Re: code validation?

From: Edward Cherlin <cherlin_at_pacbell_dot_net>
Date: Wed Feb 23 2005 - 00:51:35 CST

On Tuesday 22 February 2005 12:27, Paul Kinzelman wrote:
> Re: "hash"
> I'm familiar with that stuff (having spent 30 years in the
> computer industry, was a consulting engineer for Digital, may
> it RIP). But I can take the code, insert my insidious
> fraudulent code, and update the hash code, then release the
> CDROM with my fraudulent code to unsuspecting precinct people,
> for instance, and the hash code will check.

But it won't match the hash of the original software, which will
be published. Anyone will be able to download the source, read
as much of it as they like, and compile it using the designated
compiler and libraries, and get the same hash code at the end.

> I was thinking along the lines of using public key encryption.
> If I am releasing code, I could encode the entire
> binary with my private key,

Utterly impractical. Public key encryption is way too slow to use
on a CD of code. What you do is sign the hash code of the CD
with your private key, so that anybody can use your public key
to verify that it came from you.

> and then the precinct people
> or whoever would unencode it with the public key. That way
> you could guarantee that the code that the precinct people
> are using came from me (or whoever is the official releasing
> authority).
> As far as controlling the source, I'd think that any source
> control system with restricted write access would do it.

There is a bit more to setting up a secure server, but yes,
that's the idea. You let anybody submit code, but only a few
people will be able to commit changes. And you don't have to
trust them, since the source code is open for public inspection.

Edward Cherlin
Generalist & activist--Linux, languages, literacy and more
"A knot! Oh, do let me help to undo it!"
--Alice in Wonderland
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Received on Sun Feb 27 17:17:11 2005

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