OpenSSL Blog

FIPS 140-2: Forward Progress

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The OpenSSL Management Committee (OMC) on behalf of the OpenSSL Project would like to formally express its thanks to the following organisations for agreeing to sponsor the next FIPS validation effort: Akamai Technologies, Blue Cedar, NetApp, Oracle, VMware.

Four weeks ago, the OpenSSL team gathered with many of the organisations sponsoring the next FIPS module for a face-to-face meeting in Brisbane, Australia.

We got a great deal accomplished during that week. Having most of the fips-sponsor organisations in the same location helps ensure that we are all on the same page for the decisions we need to make going forward.

OpenSSL 1.1.1 Is Released

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After two years of work we are excited to be releasing our latest version today - OpenSSL 1.1.1. This is also our new Long Term Support (LTS) version and so we are committing to support it for at least five years.

OpenSSL 1.1.1 has been a huge team effort with nearly 5000 commits having been made from over 200 individual contributors since the release of OpenSSL 1.1.0. These statistics just illustrate the amazing vitality and diversity of the OpenSSL community. The contributions didn’t just come in the form of commits though. There has been a great deal of interest in this new version so thanks needs to be extended to the large number of users who have downloaded the beta releases to test them out and report bugs.

New LTS Release

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Back around the end of 2014 we posted our release strategy. This was the first time we defined support timelines for our releases, and added the concept of an LTS (long-term support) release. At our OMC meeting earlier this month, we picked our next LTS release. This post walks through that announcement, and tries to explain all the implications of it.

Changing the Guiding Principles in Our Security Policy

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“That we remove “We strongly believe that the right to advance patches/info should not be based in any way on paid membership to some forum. You can not pay us to get security patches in advance.” from the security policy and Mark posts a blog entry to explain the change including that we have no current such service.”

At the OpenSSL Management Committee meeting earlier this month we passed the vote above to remove a section our security policy. Part of that vote was that I would write this blog post to explain why we made this change.

At each face to face meeting we aim to ensure that our policies still match the view of the current membership committee at that time, and will vote to change those that don’t.

Prior to 2018 our Security Policy used to contain a lot of background information on why we selected the policy we did, justifying it and adding lots of explanatory detail. We included details of things we’d tried before and things that worked and didn’t work to arrive at our conclusion. At our face to face meeting in London at the end of 2017 we decided to remove a lot of the background information and stick to explaining the policy simply and concisely. I split out what were the guiding principles from the policy into their own list.

OpenSSL has some full-time fellows who are paid from various revenue sources coming into OpenSSL including sponsorship and support contracts. We’ve discussed having the option in the future to allow us to share patches for security issues in advance to these support contract customers. We already share serious issues a little in advance with some OS vendors (and this is still a principle in the policy to do so), and this policy has helped ensure that the patches and advisory get an extra level of testing before being released.

Thankfully there are relatively few serious issues in OpenSSL these days; the last worse than Moderate severity being in February 2017.

In the vote text we wrote that we have “no current such service” and neither do we have any plan right now to create such a service. But we allow ourselves to consider such a possibility in the future now that this principle, which no longer represents the view of the OMC, is removed.

Seeking Last Group of Contributors

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The following is a press release that we just put out about how finishing off our relicensing effort. For the impatient, please see https://license.openssl.org/trying-to-find to help us find the last people; we want to change the license with our next release, which is currently in Alpha, and tentatively set for May.

For background, you can see all posts in the license category.

One copy of the press release is at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/openssl-seeking-last-group-of-contributors-300607162.html.

Using TLS1.3 With OpenSSL

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Note: This is an outdated version of this blog post. This information is now maintained in a wiki page. See here for the latest version.

The forthcoming OpenSSL 1.1.1 release will include support for TLSv1.3. The new release will be binary and API compatible with OpenSSL 1.1.0. In theory, if your application supports OpenSSL 1.1.0, then all you need to do to upgrade is to drop in the new version of OpenSSL when it becomes available and you will automatically start being able to use TLSv1.3. However there are some issues that application developers and deployers need to be aware of. In this blog post I am going to cover some of those things.

Another Face to Face: Email Changes and Crypto Policy

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The OpenSSL OMC met last month for a two-day face-to-face meeting in London, and like previous F2F meetings, most of the team was present and we addressed a great many issues. This blog posts talks about some of them, and most of the others will get their own blog posts, or notices, later. Red Hat graciously hosted us for the two days, and both Red Hat and Cryptsoft covered the costs of their employees who attended.

One of the overall threads of the meeting was about increasing the transparency of the project. By default, everything should be done in public. We decided to try some major changes to email and such.

OpenSSL Wins the Levchin Prize

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Today I have had great pleasure in attending the Real World Crypto 2018 conference in Z├╝rich in order to receive the Levchin prize on behalf of the OpenSSL team.

The Levchin prize for Real World Cryptography recognises up to two groups or individuals each year who have made significant advances in the practice of cryptography and its use in real-world systems. This year one of the two recipients is the OpenSSL team. The other recipient is Hugo Krawczyk.

The team were selected by the selection committee “for dramatic improvements to the code quality of OpenSSL”. You can read the press release here.

We have worked very hard over the last few years to build an active and engaged community around the project. I am very proud of what that community has collectively achieved. Although this prize names specific individuals in the OpenSSL team, I consider ourselves to just be the custodians of the project. In a very real way this prize is for the whole community. It is fantastic to be recognised in this way.

The job is not done though. There is still much work we need to do. I am confident though that our community will work together to achieve what needs to be done.

Steve Marquess

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Steve Marquess is leaving the OpenSSL project as of the 15th of November 2017.

The OpenSSL Management Committee (OMC) would like to wish him all the best for the future.

All communication that used to go to Steve Marquess directly, should now be sent to info@openssl.org in the first instance.

Thanks for your contributions to the project over the years!