Tag Archives: dnssec

The curl year 2012

2012

So what did happen in the curl project during 2012?

First some basic stats

We shipped 6 releases with 199 identified bug fixes and some 40 other changes. That makes on average 33 bug fixes shipped every 61st day or a little over one bug fix done every second day. All this done with about 1000 commits to the git repository, which is roughly the same amount of git activity as 2010 and 2011. We merged commits from 72 different authors, which is a slight increase from the 62 in 2010 and 68 in 2011.

On our main development mailing list, the curl-library list, we now have 1300 subscribers and during 2012 it got about 3500 postings from almost 500 different From addresses. To no surprise, I posted by far the largest amount of mails there (847) with the number two poster being Günter Knauf who posted 151 times. Four more members posted more than 100 times: Steve Holme (145), Dan Fandrich (131), Marc Hoersken (130) and Yang Tse (107). Last year I sent 1175 mails to the same list...

Notable events

I've walked through the biggest changes and fixes and here are the particular ones I found stood out during this otherwise rather calm and laid back curl year. Possibly in a rough order of importance...

  1. We started the year with two security vulnerability announcements, regarding an SSL weakness and an injection flaw. They were reported in 2011 though and we didn't get any further security alerts during 2012 which I think is good. Or a sign that nobody has been looking close enough...
  2. We got two interesting additions in the SSL backend department almost simultaneously. We got native Windows support with the use of the schannel subsystem and we got native Mac OS X support with the use of Darwin SSL. Thanks to these, we can now offer SSL-enabled libcurls on those operating systems without relying on third party SSL libraries.
  3. The VERIFYHOST debacle took off with "security researchers" throwing accusations and insults, ending with us releasing a curl release with the bug removed. It did however unfortunately lead to some follow-up problems in for example the PHP binding.
  4. During the autumn, the brokeness of WSApoll was identified, and we now build libcurl without it and as a result libcurl now works better on Windows!
  5. In an attempt to allow libcurl-using applications to avoid select() and its problems, we introduced the new public function curl_multi_wait. It avoids the FD_SETSIZE limit and makes it harder to screw up...
  6. The overly bloated User-Agent string for the curl tool was dramatically shortened when we cut out all the subsystems/libraries and their version numbers from the string. Now there's only curl and its version number left. Nice and clean.
  7. In July we finally introduced metalink support in the curl tool with the curl 7.27.0 release. It's been one of those things we've discussed for ages that finally came through and became reality.
  8. With the brand new HTTP CONNECT support in the test suite we suddenly could get much improved test cases that does SSL or just tunnel through an HTTP proxy with the CONNECT request. It of course helps us avoid regressions and otherwise improve curl and libcurl.

What didn't happen

  1. I made an attempt to get the spindly hacking going, but I've mostly failed with that effort. I have personally not had enough time and energy to work on it, and the interest from the rest of the world seems luke warm at best.
  2. HTTP pipelining. Linus Nielsen Feltzing has a patch series in the works with a much improved pipelining support for libcurl. I'll write a separate post about it once it gets in. Obviously we failed to merge it before the end of the year.
  3. Some of my friends like to mock me about curl not being completely IPv6 friendly due to its lack of support for Happy Eyeballs, and of course they're right. Making curl just do two connects on IPv6-enabled machines should be a fairly small change but yet I haven't yet managed to get into actually implementing it...
  4. DANE is SSL cert verification with records from DNS thanks to DNSSEC. Firefox has some experiments going and Chrome already supports it. This is a technology that truly can improve HTTPS going forwards and allow us to avoid the annoyingly weak and broken CA model...

I won't promise that any of these will happen during 2013 but I can promise there will be efforts...

The Future

I wrote a separate post a short while ago about the HTTP2 progress, and I expect 2013 to bring much more details and discussions in that area. Will we get SRV record support soon? Or perhaps even URI records? Will some of the recent discussions about new HTTP auth schemes develop into something that will reach the internet in the coming year?

In libcurl we will switch to an internal design that is purely non-blocking with a lot of if-then-that-else source code removed for checks which interface that is used. I'll make a follow-up post with details about that as well as soon as it actually happens.

Our Responsibility

curl and libcurl are considered pillars in the internet world by now. This year I've heard from several places by independent sources how people consider support by curl to be an important driver for internet technology. As long as we don't have it, it hasn't really reached everyone and that things won't get adopted for real in the Internet community until curl has it supported. As father of the project it makes me proud and humble, but I also feel the responsibility of making sure that we continue to do the right thing the right way.

I also realize that this position of ours is not automatically glued to us, we need to keep up the good stuff to make it stick.

cURL

The big protocols

OWASP Sweden once again arranged another interesting meeting, this time with three talks.owasp

The title of the meeting on January 21st here in Stockholm called the protocols "the big ones" (but in Swedish) but I have no idea what kind of measurement they've used or what the small ones are or what other "big protocols" there might be! 😉

First we got to hear HÃ¥vard Eidnes tell us about BGP and that protocol seems to suffer from its share of security problems with the protocol itself but perhaps even more with the actual implementations as one of the bigger recent BGP-related incidents that was spoken about was about how internal routes were leaked to the outside from Pakistan in Feb 2008 which made them block the entire world's access to Youtube. This talk also gave us some insights on the "wild west" of international routing and the lack of control and proper knowledge about who's allowed to route what to where.

There then was a session by Rickard Bellgrim about DNSSEC and even though I've heard talks about this protocol in the past I couldn't but to again feel that man they have a lot of terminology in that world that makes even a basic description fairly hard to keep up with in some parts of it all. And man do they have a lot of signing and keys and fingerprints and trusts going on... Of course DNSSEC is the answer to lots of existing problems with DNS and DNSSEC certainly opens up a range of new fun. The idea to somehow replace the need for ca-certs by storing keys in DNS is interesting, but even though technically working and sound I fear the browser vendors and the CAs of the SSL world won't be very fast to turn the wheels to roll in that direction. DNSSEC certainly makes name resolving a lot more complicated, and I wonder if c-ares should ever get into that game... And BTW, DNSSEC of course doesn't take away the fact that specific implementations may still be vulnerable to security flaws.

The last talk of the evening was about SSL, or rather TLS, held by Fredrik Hesse. He gave us a pretty detailed insight into how the protocol works, and then a fairly detailed overview of the flaws discovered during the last year or so, primarily MD5 and rogue ca certs, the null-prefix cert names and the TLS renegotiation bug. I felt good about already knowing just about everything of what he told us. I can also boast with having corrected the speaker afterward at the pub where we were having our post-talk-beers as he was evidently very OpenSSL focused when he spoke about what SSL libraries can and cannot do.

A great evening. And with good beers too. Thanks to the organizers!

The IPv6 failure being joined by DNSSEC?

In case you haven't read it before, Randy Bush's 55 page PDF slide show named "IPv6 Transition & Operational Reality" is a harsh (but quite accurate) description of how the IPv6 protocol was made, where some of its major problems lie and why the transition is going so slow etc.

I tried to find some official and recent figures or statements from some of the more IPv6-positive people and companies, but I failed to find much updates from after the year 2000 or so...

Speaking of network things that aren't so successfully deployed: DNSSEC. Apparently iis.se (runs the Swedish TLD) tested 10 broadband routers (article and PDF in Swedish only) how well they support this (I believe mainly because .se tries to be a pioneer in DNSSEC), and 7 of the tested ones failed... Personally I've never liked the fact that DNSSEC isn't really crafted to do it securely all the way.