Qubes Canary 035

We have published Qubes Canary 035. The text of this canary and its accompanying cryptographic signatures are reproduced below. For an explanation of this announcement and instructions for authenticating this canary, please see the end of this announcement.

Qubes Canary 035

                    ---===[ Qubes Canary 035 ]===---


The Qubes security team members who have digitally signed this file [1]
state the following:

1. The date of issue of this canary is May 22, 2023.

2. There have been 89 Qubes security bulletins published so far.

3. The Qubes Master Signing Key fingerprint is:

       427F 11FD 0FAA 4B08 0123  F01C DDFA 1A3E 3687 9494

4. No warrants have ever been served to us with regard to the Qubes OS
   Project (e.g. to hand out the private signing keys or to introduce

5. We plan to publish the next of these canary statements in the first
   fourteen days of September 2023. Special note should be taken if no new
   canary is published by that time or if the list of statements changes
   without plausible explanation.

Special announcements


Disclaimers and notes

We would like to remind you that Qubes OS has been designed under the
assumption that all relevant infrastructure is permanently compromised.
This means that we assume NO trust in any of the servers or services
which host or provide any Qubes-related data, in particular, software
updates, source code repositories, and Qubes ISO downloads.

This canary scheme is not infallible. Although signing the declaration
makes it very difficult for a third party to produce arbitrary
declarations, it does not prevent them from using force or other means,
like blackmail or compromising the signers' laptops, to coerce us to
produce false declarations.

The proof of freshness provided below serves to demonstrate that this
canary could not have been created prior to the date stated. It shows
that a series of canaries was not created in advance.

This declaration is merely a best effort and is provided without any
guarantee or warranty. It is not legally binding in any way to anybody.
None of the signers should be ever held legally responsible for any of
the statements made here.

Proof of freshness

Mon, 22 May 2023 08:16:45 +0000

Source: DER SPIEGEL - International (https://www.spiegel.de/international/index.rss)
Interview with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg: "Two Percent Is the Minimum of What We Need"
Interview with Jordanian Foreign Minister Safadi: "Russia in Syria Is a Stabilizing Factor Compared To the Alternative"
Yevgeny Prigozhin's Meat Grinder: A Moment of Truth for Russia's Wagner Group in Bakhmut
The Three Worlds of Xinjiang: A Trip Through China's Uyghur Region
Operation Counterstrike: What Might the Approaching Ukrainian Offensive Achieve?

Source: NYT > World News (https://rss.nytimes.com/services/xml/rss/nyt/World.xml)
Greece Elections: New Democracy on Track to Win Most Votes
As Russia Claims Victory in Bakhmut, Ukraine Sees Opportunity Amid Ruins
Biden Announces More Aid for Ukraine as G7 Powers Meet in Japan
Sudan’s Warring Sides Agree to Weeklong Ceasefire
Inside the Barbecue City That Is China’s Hottest Tourist Destination

Source: BBC News - World (https://feeds.bbci.co.uk/news/world/rss.xml)
Ukraine war: Bakhmut 'not occupied' by Russia, says defiant Zelensky
Greek election: Centre-right Mitsotakis hails big win but wants majority
Thousands mass for pro-EU rally in Moldovan capital, amid tensions with Russia
US debt ceiling: Joe Biden urges Republicans to compromise as talks resume
Watch: Green flash as meteor blazes across sky in Australia

Source: Blockchain.info


[1] This file should be signed in two ways: (1) via detached PGP
signatures by each of the signers, distributed together with this canary
in the qubes-secpack.git repo, and (2) via digital signatures on the
corresponding qubes-secpack.git repo tags. [2]

[2] Don't just trust the contents of this file blindly! Verify the
digital signatures! Instructions for doing so are documented here:

The Qubes Security Team

Source: https://github.com/QubesOS/qubes-secpack/blob/main/canaries/canary-035-2023.txt

Marek Marczykowski-Górecki’s PGP signature



Source: https://github.com/QubesOS/qubes-secpack/blob/main/canaries/canary-035-2023.txt.sig.marmarek

Simon Gaiser (aka HW42)’s PGP signature



Source: https://github.com/QubesOS/qubes-secpack/blob/main/canaries/canary-035-2023.txt.sig.simon

What is the purpose of this announcement?

The purpose of this announcement is to inform the Qubes community that a new Qubes canary has been published.

What is a Qubes canary?

A Qubes canary is a security announcement periodically issued by the Qubes security team consisting of several statements to the effect that the signers of the canary have not been compromised. The idea is that, as long as signed canaries including such statements continue to be published, all is well. However, if the canaries should suddenly cease, if one or more signers begin declining to sign them, or if the included statements change significantly without plausible explanation, then this may indicate that something has gone wrong. A list of all canaries is available here.

The name originates from the practice in which miners would bring caged canaries into coal mines. If the level of methane gas in the mine reached a dangerous level, the canary would die, indicating to miners that they should evacuate. (See the Wikipedia article on warrant canaries for more information, but bear in mind that Qubes Canaries are not strictly limited to legal warrants.)

Why should I care about canaries?

Canaries provide an important indication about the security status of the project. If the canary is healthy, it’s a strong sign that things are running normally. However, if the canary is unhealthy, it could mean that the project or its members are being coerced in some way.

What are some signs of an unhealthy canary?

Here is a non-exhaustive list of examples:

  • Dead canary. In each canary, we state a window of time during which you should expect the next canary to be published. If no canary is published within that window of time and no good explanation is provided for missing the deadline, then the canary has died.
  • Missing statement(s). Every canary contains the same set of statements (sometimes along with special announcements, which are not the same in every canary). If an important statement was present in older canaries but suddenly goes missing from new canaries with no correction or explanation, then this may be an indication that the signers can no longer truthfully make that statement.
  • Missing signature(s). Qubes canaries are signed by the members of the Qubes security team (see below). If one of them has been signing all canaries but suddenly and permanently stops signing new canaries without any explanation, then this may indicate that this person is under duress or can no longer truthfully sign the statements contained in the canary.

No, there are many canary-related possibilities that should not worry you. Here is a non-exhaustive list of examples:

  • Unusual reposts. The only canaries that matter are the ones that are validly signed in the Qubes security pack (qubes-secpack). Reposts of canaries (like the one in this announcement) do not have any authority (except insofar as they reproduce validly-signed text from the qubes-secpack). If the actual canary in the qubes-secpack is healthy, but reposts are late, absent, or modified on the website, mailing lists, forum, or social media platforms, you should not be concerned about the canary.
  • Last-minute signature(s). If the canary is signed at the last minute but before the deadline, that’s okay. (People get busy and procrastinate sometimes.)
  • Signatures at different times. If one signature is earlier or later than the other, but both are present within a reasonable period of time, that’s okay. (For example, sometimes one signer is out of town, but we try to plan the deadlines around this.)
  • Permitted changes. If something about a canary changes without violating any of statements in prior canaries, that’s okay. (For example, canaries are usually scheduled for the first fourteen days of a given month, but there’s no rule that says they have to be.)
  • Unusual but planned changes. If something unusual happens, but it was announced in advance, and the appropriate statements are signed, that’s okay (e.g., when Joanna left the security team and Simon joined it).

In general, it would not be realistic for an organization to exist that never changed, had zero turnover, and never made mistakes. Therefore, it would be reasonable to expect such events to occur periodically, and it would be unreasonable to regard every unusual or unexpected canary-related event as a sign of compromise. For example, if something usual happens with a canary, and we say it was a mistake and correct it, you will have to decide for yourself whether it’s more likely that it really was just a mistake or that something is wrong and that this is how we chose to send you a subtle signal about it. This will require you to think carefully about which among many possible scenarios is most likely given the evidence available to you. Since this is fundamentally a matter of judgment, canaries are ultimately a social scheme, not a technical one.

What are the PGP signatures that accompany canaries?

A PGP signature is a cryptographic digital signature made in accordance with the OpenPGP standard. PGP signatures can be cryptographically verified with programs like GNU Privacy Guard (GPG). The Qubes security team cryptographically signs all canaries so that Qubes users have a reliable way to check whether canaries are genuine. The only way to be certain that a canary is authentic is by verifying its PGP signatures.

Why should I care whether a canary is authentic?

If you fail to notice that a canary is unhealthy or has died, you may continue to trust the Qubes security team even after they have signaled via the canary (or lack thereof) that they been compromised or coerced. Falsified canaries could include manipulated text designed to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the security of Qubes OS or the status of the Qubes OS Project.

How do I verify the PGP signatures on a canary?

The following command-line instructions assume a Linux system with git and gpg installed. (See here for Windows and Mac options.)

  1. Obtain the Qubes Master Signing Key (QMSK), e.g.:

    $ gpg --fetch-keys https://keys.qubes-os.org/keys/qubes-master-signing-key.asc
    gpg: directory '/home/user/.gnupg' created
    gpg: keybox '/home/user/.gnupg/pubring.kbx' created
    gpg: requesting key from 'https://keys.qubes-os.org/keys/qubes-master-signing-key.asc'
    gpg: /home/user/.gnupg/trustdb.gpg: trustdb created
    gpg: key DDFA1A3E36879494: public key "Qubes Master Signing Key" imported
    gpg: Total number processed: 1
    gpg:               imported: 1

    (See here for more ways to obtain the QMSK.)

  2. View the fingerprint of the PGP key you just imported. (Note: gpg> indicates a prompt inside of the GnuPG program. Type what appears after it when prompted.)

    $ gpg --edit-key 0x427F11FD0FAA4B080123F01CDDFA1A3E36879494
    gpg (GnuPG) 2.2.27; Copyright (C) 2021 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
    This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
    There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.
    pub  rsa4096/DDFA1A3E36879494
         created: 2010-04-01  expires: never       usage: SC
         trust: unknown       validity: unknown
    [ unknown] (1). Qubes Master Signing Key
    gpg> fpr
    pub   rsa4096/DDFA1A3E36879494 2010-04-01 Qubes Master Signing Key
     Primary key fingerprint: 427F 11FD 0FAA 4B08 0123  F01C DDFA 1A3E 3687 9494
  3. Important: At this point, you still don’t know whether the key you just imported is the genuine QMSK or a forgery. In order for this entire procedure to provide meaningful security benefits, you must authenticate the QMSK out-of-band. Do not skip this step! The standard method is to obtain the QMSK fingerprint from multiple independent sources in several different ways and check to see whether they match the key you just imported. See here for more details and ideas for how to do that.

    Tip: Record the genuine QMSK fingerprint in a safe place (or several) so that you don’t have to repeat this step in the future.

  4. Once you are satisfied that you have the genuine QMSK, set its trust level to 5 (“ultimate”), then quit GnuPG with q.

    gpg> trust
    pub  rsa4096/DDFA1A3E36879494
         created: 2010-04-01  expires: never       usage: SC
         trust: unknown       validity: unknown
    [ unknown] (1). Qubes Master Signing Key
    Please decide how far you trust this user to correctly verify other users' keys
    (by looking at passports, checking fingerprints from different sources, etc.)
      1 = I don't know or won't say
      2 = I do NOT trust
      3 = I trust marginally
      4 = I trust fully
      5 = I trust ultimately
      m = back to the main menu
    Your decision? 5
    Do you really want to set this key to ultimate trust? (y/N) y
    pub  rsa4096/DDFA1A3E36879494
         created: 2010-04-01  expires: never       usage: SC
         trust: ultimate      validity: unknown
    [ unknown] (1). Qubes Master Signing Key
    Please note that the shown key validity is not necessarily correct
    unless you restart the program.
    gpg> q
  5. Use Git to clone the qubes-secpack repo.

    $ git clone https://github.com/QubesOS/qubes-secpack.git
    Cloning into 'qubes-secpack'...
    remote: Enumerating objects: 4065, done.
    remote: Counting objects: 100% (1474/1474), done.
    remote: Compressing objects: 100% (742/742), done.
    remote: Total 4065 (delta 743), reused 1413 (delta 731), pack-reused 2591
    Receiving objects: 100% (4065/4065), 1.64 MiB | 2.53 MiB/s, done.
    Resolving deltas: 100% (1910/1910), done.
  6. Import the included PGP keys. (See our PGP key policies for important information about these keys.)

    $ gpg --import qubes-secpack/keys/*/*
    gpg: key 063938BA42CFA724: public key "Marek Marczykowski-GĂłrecki (Qubes OS signing key)" imported
    gpg: qubes-secpack/keys/core-devs/retired: read error: Is a directory
    gpg: no valid OpenPGP data found.
    gpg: key 8C05216CE09C093C: 1 signature not checked due to a missing key
    gpg: key 8C05216CE09C093C: public key "HW42 (Qubes Signing Key)" imported
    gpg: key DA0434BC706E1FCF: public key "Simon Gaiser (Qubes OS signing key)" imported
    gpg: key 8CE137352A019A17: 2 signatures not checked due to missing keys
    gpg: key 8CE137352A019A17: public key "Andrew David Wong (Qubes Documentation Signing Key)" imported
    gpg: key AAA743B42FBC07A9: public key "Brennan Novak (Qubes Website & Documentation Signing)" imported
    gpg: key B6A0BB95CA74A5C3: public key "Joanna Rutkowska (Qubes Documentation Signing Key)" imported
    gpg: key F32894BE9684938A: public key "Marek Marczykowski-GĂłrecki (Qubes Documentation Signing Key)" imported
    gpg: key 6E7A27B909DAFB92: public key "Hakisho Nukama (Qubes Documentation Signing Key)" imported
    gpg: key 485C7504F27D0A72: 1 signature not checked due to a missing key
    gpg: key 485C7504F27D0A72: public key "Sven Semmler (Qubes Documentation Signing Key)" imported
    gpg: key BB52274595B71262: public key "unman (Qubes Documentation Signing Key)" imported
    gpg: key DC2F3678D272F2A8: 1 signature not checked due to a missing key
    gpg: key DC2F3678D272F2A8: public key "Wojtek Porczyk (Qubes OS documentation signing key)" imported
    gpg: key FD64F4F9E9720C4D: 1 signature not checked due to a missing key
    gpg: key FD64F4F9E9720C4D: public key "Zrubi (Qubes Documentation Signing Key)" imported
    gpg: key DDFA1A3E36879494: "Qubes Master Signing Key" not changed
    gpg: key 1848792F9E2795E9: public key "Qubes OS Release 4 Signing Key" imported
    gpg: qubes-secpack/keys/release-keys/retired: read error: Is a directory
    gpg: no valid OpenPGP data found.
    gpg: key D655A4F21830E06A: public key "Marek Marczykowski-GĂłrecki (Qubes security pack)" imported
    gpg: key ACC2602F3F48CB21: public key "Qubes OS Security Team" imported
    gpg: qubes-secpack/keys/security-team/retired: read error: Is a directory
    gpg: no valid OpenPGP data found.
    gpg: key 4AC18DE1112E1490: public key "Simon Gaiser (Qubes Security Pack signing key)" imported
    gpg: Total number processed: 17
    gpg:               imported: 16
    gpg:              unchanged: 1
    gpg: marginals needed: 3  completes needed: 1  trust model: pgp
    gpg: depth: 0  valid:   1  signed:   6  trust: 0-, 0q, 0n, 0m, 0f, 1u
    gpg: depth: 1  valid:   6  signed:   0  trust: 6-, 0q, 0n, 0m, 0f, 0u
  7. Verify signed Git tags.

    $ cd qubes-secpack/
    $ git tag -v `git describe`
    object 266e14a6fae57c9a91362c9ac784d3a891f4d351
    type commit
    tag marmarek_sec_266e14a6
    tagger Marek Marczykowski-GĂłrecki 1677757924 +0100
    Tag for commit 266e14a6fae57c9a91362c9ac784d3a891f4d351
    gpg: Signature made Thu 02 Mar 2023 03:52:04 AM PST
    gpg:                using RSA key 2D1771FE4D767EDC76B089FAD655A4F21830E06A
    gpg: Good signature from "Marek Marczykowski-GĂłrecki (Qubes security pack)" [full]

    The exact output will differ, but the final line should always start with gpg: Good signature from... followed by an appropriate key. The [full] indicates full trust, which this key inherits in virtue of being validly signed by the QMSK.

  8. Verify PGP signatures, e.g.:

    $ cd QSBs/
    $ gpg --verify qsb-087-2022.txt.sig.marmarek qsb-087-2022.txt
    gpg: Signature made Wed 23 Nov 2022 04:05:51 AM PST
    gpg:                using RSA key 2D1771FE4D767EDC76B089FAD655A4F21830E06A
    gpg: Good signature from "Marek Marczykowski-GĂłrecki (Qubes security pack)" [full]
    $ gpg --verify qsb-087-2022.txt.sig.simon qsb-087-2022.txt
    gpg: Signature made Wed 23 Nov 2022 03:50:42 AM PST
    gpg:                using RSA key EA18E7F040C41DDAEFE9AA0F4AC18DE1112E1490
    gpg: Good signature from "Simon Gaiser (Qubes Security Pack signing key)" [full]
    $ cd ../canaries/
    $ gpg --verify canary-034-2023.txt.sig.marmarek canary-034-2023.txt
    gpg: Signature made Thu 02 Mar 2023 03:51:48 AM PST
    gpg:                using RSA key 2D1771FE4D767EDC76B089FAD655A4F21830E06A
    gpg: Good signature from "Marek Marczykowski-GĂłrecki (Qubes security pack)" [full]
    $ gpg --verify canary-034-2023.txt.sig.simon canary-034-2023.txt
    gpg: Signature made Thu 02 Mar 2023 01:47:52 AM PST
    gpg:                using RSA key EA18E7F040C41DDAEFE9AA0F4AC18DE1112E1490
    gpg: Good signature from "Simon Gaiser (Qubes Security Pack signing key)" [full]

    Again, the exact output will differ, but the final line of output from each gpg --verify command should always start with gpg: Good signature from... followed by an appropriate key.

For this announcement (Qubes Canary 035), the commands are:

$ gpg --verify canary-035-2023.txt.sig.marmarek canary-035-2023.txt
$ gpg --verify canary-035-2023.txt.sig.simon canary-035-2023.txt

You can also verify the signatures directly from this announcement in addition to or instead of verifying the files from the qubes-secpack. Simply copy and paste the Qubes Canary 035 text into a plain text file and do the same for both signature files. Then, perform the same authentication steps as listed above, substituting the filenames above with the names of the files you just created.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.qubes-os.org/news/2023/05/22/canary-035/
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