[Bitcoin-development] Dedicated server for bitcoin.org, your thoughts?

Jeremy Spilman jeremy at taplink.co
Tue Dec 31 21:25:40 UTC 2013

I didn't know about the dedicated server meltdown, it wasn't any of my  
infra. Anyway, my previous offer still stands.

One less 'security theater' approach would be if we could provide  
forward-validation of updates using the blockchain. It's always going to  
be up to the user the first time they install the wallet to verify the  
provenance of the binaries/source. From that point forward, we could make  
it easier if the wallet could detect updates and prove they were valid.

This could be as simple as hard-coding a public key into the client and  
checking a signature on the new binaries. But it could also be more  

For example, a well known address on the blockchain corresponds to  
multi-sig with keys controlled by developers (or whatever key policy the  
release team wants to impose). A spend from that address announces a new  
release, and includes the expected hash of the file.

You would probably need some way to handle the different release targets.  
A more rigorous approach could identify all the various releases in terms  
of a BIP32 xpubkey whose branches would correspond to the different  
release trains and platform builds. Spends from a node announce the  
release and the expected hash.

This provides zero benefit if the wallet software is already compromised,  
but I think this would allow trusted automatic update notification, and a  
trusted way to deliver the expected hashes. It also might resolve some of  
the consternation around when a release is truly "released", if that's  
really a problem.

I'm not sure how far along the slope you would want to go; 1) announcing  
updates in the UI, 2) providing a button the user could click to verify a  
binary matches its expected hash, 3) click to download and verify the  
upgrade matches the expected hash, 4) click to upgrade

Formalizing the release process around a set of privkeys (or split shares  
of keys) may raise its own set of questions.

For the download itself, I've heard the advocates of announcing  
availability on the blockchain leading to a BitTorrent magnet link, but I  
also understand objections to adding an entire BitTorrent stack into a  

On Tue, 31 Dec 2013 06:23:55 -0800, Mike Hearn <mike at plan99.net> wrote:

>> The site was actually moved onto a dedicated server temporarily and it
>> melted down under the load. I wouldn't call that no progress.
> Oh, it did? When was that? I must have missed this excitement :)
>Any idea how much load it had?
>> Perhaps I wasn't clear on the point I was making Drak's threat model
>> is not improved in the slightest by SSL. It would be improved by
>> increasing the use of signature checking, e.g. by making it easier.
> Well, that depends. If you watch Applebaums talk he is pushing TLS  
> pretty hard, and saying that based on the access to the source docs some  
> of >their MITM attacks can't beat TLS. It appears that they have the  
> capability to do bulk MITM and rewrite of downloads as Drak says but  
> *not* when >TLS is present, that would force more targeted attacks. So  
> to me that implies that TLS does raise the bar and is worth doing.
> However if we can't find a server that won't melt under the load, then  
> that'd be an issue. We could consider hosting downloads on AppEngine or  
> >something else that can handle both high load and TLS.
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