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Bug 86012 - RPM seems unable to find (GPG) RSA keys for verifying signatures
Summary: RPM seems unable to find (GPG) RSA keys for verifying signatures
Alias: None
Product: Red Hat Linux
Classification: Retired
Component: rpm
Version: 8.0
Hardware: i686
OS: Linux
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: Jeff Johnson
QA Contact: Mike McLean
Depends On:
TreeView+ depends on / blocked
Reported: 2003-03-12 11:51 UTC by Barry K. Nathan
Modified: 2007-04-18 16:51 UTC (History)
2 users (show)

Fixed In Version:
Doc Type: Bug Fix
Doc Text:
Clone Of:
Last Closed: 2003-03-14 20:51:01 UTC

Attachments (Terms of Use)
A detailed example of a failure scenario. (deleted)
2003-03-12 11:54 UTC, Barry K. Nathan
no flags Details

Description Barry K. Nathan 2003-03-12 11:51:27 UTC
From Bugzilla Helper:
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.3) Gecko/20030309

Description of problem:
RPM 4.1/test-4.1.1 seems to be totally oblivious to RSA keys when verifying
package signatures. It can find DSA keys just fine, however.

As far as I can tell from the RPM manpage, either should work though...

Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):

How reproducible:

Steps to Reproduce:
Approximate steps:
1. Create a public RSA signing key with GPG
2. Set up .rpmmacros as appropriate
3. Export an ASCII-armored version of your public key.
4. rpm --import that
5. Take a package and --resign (or --addsign) it
6. Try to verify that. Notice it fails to find the key, even though it's been

See "Actual Results" for a detailed example.

Actual Results:  Bugzilla choked when I tried to include the actual results
inline, so I will be attaching them.

Expected Results:  Errr... key d0fde7fe is in the RPM database. Shouldn't it be
able to find it? Also, why does it think I put a V3 DSA signature on my popt
package? In any case, I was expecting it to work the way that 4.0.4 does.

Additional info:

The error happens whether I sign the package with RPM 4.0.4-19mdk, 4.1-1.06, or
4.1.1-0.1.8x (test-4.1.1 from The signed packages can be verified
on 4.0.4-19mdk just fine.

A possible workaround is to use DSA instead of RSA. If we're not supposed to use
RSA keys to sign our own packages, or if it's known to be flaky and that's the
accepted status quo, it would be nice for that to be documented more strongly
than just "DSA is preferred". (OTOH, if it's actually supposed to work, then it
would be good if it could be fixed.)

Comment 1 Barry K. Nathan 2003-03-12 11:54:28 UTC
Created attachment 90572 [details]
A detailed example of a failure scenario.

It doesn't exactly illustrate best practices (no passphrase on the key, among
other things) but it does illustrate the bug in question.

Comment 2 Jeff Johnson 2003-03-13 20:01:28 UTC
RSA/MD5 header+payload signature verification works just fine. For example,
here's the output when verifying the rpm package from Red Hat 5.2:

bash$ rpm -Kvv rpm-2.5.5-5.2.i386.rpm 
D: Expected size:       427519 = lead(96)+sigs(268)+pad(4)+data(427151)
D:   Actual size:       427487
D: opening  db index       /var/lib/rpm/Packages rdonly mode=0x0
D: locked   db index       /var/lib/rpm/Packages
D: opening  db index       /var/lib/rpm/Pubkeys rdonly mode=0x0
D:  read h#     212 Header sanity check: OK
D: ========== RSA pubkey id a520e8f1cba29bf9
    V3 RSA/MD5 signature: OK, key ID cba29bf9
    MD5 digest: OK (bf23932df29ea6bffc2b01956b6ae344)
D: closed   db index       /var/lib/rpm/Pubkeys
D: closed   db index       /var/lib/rpm/Packages

Since Red Hat uses DSA for signing packages (since Red Hat 6.2), you
are traversing code paths that only occaisionally (like now) get

OTOH I know of no reason why you shouldn't be able to use gpg with RSA/MD5
for signing packages, the RFC-2440 OpenPGP parser within rpm should
parse RSA/MD5 packets just fine, and signing is still done using a
helper binary.

What's a little schizoid is that rpm has always confused the
implementation (e.g. "gpg" or "pgp") with the signature type
(e.g. "DSA" or "RSA/MD5"), so you may need to generate RSA/MD5
signatures using pgp rather than gnupg, with associated (and confusing)
configuration in rpm. So think of "pgp" as synonomous with "RSA/MD5"
when reading rpm man pages.

What isn't tested (and there are pieces that may not be implemented),
is RSA/MD5 header-only signatures. I know that I've tested RSA/MD5
signing using pgp. I also know that I have *not* tested RSA/MD5
using gpg.

Is there any particular reason why DSA is not good enough?

Comment 3 Barry K. Nathan 2003-03-13 23:09:21 UTC
At least when I use GPG from the command line to sign files, it seems to be
using RSA/SHA1, not RSA/MD5. I plan on avoiding the MD5 hash so I plan on
avoiding RSA/MD5.

Anyway, the reason I wanted to try using RSA/SHA1 is that DSA is limited to a
1024-bit key length, and I'm paranoid enough that I thought it might be neat to
have a key longer than that. (I only used a 1024-bit key in the example I
attached to this bug, but the key I generated with the intent of "production"
use is longer than that.)

I'll probably just generate another keypair, using DSA, and use that for now
(and maybe into the future too). The strange [from a user's perspective] thing
is, unless there's anything special about Mandrake 9.0's RPM 4.0.4, this is a

It's not urgent, so feel free to defer it if you wish. (If Red Hat decides not
to fix this even in the long term, I'd like to at least see a
suggestion/clarification in the documentation, at some point in the future. It's
probably not worth delaying any errata packages though.)

Comment 4 Jeff Johnson 2003-03-14 20:51:01 UTC
RSA/SHA1 in gnupg explains your output.

There's no attempt to handle RSA/SHA1 in rpm. 'Twouldn't
be hard, but handling v4 OpenPGP signatures needs doing

Comment 5 Adam Back 2003-06-28 02:38:25 UTC
Well wouldn't it be simple to just modify the gpg macros to call --pgp2 which
will then be sure to create RSA/md5 signatures otherwise indistinguishable from
PGP created?

The other problem is that it outright fails to find the key after you've
imported it.

If you do rpm -qa you'll see some bizarro interpretation of what the keyid of
the RSA key is.  (My RSA key is in fact a pgp2.x era RSA key, but it has some
DSA signatures on it.  Your old beecrypt stuff is getting confused by the DSA
signatures on my key and assigning my key the keyid of the lexically first DSA
signature on my key.)

What the previous poster described is kind of broken too, and I'd think should
be fixed...

My related bug shows that in fact even using pgp5+ basically breaks because
those keys typically have DSA keys on them.

So what is someone going to do to verify my signed RPM?  Well they'll fetch my
key from the key servers, run rpm --import on it, and boom, it'll get a garbage
keyid according to rpm beecrypt stuff, and then the signature will universally fail.

There is nothing I can do about the DSA signatures on the key server because the
key servers don't let you remove sigantures.  In addition it would detract from
security to remove signatures anyway because they are part of my web of trust.

Wouldn't it be like simpler to outright use gpg rather than reimplement a gpg
signature verifying and key parsing subset in beecrypt?

Comment 6 Adam Back 2003-06-28 05:00:09 UTC
Just spent another 2 hours or so trying to pgp sign the package.  (Rather than
gpg sign the package as that is a monumental flop if you try to use an RSA key
with DSA signatures on it).

There is no documentation relating to pgp.  man (8) rpm talks only in the
specific about how to edit a .rpmmacro to use gpg.  But reverse engineering the
/usr/lib/rpm/macros file one can figure out what macros one might be supposed to
be using:

%_signature pgp
%_pgp_path /root/.pgp
%_pgp_name Adam Back <>
%_pgpbin /usr/local/bin/pgp

(My pgp is 6.5.8, the latest unix command line version).

But after that I can't sign didly squat.  To check here is my key in my keyring:

% pgp -kv
Type bits      keyID      Date       User ID
RSA  2048      0xD8F056DD 1999/11/14 *** DEFAULT SIGNING KEY ***
                                     Adam Back <>

so firstly despite what it says in rpm (8) the %_gpgbin has precisely no effect
as it's not even used in /usr/lib/rpm/macros.  (No doubt it happens to be where
the example says on a default redhat9... but that won't help users who don't
ahve it living there and are trying in vain to adjust by using %_gpgbin).

%_pgpbin is listed in macros but it says it deprecated, and is only assigned
never read or used in any macros.

So you should fix the macros file or the rpm (8) man page.

So if you have no binary you'll get "Broken pipe" when you try to sign.

So if I make this changes, I can now sign with pgp6.5.8.

% cat ~/.rpmmacros
%_signature pgp
%_pgp_path /root/.pgp
%_pgp_name Adam Back <>
%__pgp /usr/local/bin/pgp


% rpm --checksig /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/i386/hashcash-0.26-1.i386.rpm

still fails with:

/usr/src/redhat/RPMS/i386/hashcash-0.26-1.i386.rpm: sha1 (MD5) (PGP) md5 NOT OK
(MISSING KEYS: PGP#d8f056dd)

which is blatantly false as:

% rpm -qa gpg-pubkey

(the 1st of which is my key, the other being redhat default).


% rpm -qi gpg-pubkey-02d77dd6-3e83040c | pgpacket | grep -i d8f056dd
Key ID: 0x143C9F41D8F056DD

so the key is in fact in there just misnamed / mis-indexed for the reasons I
gave above.

So, as a last resort, I'll now try removing all signatures made by DSA keys on
my public key and re-importing that:

% rpm -e gpg-pubkey-02d77dd6-3e83040c
% pgp -kxa adam.asc
% pgpacket adam.asc | less # to figure which sigs are from DSA keys
% pgp -krs #remove the offending sigs
% pgp -kxa adam.asc
% rpm --import adam.asc

now I should be able to check... however boom, for another reason!

% rpm --checksig /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/i386/hashcash-0.26-1.i386.rpm
/usr/src/redhat/RPMS/i386/hashcash-0.26-1.i386.rpm: sha1 MD5 PGP md5 NOT OK

% rpm --checksig -v -v /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/i386/hashcash-0.26-1.i386.rpm

    Header SHA1 digest: OK (0ec8d8fe63ebaf0e6658ab6a3992a3279ba6c32c)
    V3 RSA/MD5 signature: BAD, key ID d8f056dd
    MD5 digest: OK (b07b5c7987ca8d0eccbd9113604bdd73)

so one thought was the lack of support for v4 signatures, but as I have a v3 key
it is not likely.  To test I signed a message with pgp -s and indeed it creates
a v3 signature by default (at least with my v3 public key).

Next thought is one of the RSA signatures on my key is a v4 key signature, so I
remove that one also!

% pgp -krs
% pgp -kxa adam.asc
% rpm -e gpg-pubkey-d8f056dd-382eb35c
% rpm --import adam.asc

but still broken:

% rpm --checksig -vv /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/i386/hashcash-0.26-1.i386.rpm
    Header SHA1 digest: OK (0ec8d8fe63ebaf0e6658ab6a3992a3279ba6c32c)
    V3 RSA/MD5 signature: BAD, key ID d8f056dd
    MD5 digest: OK (b07b5c7987ca8d0eccbd9113604bdd73)

so try resigning (with pgp):

% rpmbuild -ba --sign /usr/src/redhat/SPECS/hashcash-0.26.spec

still broken:

% rpm --checksig -vv /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/i386/hashcash-0.26-1.i386.rpm
    Header SHA1 digest: OK (ebe16e09867c6c852395cd7fa04e7890e04fc145)
    V3 RSA/MD5 signature: BAD, key ID d8f056dd
    MD5 digest: OK (2d35d2877093d26bf81eea4ab76d2148)

try resigning with gpg (put my .rpmmacro file back the way it was):

% cat .rpmmacros
%_signature gpg
%_gpg_path /root/.gnupg
%_gpg_name Adam Back <>


% rpmbuild -ba --sign /usr/src/redhat/SPECS/hashcash-0.26.spec


% rpm --checksig -vv /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/i386/hashcash-0.26-1.i386.rpm
    Header V3 DSA signature: NOKEY, key ID d8f056dd
    Header SHA1 digest: OK (71ed581c95b11f58c0b6e2da1955a0c6fef0590b)
    MD5 digest: OK (c865d6d10bbe47840c76c0741ded5944)
    V3 DSA signature: NOKEY, key ID d8f056dd

so in summary I'd say the pgp support is pretty comprehensively broken.

Probably the best thing you could do is rollback signature verification to the
rpm 4.0x where rpm was using GPG/PGP to verify signatures until the bee crypt
code is fixed.  Or simply give up on bee crypt.

Even though I have a good signature now I only have a few signatures left on my
key, and anyone who verifies the RPM will fetch the full key (replete with rpm
signature verification busting DSA signatures) from the key server and be unable
to verify.

So I'm fucked either way.

I think at this point I'm going to generate a DSA key-pair for code-signing, and
sign it with my RSA key as a work around as I can see this mess having
repercussions for years as people slowly upgrade to the future version in which
you fix this.

btw if microsoft did something analogous to this and broke code signing they'd
be roundly lambasted for breaking security.  It arguably by reconning would
warrant a security fix pushed via the redhat update, except even that wouldn't
fix the problem as lots of people don't use it, and I presume it was already
broken in rpm 4.1, and so no one in their right mind would sign an RPM with an
RSA key.

This seems like a case of "fixing" what wasn't broken with devastating
consequences which are going to be felt for years.  I think practically you've
just killed RSA keys as RPM signing keys from here on out.


Comment 7 Adam Back 2003-06-28 05:45:52 UTC
btw the default gpg gpg.conf file includes: no-force-v3-sigs
with the result that gpg by default creates v4 sigs, and then you get error,
which I'm presuming means the sig goes unchecked:

% rpmbuild -ba --sign /usr/src/redhat/SPECS/hashcash-0.26.spec
only V3 signatures can be verified, skipping V4 signature
only V3 signatures can be verified, skipping V4 signature

so to fix this the user can uncomment that line in his gpg.conf file.  

But a better fix is to add the -force-v3-sigs option to the gpg command in

there is I think an analogous option for pgp to achieve the same thing there.

Comment 8 Jeff Johnson 2003-06-30 16:53:41 UTC
You're not exactly f*cked, gpg can still be used
to verify signatures, see /usr/lib/rpm/tgpg.

rpm implements signature verification internally
for performance. Writing files and invoking gpg
helper are not exactly lightweight operations.

And beecrypt, not libgcrypt, was used for the implementation
in rpm because at the time, libgcrypt was GPL, not LGPL (rpm is
LGPL only). In fact, a seperate and independent OpenPGP implementation
based on beecrypt in rpm had some small role in the GPL -> LGPL
libgcrypt decision. Or so I'm told <shrug> ...

Yes, the OpenPGP implementation in rpm is deficient in many ways from
a crypto POV. That's why rpm is a package manager, not a crypto implementation.

Yes, it is very unfortunate that key servers are delivering pubkeys that
cannot be directly used by rpm --import. There are other means to transport
OpenPGP pubkeys, however.

I'd suggest generating a key that is useful for signing packages rather
than attempting to sign with whatever key you happen to use.

No matter what: There are definite security advantages to verifying package
metadata when read, even if the implementaion is clunky and primitive atm.

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