The RHEL 6 kernel may have been patched to fix this vulnerability in 2.6.32-263. Or it may never have been affected in the first place.
In reality no one would compare RHEL 6 packages with RHEL 7 versions. But the same holds true inside a single RHEL version. Red Hat releases software in many different streams: “regular” RHEL and Extended Update Support to name the two most common. You can know for example that kernel-2.6.32-264.el6 is “newer” than kernel-2.6.32-263.el6, but what about kernel-2.6.32-263.4.el6_4 (a hypothetical EUS kernel)? Again a naive version comparison would lead you to believe that the 264.el6 kernel was “newer”, but again it’s impossible to say. The 263.4.el6_4 build may have more patches, fewer, or an arbitrarily different set of patches from the 264.el6 build (technically possible, but highly unlikely in practice).
And the same applies not just to kernels in the major Red Hat product lines, but to all packages in all different channels. Consider a bundled library as part of an add-on product. When presented with a CVE in a bundled library the application developer generally has two options: pull into the application the version of the library that contains the fix (which might have “moved on” and may contain many other changes including new features or API changes, which may require a large revalidation effort at least) or to backport the fix to the old version and branch the version numbers. As soon as you branch the version numbers you have the same problem you do when comparing RHEL with EUS versions. Version comparison is simply not useful when you start backporting fixes to old versions of software in different channels (which Red Hat does constantly for different products). You can only compare versions between software that was intended to end up on the same machine; inside a base channel and child channel combination for example.
Third, even if you account for the above there are still other considerations. CPU architecture can matter. If support for a given architecture was at a developer-preview or beta level when an update was made, then it was probably built from a different source RPM than the “regular” architectures and may have an arbitrarily different version number. Or you might have to consider the RPM’s Epoch. Epoch, while never included in the filename and sometimes not displayed by programs and default settings, is nevertheless the highest priority field (if it exists) in determining which RPM is the “newer” version. Are you sure that the data source and security scanner you are using is considering Epoch? What about the RPM Obsoletes tag?
It’s a complicated problem. Correctly detecting vulnerability against a particular CVE is difficult or perhaps impossible given merely RPM version information. Many 3rd party scanners are unaware of the complexity of the problem, leading to false positives or, worse yet, to false negatives.
Getting the information needed to make a decision
The three data resources that Red Hat provides to help explain vulnerabilities and determine if you are vulnerable are the Common Vulnerability Reporting Framework (CVRF) data, the Common Vulnerability and Exposures (CVE) feed, and the Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language (OVAL) data.
The CVRF data is a representation of the update content itself and is not designed for scanning purposes. CVRF data does help explain the impact of the erratum and how it affects your system.
Likewise the CVE feed helps explain what the vulnerability affects and why you should care. It represents the vulnerability itself but not necessarily how to detect it on your system.
OVAL data is machine-readable data that combines much of what is found in the CVRF and CVE advisories. It provides scanners with the additional information (beyond just version numbers) they need to be able to properly detect vulnerability to a CVE. OpenSCAP is one such OVAL-compliant scanner, and the only scanner that Red Hat currently supports. Currently Red Hat only publishes OVAL data for RHEL, but support for additional products is coming in the future.
And in conclusion...
There are several ways to answer the “am I vulnerable” question. For managing individual systems you can use yum-plugin-security or OpenSCAP. To simultaneously manage multiple systems there are additional subscription options available: Red Hat Insights or Satellite. Insights can detect and warn about a subset of “high priority” issues (and also non-CVE related things like performance-related configurations). Satellite is intended to be a full-service management platform for handling the configuration, provisioning, entitlement, and reporting (including which CVEs are applicable) of Red Hat systems and software.
The security metrics data we provide is very useful for determining “What is the problem”, “How important is it”, and “Should I care”, but to answer the question “Which of my systems are affected” you need something more; something that knows the details of your systems’ channel subscriptions and which version (if any) of the updated packages are applicable to them.Posted: 2017-04-12T13:30:00+00:00
In the first part of this two-part blog we covered certain performance improving features of TLS 1.3, namely 1-RTT handshakes and 0-RTT session resumption. In this part we shall discuss some security and privacy improvements.
Remove Obsolete and insecure cryptographic primitives
Remove RSA Handshakes
When RSA is used for key establishment there is no forward secrecy, which basically means that an adversary can record the encrypted conversation between the client and the server and later if it is able to break the RSA public key (could take years or could be because the attacker was able to get his hands on the private key), all the recorded conversations can be decrypted. In some cases (like when SSLv2 is enabled), RSA key establishment is vulnerable to DROWN. You can still use RSA certificates with TLS 1.3, but all the key establishment has to be done with DH (either finite field or elliptic curve). The primary reason why RSA key exchange was removed was Bleichenbacher and similar attacks; getting PFS is a welcomed bonus.
Remove weak primitives
No CBC mode
This was removed because it is no longer necessary to mark end of handshake - the two first exchanged messages do that. As an aside, ChangeCipherSpec caused famous CCS injection flaw in OpenSSL.
No negotiation compression
Removes the option of negotiating compression which is vulnerable to CRIME.
Replace session renegotiation, with a simple re-key mechanism.
Removing PKCS #1 v1.5 and some ECDHE groups
PKCS #1 v1.5 encryption in the RSA key exchange is removed since it has multiple flaws. PKCS#1 v1.5 signature algorithm, which isn't broken, is removed mostly as a "just in case" and to base the protocol on new cryptographic primitives that were designed from ground up to follow good practice. A lot of weak and non-standard ECDHE groups were removed including the custom FFDHE groups now that we finally have a mechanism for clients to advertise key sizes to server.
New cryptographic features and primitives
Implementations which support TLS 1.3 will also continue supporting TLS 1.2 for a long time to ensure backward compatibility with older clients. This, however, can lead to downgrade attacks.
A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacker could modify the CLIENTHELLO message to trick the TLS server into believing that the client only supports TLS 1.2 and less and then use any flaws discovered in TLS 1.2 to complete the MITM attack (read or modify messages between client and the server). TLS 1.3, however, offers an anti-downgrade feature, which is an enhancement of the previous downgrade mechanism in TLS 1.2 FINISHED messages.
When a TLS 1.3 server gets a request from the client to downgrade the following happens:
If negotiating TLS 1.2, TLS 1.3 servers MUST set the last eight bytes of their Random value to the bytes: 44 4F 57 4E 47 52 44 01
If negotiating TLS 1.1, TLS 1.3 servers MUST, and TLS 1.2 servers SHOULD, set the last eight bytes of their Random value to the bytes: 44 4F 57 4E 47 52 44 00
TLS 1.3 clients receiving a TLS 1.2 or below ServerHello MUST check that the last eight bytes are not equal to either of these values. TLS 1.2 clients SHOULD also check that the last eight bytes are not equal to the second value if the ServerHello indicates TLS 1.1 or below. If a match is found, the client MUST abort the handshake with an “illegal_parameter” alert. This mechanism provides limited protection against downgrade attacks over and above that provided by the Finished exchange. Because the ServerKeyExchange, a message present in TLS 1.2 and below, includes a signature over both random values, it is not possible for an active attacker to modify the random values without detection as long as ephemeral ciphers are used.
New improved session resumption features
Session resumption using tickets and identifiers have been obsoleted by TLS 1.3 and has been replaced by PSK (pre-shared key) mode. A PSK is established on a previous connection after the handshake is completed, and can then be presented by the client on the next visit. Also, forward secrecy can be maintained by limiting the lifetime of PSK identities sensibly. Clients and servers may also choose an (EC)DHE cipher suite for PSK handshakes to provide forward secrecy for every connection, not just the whole session.
New ECC curves
TLS 1.3 includes two additional ECC curves: Curve 25519 and Curve 448. These new curves can easily be implemented in constant time on common hardware (as opposed to the other elliptic curves).
Privacy of certificates during handshake
TLS 1.3 has provision for what it calls "Encrypted Extensions". The server sends the EncryptedExtensions message immediately after the ServerHello message. This is the first message that is encrypted under keys derived from the "server_handshake_traffic_secret". The rest of the handshake after this is encrypted, including certificate transmission of certificates (both client and server). This offers protection of extension data from eavesdropping attackers.
Inclusion of ChaCha20/Poly1305
TLS 1.3 only allows AEAD cipher suites, which means AES-GCM/AES-CCM and ChaCha20-Poly1305 are the only options available. They are intended to improve performance and power consumption in devices with acceleration for AES (note: ChaCha20 is not new in TLS 1.3; it is already supported and deployed in TLS 1.2).
OpenSSL is currently working on including TLS 1.3 support. It seems likely that OpenSSL 1.1.1 will include this.
NSS 3.29 contains support for TLS 1.3, which is enabled by default. Note that although NSS has support for draft versions of TLS 1.3, one can't deploy the current NSS and expect it to work with implementations that will deploy real, finished TLS 1.3, as it doesn't use the same version ID as the finished version will.
Certain fuzzers, like the famous tlsfuzzer, is going to include support for fuzzing TLS 1.3 protocol soon.
Additionally, a regularly updated list of TLS 1.3 implementations is available herePosted: 2017-04-05T13:30:00+00:00
Transport layer Security version 1.3 (TLS 1.3) is the latest version of the SSL/TLS protocol which is currently under development by the IETF. It offers several security and performance improvements as compared to the previous versions. While there are several technical resouces which discuss the finer aspects of this new protocol, this two-part article is a quick reference to new features and major changes in the TLS protocol.
In TLS, before data can be encrypted, a secure channel needs to created. This is achieved via the handshake protocol in which a cipher suite is negotiated between the client and the server and key share materials are exchanged.
The handshake is initiated by the TLS client utilizing a ClientHello message sent to the server. This message contains, among other things, a list of cipher suites which the client is capable of supporting. The server replies to this message in its ServerHello message by picking one of the cipher suites from the client list and, along with it, the server also sends its key share and the site's certificate to the client.
The client receives all of the above, generates its own key share, combines it with the server key share and generates bulk encryption keys for the session. The client then sends the server its key share and sends a FINISHED message which contains a signed hash of all the data which was previously exchanged. The server does the same thing by sending its own FINISHED message.
This ends the handshake and results in a cipher suite and a bulk encryption key being negotiated between the client and the server and takes two full rounds of data exchange.1
TLS 1.3 aims to make this faster by reducing the handshake to just one round trip (1-RTT). In TLS 1.3 the ClientHello not only contains a list of supported ciphers, but also it makes a guess as to what key agreement protocol the server is likely to chose and sends a key share for that particular protocol.
As soon as the server selects the key agreement protocol it sends its own key share and, at the same time, generates the bulk encryption key (since it already has the client key share). In doing so, the computers can switch to encrypted messages one whole round trip in advance. The ServerHello also contains the FINISHED message. The client receives the server key share, generates bulk encryption keys, sends the FINISHED message and is immediately ready to send encrypted data. This results in faster handshakes and better performance.2
Faster Session Resumptions
The TLS protocol has a provision for session resumption. The general idea is to avoid a full handshake by storing the secret information of previous sessions and reusing those when connecting to a host the next time. This drastically reduces latency and CPU usage. However in modern times the session resumption is usually frowned upon because it can easily compromise Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS).
Session resumption can be achieved in one of the two following ways:
In a full handshake the server sends a Session ID as part of the ServerHello message. On a subsequent connection the client can use this session ID and pass it to the server when connecting. Because both server and client have saved the last session’s “secret state” under the session ID they can simply resume the TLS session where they left off.
The second mechanism to resume a TLS session are Session Tickets. This extension transmits the server’s secret state to the client, encrypted with a key only known to the server. That ticket key is protecting the TLS connection now and in the future and is the weak spot an attacker will target. The client will store its secret information for a TLS session along with the ticket received from the server. By transmitting that ticket back to the server at the beginning of the next TLS connection both parties can resume their previous session, given that the server can still access the secret key that was used to encrypt it.
In both of the above methods session resumption is done by using 1-RTT (one round trip). However TLS 1.3 achieves this by using 0-RTT. When a TLS 1.3 client connects to a server, they agree on a session resumption key. If pre-shared keys (PSK) are used the server provides a Session Ticket which can be encrypted using the PSK if required.
During Session resumption, the client sends the Session Ticket in the ClientHello and then immediately, without waiting for the RTT to complete, sends the encrypted data. The server figures out the PSK from the session ticket and uses it to decrypt the data and resume the connection. The client may also send a key share, so that the server and the client can switch to a fresh bulk encryption key for the rest of the session.
There are two possible problems with the above implementation though:
No PFS when using Session Resumption:
Since the PSK is not agreed upon using fresh Diffie Hellman, it does not provide Forward Secrecy against a compromise of the session key. This problem can be solved by rotating the session keys regularly.
This can easily lead to replay attacks:
Since the 0-RTT data does not have any state information associated with it, an attacker could easily resend the 0-RTT message, and the server will decrypt the associated data and act on the data it received. One way to avoid this is to make sure that the server does not perform any "important action" (like transferring secret information or making a financial transaction) based on the 0-RTT data alone. For such operations servers can impose 1-RTT session resumptions.
DTLS has an additional concern: during re-handshake it is not known whether the peer is alive at all. Data sent along with the handshake message may have ended up in a black hole, going no where.
Part 2 of the blog discusses the various cryptographic changes found in TLS 1.3 and their implications.
TLS 1.2 has an extension called "false start", which can reduce the initial handshake to 1-RTT, it bundles the client application data with its FINISHED message. ↩
The roundtrips mentioned are TLS protocol roundtrips, not actual network roundtrips. In reality you have additional roundtrips due to TCP establishment. Most implementations today provide a way to use TCP fast open to reduce that additional round-trip. ↩
Every day we are bombarded with information. Something is always happening somewhere to someone and unfortunately it's rarely good. Looking at this through the lens of information security, NOT getting the right details at the appropriate time could be the difference from stopping and blocking an attack, or being the next sad, tragic headline...
Red Hat Product Security oversees the vulnerability remediation for all of Red Hat's products. Our dual mission of governing guidelines and standards for how our products are composed and delivered is balanced with our in-taking, assessing, and responding to information about security vulnerabilities that might impact those products. Once a flaw has been identified, part of our role is to understand its real impact and try to produce a calm, clear direction to get issues that matter remediated. One big challenge is understanding when something is bad and could cause harm compared with something that is completely terrible and WILL cause major havoc out “in the wild." For the layperson, the facts and the hype can be extremely difficult and time-consuming to separate so that they can act appropriately.
Recent trends in the security field haven't been helping. It seems as if every month there is a new bug that has a cute name, a logo, and a webstore selling stickers and stuffed animals. While awareness of a problem is an excellent goal, oftentimes the flashing blinky text and images obscure how bad (or not) an issue is.
Thankfully, for over 15 years Red Hat Product Security has been providing calm, accurate, timely advice around these types of issues. We're able to separate the hope from the hype, so to speak. To that end, with the meteoric rise of “branded” flaws not stopping in the foreseeable future, Red Hat Product Security developed a special process to help inform our valued subscribers and partners when these situations arise. We call it our Customer Security Awareness (CSAw) process:
We've augmented our processes to include enhanced oversight and handling of these very special issues. Some of these issues could be of such grave risk the need for quick actions and good advice merits extra special handling. Other times we might recognize that a security bug has the potential to have it's own PR agent, we take the right steps so that customers proactively get the appropriate level of information, allowing them to decide how quickly they need to react based on their own risk appetites. We ensure we provide special tools and extra alerts so that when these things really DO matter, the decision makers have the right data to move forward.Posted: 2017-03-22T13:30:00+00:00
At Red Hat, our dedicated Product Security team analyzes threats and vulnerabilities against all our products and provides relevant advice and updates through the Red Hat Customer Portal. Customers can rely on this expertise to help them quickly address the issues that can cause high risks and avoid wasting time or effort on those that don’t.
Red Hat delivers certified, signed, supported versions of the open source solutions that enable cost-effective innovation for the enterprise. This is the Red Hat value chain.
This report explores the state of security risk for Red HatⓇ products for calendar year 2016. We look at key metrics, specific vulnerabilities, and the most common ways that security issues affected users of Red Hat products.
Among our findings:
Looking only at issues affecting base Red Hat Enterprise LinuxⓇ releases, we released 38 Critical security advisories addressing 50 Critical vulnerabilities. Of those issues, 100% had fixes the same or next day after the issue was public.
During that same timeframe, across the whole Red Hat portfolio, 76% of Critical issues had updates to address them the same or next day after the issue was public with 98% addressed within a week of the issue being public.
A catchy name or a flashy headline for a vulnerability doesn't tell much about its risk. The Red Hat Product Security Team helps customers determine a vulnerability’s actual impact. Most 2016 issues that mattered were not branded.
Across all Red Hat products, and for all issue severities, we fixed more than 1,300 vulnerabilities1 by releasing more than 600 security advisories in 2016. Critical2 vulnerabilities pose the most risk to an organization. Most Critical vulnerabilities occur in browser or browser components, so Red Hat Enterprise Linux server installations will generally be affected by far fewer critical vulnerabilities. One way customers can reduce risk when using our modular products is to make sure they install the right variant and review the package set to remove packages they don’t need.
The Red Hat value chain
Red Hat products are based on open source software. Some Red Hat products contain several thousand individual packages, each of which is based on separate, third-party software from upstream projects.
Red Hat engineers play a part in many upstream components, but handling and managing vulnerabilities across thousands of third-party components is a significant task. Red Hat has a dedicated Product Security team that monitors issues affecting Red Hat products and works closely with upstream projects.
For more than 15 years, Red Hat Product Security has been a recognized leader in fixing security flaws across the Linux stack. In 2016, we investigated more than 2,600 vulnerabilities that potentially affected parts of our products, leading to fixes for 1,346 vulnerabilities. That’s a 30% increase over 2015, when the team investigated 2,000.
Vulnerabilities known to Red Hat in advance of being made public are known as “under embargo.” Unlike companies shipping proprietary software, Red Hat is not in sole control of the date each flaw is made public. This is a good thing, as it leads to much shorter times between when a flaw is first reported and when it becomes public. Shorter embargo periods make flaws much less valuable to attackers. They know a flaw in open source is likely to get fixed quickly, shortening their window of opportunity to exploit it.
For 2016, across all products, we knew about 394 (29%) of the vulnerabilities we addressed before making them public, down slightly from 32% in 2015. We expect this figure to vary from year to year. Across all products and vulnerabilities of all severities known to us in advance, the median embargo was seven days. This is much lower than 2015, when the median embargo was 13 days.
Figure 2: Red Hat Product Security monitors multiple sources to identify vulnerabilities. The value of your Red Hat subscription at work.
The full report is available for download.
Red Hat Product Security assigns a Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) name to every security issue we fix. In this report, we equate vulnerabilities to CVEs. ↩
Red Hat rates vulnerabilities on a four-point scale that shows at a glance how much concern Red Hat has about each security issue. The scale rates vulnerabilities as Low, Moderate, Important, or Critical. By definition, a Critical vulnerability is one that could be exploited remotely and automatically by a worm. However we, like other vendors, also stretch the definition to include those flaws that affect web browsers or plug-ins where a user only needs to visit a malicious (or compromised) website to be exploited. ↩