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From: Metztli Information Technology <jose.r.r@metztli.com>
To: Kees Cook <keescook@chromium.org>, Pavel Machek <pavel@ucw.cz>
Cc: linux-kernel@vger.kernel.org, Kangjie Lu <kjlu@umn.edu>,
	tech-board@lists.linux-foundation.org,
	Edward Shishkin <edward.shishkin@gmail.com>,
	Andrew Morton <akpm@linux-foundation.org>,
	Christoph Hellwig <hch@lst.de>
Subject: Re: Report on University of Minnesota Breach-of-Trust Incident
Date: Thu, 06 May 2021 14:02:47 -0700	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <4eb59c7815d86d85e42b50c45f10e47273c5e0e0.camel@metztli.com> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <202105061042.E99B414F0A@keescook>

On Thu, 2021-05-06 at 11:40 -0700, Kees Cook wrote:
> On Thu, May 06, 2021 at 10:26:16AM +0200, Pavel Machek wrote:
> > Hi!
> > 
> > > Report on University of Minnesota Breach-of-Trust Incident
> > > 
> > >         or
> > > 
> > > "An emergency re-review of kernel commits authored by members of
> > > the
> > >  University of Minnesota, due to the Hypocrite Commits research
> > > paper."
> > > 
> > > May 5, 2021
> > 
> > Thanks for doing this. I believe short summary is that there was
> > some
> > deception from UMN researches in 2020:
> > 
> > > 2020 August:
> > >   - "Hypocrite Commits" patches from UMN researchers sent to
> > > kernel developers
> > >     under false identities:
> > >     - Aug 4 13:36-0500
> > >         https://lore.kernel.org/lkml/20200804183650.4024-1-jameslouisebond@gmail.com
> > >     - Aug 9 17:14-0500
> > >         https://lore.kernel.org/lkml/20200809221453.10235-1-jameslouisebond@gmail.com
> > >     - Aug 20 22:12-0500
> > >         https://lore.kernel.org/lkml/20200821031209.21279-1-acostag.ubuntu@gmail.com
> > >     - Aug 20 22:44-0500
> > >         https://lore.kernel.org/lkml/20200821034458.22472-1-acostag.ubuntu@gmail.com
> > >     - Aug 21 02:05-0500
> > >         https://lore.kernel.org/lkml/20200821070537.30317-1-jameslouisebond@gmail.com
> > 
> > But there was no deception from UMN in 2021. Yet, we were
> > spreading... let's say inaccurate information as late as this:
> > 
> > > 2021 April 29:
> > >   - Greg posts an update on the re-review along with some more
> > > reverts.
> > >         https://lore.kernel.org/lkml/20210429130811.3353369-1-gregkh@linuxfoundation.org
> > 
> > # Commits from @umn.edu addresses have been found to be submitted
> > in "bad
> > # faith" to try to test the kernel community's ability to review
> > "known
> > # malicious" changes.
> 
> I would agree that the phrasing here is sub-optimal in that it could
> more clearly separate a few related things (e.g. "malicious change"
> vs
> "valid fix"). If I were writing this, I would have said something
> along
> the lines of:
> 
>   Commits from UMN authors have been found to be submitted with
> intentional
>   flaws to try to test the kernel community's ability to review
> "known
>   malicious" changes. ...
>   During review of all submissions, some patches were found to be
>   unintentionally flawed. ...
>   Out of an abundance of caution all submissions from this group must
> be
>   reverted from the tree and will need to be re-review again. ...
> 
> I would also note that in that thread Greg reviewed all the mentioned
> patches, clearing all but two of them (which were duplicates to
> earlier
> review).
> 
> > UMN apologized. Our reaction to their apology was:
> > 
> > https://lore.kernel.org/lkml/YIV+pLR0nt94q0xQ@kroah.com/#t
> > 
> > Do we owe them apology, too?
> 
> I will defer to Greg on what he thinks his duties are there, but in
> trying to figure out who "we" is, I'll just point out that I
> attempted
> to clarify the incorrect assumptions about the intent of historical
> UMN
> patches, and spoke for the entire TAB (Greg included) here:
> https://lore.kernel.org/lkml/202104221451.292A6ED4@keescook/
> The report repeated this in several places, and we explained our need
> for due diligence.
> 
> -Kees
> 

This has aged well:

"Linux has a problem, which is that with success it is attracting
people with more skill than what it started with, and it is not doing a
very good job of handling that. In fact, it downright stinks at it,
behaving in the worst way it could choose for handling that. [Linux]
have lost quite a number of FS developers who just don't want to deal
with people who know less than they do but are obnoxious and
disrespectful to submissions because they enjoy powertripping...
*[Linux] should develop a culture in which acceptance is more based on
whose code measurably performs well [,i.e, meritocracy, rather] than on
who is friends with whom.*~

< https://lkml.org/lkml/2006/7/21/109 >

Yet when self-believing 'badass' Linux developers engage in what is
essentially masturbation by 'fixing' obsolete security issues[1]
< https://lkml.org/lkml/2020/8/17/174 >
rather than reviewing how 'friend' contributors' patches fit within the
overall kernel development structure, it is to be expected to end up
with a *sabotaged* kernel.

[1] https://www.theregister.com/2020/10/25/linux_5_10_rc1/


Best Professional Regards.

-- 
-- 
Jose R R
http://metztli.it
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  reply	other threads:[~2021-05-06 21:03 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 8+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2021-05-05 17:07 Report on University of Minnesota Breach-of-Trust Incident Kees Cook
2021-05-06  8:26 ` Pavel Machek
2021-05-06 18:40   ` Kees Cook
2021-05-06 21:02     ` Metztli Information Technology [this message]
2021-05-11 15:39       ` Richard Guy Briggs
2021-05-06 21:40     ` Pavel Machek
2021-05-08  1:30 ` Kangjie Lu
2021-05-09 17:56   ` Kees Cook

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