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Systemd To Secure Logs With "Forward Secure Sealing"

systemd

Published on 21 August 2012 08:36 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in systemd
30 Comments

Systemd has picked up a new feature -- Forward Secure Sealing (FSS) -- in an attempt to better secure system logs on the local file-system in the event a hacker penetrates the system the logs cannot be modified.

Lennart Poettering has written about systemd's Forward Secure Sealing functionality on his Google+ page. Hackers can still delete the log history to cover-up their intrusion, but they cannot alter them as systemd's FSS uses a cryptographic seal of the system logs at regular intervals. "It works by generating a key pair of "sealing key" and "verification key". The former stays on the machine whose logs are to be protected and is automatically changed in regular intervals (and the previous one securely deleted), the latter should be written down on a piece of paper or stored on your phone or some other secure location (that means: not on the machine whose logs are to be protected). With the verification key at hand you can verify the journals on the machine and be sure that -- if the verification is successful -- log history until the point where the machine was cracked has not been altered a posteriori."

The Forward Secure Sealing is interesting, but many will still need to rely upon an external secured log server since systemd cannot guard against the system log files on the local machine from simply being removed. The FSS feature is based upon the Forward Secure Pseudo Random Generator, which is a cryptography project being done by Lennart's brother at university.

The FSS code is already living in systemd's Git code-base for its next release.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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