[PATCH 1/2] Add support for GPG signature enforcement on booted

George Wilson gcwilson at us.ibm.com
Thu Aug 4 10:12:45 AEST 2016

Timothy Pearson <tpearson at raptorengineering.com> wrote on 08/02/2016
10:20:55 PM:

> From: Timothy Pearson <tpearson at raptorengineering.com>
> To: Nayna <nayna at linux.vnet.ibm.com>
> Cc: sam.mj at au1.ibm.com, petitboot at lists.ozlabs.org, George Wilson/
> Austin/IBM at IBMUS, Dave Heller <hellerda at linux.vnet.ibm.com>,
> ltcgcw at linux.vnet.ibm.com
> Date: 08/02/2016 10:21 PM
> Subject: Re: [PATCH 1/2] Add support for GPG signature enforcement on
> On 08/02/2016 09:32 AM, Nayna wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > Yes, Thanks Sam for bringing it up.
> > And it is good to know  people's interest in secure boot.
> >
> > My work currently covers more of particular aspect of trusted boot at
> > petitboot level.
> I need to be extremely clear that we are *only* interested in secure /
> trusted boot *iff* we retain full, absolute control of the root of trust
> on each machine.  We have no way to use e.g. Intel's "boot guard" system
> where Intel retains control of the root of trust at all times, and in
> fact we have specifically avoided all such hardware due to the severe
> security concerns associated with these centralised security models.

Hi Timothy,

Thanks for this feedback!  It will help us maintain our position, which
I hope you'll find congenial.

I can't speak for IBM or manufacturer polices.  However, our team's
intent from an overall OpenPOWER perspective is to permit owners to sign
their own firmware with their own keys.  Further, we intend for owners to
be able to sign their own host/NV kernels.  We plan to make the full code
for the secure boot and trusted boot features available via the OpenPOWER
github project.  How individual manufacturers choose to apply OpenPOWER
designs is outside of our control.  However, our approach will be
completely open by default with no manufacturer interaction required by
end users to sign their own bits.  I hope that OpenPOWER partners will
see the wisdom of letting customers control their own machines.  Others
in the broader IBM Linux Technology Center team are fully supportive of
(and even demanding) this stance.  So I think we're in violent agreement
with you.


> From what I understand of OpenPOWER, implementing a fully secure boot
> process should be achievable by allowing the owner key to be stored on
> the CPU using special hardware (e.g. changing a switch on the mainboard
> while the machine is powered off to enable key storage mode).
> Furthermore, key update must be achievable by a method that does NOT
> require vendor intervention, signing, or provide any ability for the
> vendor to re-issue a different root of trust for that particular machine
> through a back-door mechanism -- this immediately rules out schemes
> where a customer intermediate key is signed by the vendor under license.
> Let's make sure we keep OpenPOWER open, while still allowing the machine
> owner to achieve a signed, secure, exclusive boot of software
> pre-authorised by that owner.
> Thanks!
> --
> Timothy Pearson
> Raptor Engineering
> +1 (415) 727-8645 (direct line)
> +1 (512) 690-0200 (switchboard)
> https://www.raptorengineering.com

George Wilson
IBM Linux Technology Center
Security Architect  / Security Team Lead
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