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SubjectRe: Bug#912087: openssh-server: Slow startup after the upgrade to 7.9p1
On 2018-11-01 19:50:35 [-0400], Theodore Y. Ts'o wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 01, 2018 at 11:18:14PM +0100, Sebastian Andrzej Siewior wrote:
> > Okay. So you wrote what can be done for a system with HW-RNG/kvm. On
> > bare metal with nothing fancy I have:
> > [ 3.544985] systemd[1]: systemd 239 running in system mode. (+PAM…
> > [ 10.363377] r8169 0000:05:00.0 eth0: link up
> > [ 41.966375] random: crng init done
> >
> > which means I have to wait about half a minute until I can ssh into. And
> > there is no way to speed it up?
> So that surprises me. Can you tell me more about the hardware? Is it
> something like a Rasberry Pi? Or is it an x86 server or desktop? In
> my experience for most x86 platforms this isn't an issue.

another boot on the same box:
| dmesg |grep -i random
| [ 0.000000] random: get_random_bytes called from start_kernel+0x94/0x52e with crng_init=0
| [ 1.774332] random: fast init done
| [ 7.318640] random: systemd: uninitialized urandom read (16 bytes read)
| [ 7.318925] random: systemd: uninitialized urandom read (16 bytes read)
| [ 7.338074] random: systemd: uninitialized urandom read (16 bytes read)
| [ 68.791389] random: crng init done
| [ 68.791397] random: 7 urandom warning(s) missed due to ratelimiting

This is a headless i7-Sandy Bridge. A small rootfs partition and there
are hardly any daemons comming up. It waits for a remote login. Running
Debian unstable (incl. kernel).

> The main reason why I've talked about VM system is because this is
> where it where most of the problems that people ahve reported to me.
Yes. Thanks for that. I have another box which I use as a desktop
machine (basically a terminal). It is older than the i7 but I unlock the
crypted root disk as part of the boot process and I assume that due to
this it initializes in less than 10secs. Same goes for my notebook. But
the i7 has just two cables…

> So if I make a blanket recommendation, and it causes Debian to ship
> some kind of default that causes Debian users to be insecure, I'm
> going to be feel really bad. This is why I'm very cautious about what
> I say. If you want to do whatever you want on your own system, hey
> consulting adults can do whatever they want. :-)

I have a few other headless boxes but those are newer and support
RDRAND. I assume that this makes a difference because otherwise I don't
see a difference (and they don't take long to init).

> > You did not oppose RNDADDTOENTCNT/RNDADDENTROPY but you wanted to make
> > it configureable and not default, correct?
> I'd want to see a full design doc, or a git repository, or set of
> changes before I give it an unqualified endorsement, but there *are*
> configurations where such a thing would be sane.
> That's the problem with security recommendations. It's much like a
> lawyer giving legal advice. They're very careful about doing that in
> an unstructured circumstances. If it gets taken in the wrong way,
> they could be legally liable and people might blame/sue them.
> And then on top of that, there are the political considerations.
> Suppose I told you, "just use RDRAND and be happy". Some people who
> sure that RDRAND has been backdoored would claim that I'm in the
> pocket of the NSA and/or Intel. That's why all I'm going to say is,
> "I'm comfortable turning RDRAND on my own systems; you can do what you
> want."

Okay, okay. Let sum that up:
- openssh uses openssl's random number generator which now uses
- getrandom() blocks until the random pool is initializes. Can be
checked in dmesg:
[ TIME.STAMP] random: crng init done
This wasn't the case earlier where /dev/urandom was used.
- random entropy like interrupts or HW random support (<ad> chaos
key</ad>) will speed the initalisation process up.
- emulated hardware / KVM can take long to init but it helps if a hw-rnd
device is added as part of qemu setup.
- it is possible to manually increase the entropy count and/or tell the
random pool to init asap but it shouldn't be done because it will
probably lead to weak random pool and probably used in wrong setups.

> Cheers,
> - Ted
> P.S…
> I
> certainly would recommend that you spend the $40 USD to get a Chaos
> Key and just be *done* with it.

I do own a Nitrokey which can create random. That is not the problem. I
just have one devel box which requires me to wait a minute before I can
login and I have to figure out how to deal with it.


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