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Status Future consideration
Workspace AIX
Created by Guest
Created on Jun 5, 2023

Improved method to securely verify AIX filesets and install images

Currently, the only way to securely verify AIX filesets is during an install operation with the chsignpolicy command set, but even this requires installing the bos.rte.install and bos.dsc filesets in order to obtain the fileset signatures.

AIX should provide a way to verify the integrity of install/update filesets and images that does not require first installing a fileset that has not been verified itself. Requiring the bos.dsc fileset to be installed first makes things particularly challenging when attempting to verify the integrity of files on a NIM server prior to install.

Something like Red Hat has documented could be ideal:

Here, Red Hat signs rpm packages with a GPG private key and then distributes a GPG public key. Users can then verify rpm packages using just the GPG public key and the rpm command itself as the signature information is contained within the individual rpm packages.

Idea priority Medium
  • Guest
    Jun 6, 2023

    The process itself should be no more difficult than pulling down a fixpack. When installing the securityfixes LPP should be used, and we should not need to remove the fixes to install then next fixpack, LPP should know how to do this. We should not need to search for what is needed, the fixes should be released on a regular cadence and be and extension of the OS level command rather than the hack that is now.

  • Guest
    Jun 5, 2023

    This catch-22 way for downloading and verifying code is really awkward. It is already difficult to validate IBM downloads by checksum or signature for authenticity. Then we get a partial implementation of package signing requiring the installation of untrusted packages BEFORE installing trusted ones? That's as bad as the cksum.bff with VIO updates, advising us to RUN A DOWNLOADED SCRIPT AS ROOT to confirm our software.

    To stand up and be a beacon of best practices and security, IBM should:

    - Make every download come with SHA256/512 hashes and an attached text file of all the hashes, signed by a well known public IBM PGP key.

    - Update LPP to integrate signing into the inventory of each package. The LPP archive should contain it's own list of checksums and a signature against the certificates in /etc/security/cert for validation. If the certificate doesn't match when it should have come from IBM, it should HALT immediately instead of just logging a warning.

    Ultimately I should be able to download an entire service pack from IBM and either verify it on my PC via sha256sum and GPG, or place the files into an LPP_SOURCE on NIM and hit "confirm all packages are valid" without installing or trusting anything from that download.

    1 reply