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Re: Improved Debian Project Emergency Communications (was Re: communication structures crumbled)

On Fri, Nov 28, 2003 at 04:14:19AM -0800, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> I'll disagree with Martin's comment that the server compromise didn't
> constitute a security issue despite the lack of an archive compromise.
> For someone well versed in Debian procedures, it might have been
> plausible that the archives themselves weren't compromised.  For a
> typical user, I don't think this was the case.  For the typical user's
> management or clients, it's very likely _not_ the case, and a timely
> positive statement of status would be very, very helpful.
> Security affecting Debian servers _potentially_ affects Debian packages.
> As it was, I cleared my locale package cache and stopped updates on
> hearing about the compromise.  It wasn't for another few hours that I
> was aware that the archive was reportedly _not_ compromised.
> In the absense of any information, the security status of Debian project
> packages in the event of a known or rumored server compromise is at best
> unknown.

It wasn't clear to me that the packages that I had downloaded were
safe, and it even wasn't clear after reading that the archives were
safe.  I suggest some phrase like "packages in the debian archive" or
just "debian packages."

The reason is that "archive" usually means something covering
(ancient) history.  I initially thought it referred to the mailing
list archives.  If I'd thought harder, I might have thought it
referred to past debian packages (which I think are provided via
snapshot.debian.org?? I've never used them).

Perhaps I should have known better, but since the confusion seems
pretty easy, and pretty easy to fix, I suggest fixing it if we should
ever have such an unfortunate incident again.

Thanks to all those who worked so hard to detect, and then correct,
this problem.

Ross Boylan

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