Tag Archives: audit

CAcert appoints internal auditor

[German version below]

CAcert gets down to business to the next step for reopening the audit process and has appointed Benedikt Heintel as internal auditor in last december. The goal is the acceptance of CAcert as trustworthy certificate authority. Benedikt Heintel cares for the compliance of internal process flows with the rules and thereby for the reliability and trustworthiness of the CA overall. With the beginning of this year Benedikt Heintel has started with the first checks within the scope of the internal audit.
Quite a while ago CAcert has appointed co-auditors who check the quality of CAcerts’ web-of-trust with which identities of persons are verified. With this check co-auditors do the preliminary work for the internal auditor. These to different subject areas are the basis of CAcert and its secure certificates.


[German version]

CAcert macht Ernst mit dem nächsten Schritt zur Wiederaufnahme des Audit-Verfahrens und hat im vergangenen Dezember Benedikt Heintel als internen Auditor ernannt. Ziel ist die Anerkennung von CAcert als vertrauenswürdige Zertifizierungsstelle. Benedikt Heintel kümmert sich um die Einhaltung sauberer Prozessabläufe bei CAcert und damit um die Vertrauenswürdigkeit der Arbeit der CA insgesamt. Anfang des Jahres hat er mit den ersten Überprüfungen im Rahmen des internen Audits begonnen.
Vor geraumer Zeit hatte CAcert bereits Co-Auditoren ernannt, die das CAcert-Web-of-Trust prüfen, mit dem die Identität von Personen sichergestellt wird und dem internen Auditor auf diese Weise zuarbeiten. Diese zwei unterschiedlichen Themen machen zusammen erst CAcert und seine sicheren Zertifikate aus.


ATE Jena, March 29th 2012

Am Donnerstag, 29. März 2012 findet in der Uni Jena das nächste ATE statt.

  • Was hast du auf dem CAP Formular hinzuzufügen, wenn du Minderjährige überprüfst ?
  • Warum solltest du dir die 3 Buchstaben: R/L/O einprägen ?
  • Wie verhälst du dich, wenn du ein fremdes Ausweis Dokument zum erste mal prüfst ?

Jena Uni Campus
Antworten auf diese und andere Fragen erhaltet ihr auf dem Assurer Training Event.
Bringt geeignete Lichtbildausweise für Assurances mit.

Ein zusätzlicher Hinweis für ehemalige Tverify/Thawte Leute:
Das ATE ist auch eine sehr gute Möglichkeit eure Assurance und Experience Punkte in die Reihe zu bekommen, bevor diese gestrichen werden.

ATE-Jena findet statt:

  • Donnerstag, 29. März, 2012
  • Am Johannisfriedhof 2
  • Universitätsrechenzentrum der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
  • Jena
  • 19:00 bis ca. 22:00 Uhr

Registrierung: Ich möchte am ATE-Jena teilnehmen

Vielleicht treffen wir uns ja da.

Mit bestem Gruß vom Events Team!

PS: Kontakt: Events

Weitere Infos im Wiki: ATE Jena im Wiki

ATE Manchester / Crewe, UK – Sat 14th January

Much has happened during recent years. The old way of orally-transmitted procedures has now gone, and our rules have been cast into formal policies. New procedures (e.g. the Assurer Challenge) and obligations (e.g. in the CAcert Community Agreement) have been approved.
Continue reading

Software Testers Reward Challenge – Your last chance …

The Software-Testers Reward Challenge 2011 is now running the last two days. So its your last chance to climb into the hall of fame.

The Software-Testers Reward Challenge will end Thursday, June 30th at midnight.

The software tester with the highest count of reports written related to the listed bugs under the Tester Portal receives a reward of 30 Euro. The 2nd one a reward of 15 Euro.

Each report under the listed bug numbers counts 🙂

Since Tuesday we have at least two new bugs added to the testserver that you can start testing:

  • Bug #942
    0000942: CATS import interface is not fit to handle non-Assurer Challenge tests
  • Bug #948
    0000948: Email address verification violates SMTP protocol
  • For Bug #827
    there is addtl. info available under wiki bug827 infos

Happy testing

Software-Assessment-Project reached next milestone

Todays systemlog message marks the quantum leap in our about 10 months project work, to become the Software-Assessment area auditable.

As many Software-Updates are in the queue from the software developers, that needs testing and reviews by Software Assessors, the team started by end of last year with this project,

  • to build up a new ”controlled” testserver with authority by Software-Assessors
  • built up by the critical team as a Disaster Recovery testcase
  • a new central repository for all the upcoming software projects (including the New Software project BirdShack)
  • building a new test team running the software tests
  • and finalyze the process by a review of the patches by 2 Software-Assessors
  • document the patches, the testing, the review and the check by two Software-Assessors
  • to bundle the new Software-revision for transfer to the Critical team

The systemlog message signals, that the first tested and reviewed patches has received by the critical system webdb and is incorporated into production. A new tarball has been generated to build the next basis for applying the next patches.

So here my thanks goes to all the involved teams,

  • Software-Assessment-Project team
  • the new Software Testteam
  • the Critical Sysadmins team
  • and last but not least to the Software-Assessors from the Software-Assessment team

With all these people assistance, this project hadn’t be pushed to this milestone. Thank you Andreas, to build the project plan and the technical background, and also hosting the current testserver, Thank you Wytze for all your work to build the new testserver from scratch as identical as possible to the production server, to Michael, who assist us in deploying the new git repository and also assistance in deploying the Testserver-Mgmt-System, so everybody can start testing w/o the need of console access, Thank you Markus, for all your time and effort to deploy the repository and testserver environment and also your work together with Philipp as Software-Assessor, to finalyze the Software-Update-Cycle. Thank you Dirk for all your suggestions to move on with this project.

Some more work is todo:

  • adding a test-signer, so also cert related patches can be tested in the future (Andreas and Markus are working on this)
  • deploying a C(ontinous)I(ntegration) system for automated testing (Andreas is working on this).

Now the teams have to walk thru the list of open bugs, that needs to be pushed thru … First of all is the “Thawte” bug … to signal all users who’ve got their Thawte points transfered by the old Tverify program if they are effected by the points removal or if they are safe. The CCA-Rollout with a couple of patches, a list of new Policies and Subpolicies related patches (eg. PoJAM, TTP program), a list of Arbitration pushed patches, and so on …

So guys, lets have a party tonight, we’ve wiped out one of the biggest audit blockers!

The Big Masterplan to become Audit Ready

Back in January 2010 the former Board decided by Board motion m20100117.3 “No new subroots on current root, plan for new root”. In the discussion a date was scheduled by end of Dec 31, 2010. On my 2nd thought, probably nobody did recognize, what that means, CAcert's Big Masterplan To become Audit Ready (01/2010) to finish all the projects from the bottom left corner at beginning of 2010 to the top right corner by end of the year with the “New Roots and Escrow” (New Roots and Escrow) process running. So this article should bring Audits mistery to light.

Policy Group worked on the last few essential Policies (Policies on Policy Group), that are essential for the Audit. One essential requirement for Audit is to Rollout the CAcert Community Agreement to all the members, so they can decide to continue or to leave the Community. To become “CCA Rollout Ready” (CCA rollout), the running Software needs to be updated. This opens the next problem: by starting 2010, there was no Software Update Process defined, nor documented. But we’re on the lucky side, the Software-Assessment-Project started November last year to fulfill this requirement (Software-Assessment-Project). The task was: To get a repository system controlled by Software-Assessment team, a controlled testserver environment and a documentation system. Currently the team tests the transfer of a test patch to the production system. Involved parties: Software-Assessment Project team, Software-Assessment team and the Critical Sysadmins team.

CAcert's Big Masterplan To become Audit Ready (10/2010)
CAcert’s Big Masterplan To become Audit Ready (10/2010)

In the meantime, another issue pop’d up: the “Thawte points removal” with a deadline of Nov 16th, 2010. We’ve allready posted several blog posts on this topic. So also this is related onto the Software-Assessment-Project progress (Software-Assessment-Project).

The next topic is running Assurer Training Events (ATE) (Assurer Training Events). ATE’s are an essential concept in the Audit over Assurance (RA) business area. To scale a worldwide community, the community has to assist Auditors work in doing Co-Audits over Assurers. The question: How to contact groups of Assurers was answered back in 2009 with the ATE concept. The purpose of ATE is twofolded: first to communicate to the Assurers all the new informations and second to do Co-Audits. As Assurers follows the invitations to the ATEs we can expect, that they are more active in the community. So also from 2009 ATE experiences, we’ve got new resources from the community by contacts on ATEs (Get new resources). So this was the plan for 2010 ATE season, to find more people, who can help on the several tasks and projects that needs to be finished, before the new Roots and Escrow project and also the Audit can be (re-)started. E.g.

Helping CAcert

  • we are searching Infrastructure Admins for the Non-Critical Infrastructure systems, all running on Unix. Familiar with system migrations for the big Infrastructure project to separate Non-Critical from the Critical systems (The big Infrastructure Task). This project is running about 2 years, but currently without progress.
  • we are searching for Software Developers (C++, Python, Java) for the New Software project BirdShack (New Software Project BirdShack), that was started last year, after Auditors review of the Software that concludes: „Serious difficulties in maintaining, improving and securing.” and „Cannot form conclusion over software.”, so if the plan to start with the Audit over the old Software fails, we’re close to the 2nd path: BirdShack.
  • we are searching for Audit consultants who can assists in the Audit next step CrowdIt disclosure system (read AGM – Audit Report 2010 – CrowdIt. CrowdIt, as a sort of wordplay on Crowd-Audit). CrowdIt is an emerging disclosure tool (based on the old DRC browser).
  • we are searching people, who can assist us in the funding project (Funding project), that becomes the ground base for the New Roots and Escrow project (New Roots and Escrow) that should be keep tracked by an Auditor, and the re-start of the Audit (Audit over Assurance (RA) 1) and (Audit over Systems (CA) 2).

The New Roots and Escrow Project Relation to Audit

As said before, the New Roots and Escrow Project should be keep tracked by an Auditor. From the experiences back in 2008 on creating New Roots but fail on Roots Escrow, we’re warned to separate the Audit steps of the New Roots and Escrow Project (New Roots and Escrow) and the Audit over Systems (Audit over Systems (CA) 2). Both tasks should be close together.

On the other side, we have to do an Audit over Assurance (Registration Authority, RA) (Audit over Assurance (RA) 1). There is no requirement on bundling the RA Audit and CA Audit as both business areas have their own Policy sets and can be checked separately. This can make our work presumably easier. Easier to get Audit funding for Audit over RA. As Assurance area is closer to be Audit Ready, we can also signal to the Community Audit is back on track. This will probably push the other tasks. With a small budget we probably can double the result by getting new resources, “Hey, there is progress on the overall Audit task” – CAcert is back!

One Milestone in Software-Assessment-Project reached

Within the last week we’ve reached one milestone in our new Software-Assessment-Project.
The team is working since November 2009 on a new Software Repository and a new Testserver.
The Testserver needed a Testserver Mgmt System to set the environment for testing new Software and Patches for the Webdb system.
Continue reading

SP to DRAFT — marks the milestone in Policy!

This weekend, the Security Policy goes into DRAFT. We’ve battled and we’ve won: consensus has erupted in policy group. Not only do we get our Security Policy, but SP going to DRAFT marks a major milestone for CAcert:

We now have a complete set of policies for audit !

We’ve been close before, but never the cigar. In early 2009, some audit work was done, but with gaps: the CPS and the “index” were missing. The CPS came into DRAFT in June 2009, it was close enough at the time. The “index” is called the Configuration-Control Specification (CCS), which is a rather clumsy name for such a simple thing. CCS is a list to all the assets that have to be audited, so it’s worth a little attention. The structure more or less looks like this:

Audit => Criteria (we call them DRC) => CCS (the index)

Then, with CCS in hand, the Auditor can find the parts needed:

                     --> Policies
       CCS ==----> critical systems
                     --> roles in control, etc

CCS was the missing link. Luckily the index CCS is relatively easy to write, if all the other policies and systems are clear, and this also means it was doomed to always be last, once the other policies were clear. A month back policy group pushed it through, we brought the CCS finally into its place as a (DRAFT) binding policy.

Which should have been the completion of our policy set for audit, but as CCS was finishing, the Board of CAcert Inc decided to veto the Security Policy, as they can under the rules (PoP 4.6). Now, much has been written about this drama in the maillists, and the debate did raise some serious questions at the time, but they can be left for another day. This week, then we in policy group are taking Security Policy back to DRAFT. Has anything changed? Here are the major points of change:

  1. The part about the Board Members having a background check has been removed. This was reasonable, as, on the whole, the ABC process is too clumsy for the Board, and the Board now has its own requirements to deal with conflicts of interest, courtesy of the new Associations Act 2009.
  2. Application Engineer is removed, and that capability is returned to the Systems Adminstration team leader. T/L can bring in a Software Assessor any time he needs one, and take on that risk, etc.
  3. One non-difference is that SP was still binding on the critical roles, because they accept the SP as their binding document when they are appointed. This is part of the process, as documented in Security Manual. The reason for this is that, under the principles of data protection, anyone who can access the data needs a special agreement, and in CAcert, the SP is that agreement.
  4. Meanwhile, SP goes back to being binding on the Community. Why would the Community need to be bound to Security Policy, when they can’t do anything wrong anyway? Well, because there are always errors, holes, bugs, omissions and short cuts. In any process! So, while we should fix these omissions, it helps to have the big stick of policy to wield as well. Just because you find a software bug doesn’t mean you can exploit it, and just because you have a title like “auditor” doesn’t mean you can stare at the private root key. We all have wider obligations, and SP is one of them.

Other than tighter wording, etc, that’s it. Welcome to our complete Policy set!

Which final comment brings us to the success of CAcert’s Policy project. It was 5 calendar years in the making, starting off with Christian’s original CPS, and it cost many Member-Years of effort. Some examples: The SP was probably a Member-Year of effort. The CPS is likely equal, the agreements and foundations (CCA, DRP, PoP, etc) another huge lump. I said CCS was an easy one to write, but “easy” still runs to around a Member-Month of effort. PoJAM, similar.

If we think how much a commercial company pays for a Member-Year of effort (100k, plus or minus), that’s a serious investment.

Thank your policy group, and help out with reading and voting!

35 decisions, 13 policies to DRAFT and beyond, 55 contributors. Here’s the top ten, a Hall of Fame, collected a wiki-scraping script I wrote last night:

Name # Decisions
Tomáš 10 p20100510,p20100426,p20100401,p20100119,p20100113,p20091108,p20091106,p20090706,p20090327,p20081016
Faramir 10 p20100510,p20100426,p20100401,p20100326,p20100120,p20100119,p20100113,p20091106,p20090706,p20090327
Lambert 10 p20100426,p20100401,p20100326,p20100113,p20091108,p20091106,p20090706,p20090327,p20090105.1,p20081016
Philipp D 9 p20100510,p20100426,p20100401,p20100113,p20091106,p20090706,p20090327,p20090105.1,p20081016
Pieter 8 p20100510,p20100426,p20100401,p20100306,p20100120,p20100113,p20091106,p20090327
Iang 8 p20100510,p20100426,p20100306,p20100120,p20100119,p20100113,p20091106,p20090706
Ulrich 7 p20100510,p20100426,p20100401,p20100326,p20100306,p20100120,p20100119
Ted 7 p20100510,p20100120,p20100119,p20100113,p20091106,p20090706,p20081016
Brian 7 p20100510,p20100426,p20100401,p20100119,p20091108,p20091106,p20090706
Morten 6 p20100510,p20100426,p20100306,p20100120,p20100119,p20100113

(That’s not a formal result, and it only counts voters from the last 2 years, many others did other things that are harder to measure.)

We now have a set of policies that not only deals with the criteria of the Audit (DRC), not only removes that critical path blockage of documentation for audit, but also presents the only honest, fair, presentable and sustainable policy set in the entire business. In my humble opinion.

This is a set of documents everyone can be proud of. On this foundation we can build. We can, for our Members, create business of real value, not just issue certificates that defy valuation to people who don’t understand their need.

Now, on to implementation and audit. Questions about the audit are questions about implementation, so don’t forget:

Do not ask when your audit is done, rather, ask how you, yourself, are doing your audit!

And now, you’ve got the full policy set, so you know what the Auditor is going to be looking for 😉