That multisignature/blockchain commitment idea seems really solid, Peter. Thanks very much indeed everyone, this is all very helpful. Much to research and think about.
Interestingly, a thread is presently raging on liberationtech about Tor Browser Bundle, and the subject of automatic updates has come up. Gregory Maxwell responded thusly (cross-posting for completeness): > _please_ don't deploy automatic updates in a sensitive environment > like this without at least quorum signatures (like gitian downloader) > and timed quarantine with negative signatures (harder to make strong > absent a jamming proof network). -wendell grabhive.com | twitter.com/grabhive | gpg: 6C0C9411 On Aug 5, 2013, at 7:49 PM, Peter Todd wrote: > Gregory Maxwell had some good ideas along these lines at the san jose > conference. Extending gitian with these kinds of features would be a good > approach. > > But I think its worth thinking about attack models. A huge danger with > auto-updating is that it is easy to target individuals; if I leave > auto-updates on I am essentially trusting the developers capable of signing > an update not to specifically try to attack me in the future, a much more > risky thing to do than simply trusting them not to release a malicious > release. > > Sure you can try to implement anonymous downloads and similar mechanisms, but > they all tend to be fragile with regard to deanonymization attacks. > > A better way is to ensure that the act of making a release available for > download must be public, even if you can control what binaries are made > available to a particular target. You can do this by putting a commitment in > the blockchain itself. Each person on the signing list creates a transaction > with a special form from a specific pubkey that commits to the digest of the > binaries, and the auto-update code refuses to update unless it sees that > special transaction with a sufficient number of confirmations. The developers > now can't make a special release for a specific target without letting the > world know they did so, even under coercion. > > They developers could of course still make a release with code inside > targeting a specific individual, but in theory at least the public can check > if their builds are reproducible, and start asking questions why not?
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