We have published Qubes Canary 028. The text of this canary is reproduced below. Please note that this canary contains an announcement and is accompanied by two letters, which are also reproduced below.

General information

This canary and its accompanying signatures will always be available in the Qubes security pack (qubes-secpack).

View Qubes Canary 028 in the qubes-secpack:


Learn how to obtain and authenticate the qubes-secpack and all the signatures it contains:


View all past canaries:


Canary text

                    ---===[ Qubes Canary 028 ]===---


The Qubes core developers who have digitally signed this file [1] state
the following:

1. The date of issue of this canary is August 31, 2021.

2. There have been 70 Qubes security bulletins published so far.

3. The Qubes Master Signing Key fingerprint is:

       427F 11FD 0FAA 4B08 0123  F01C DDFA 1A3E 3687 9494

4. No warrants have ever been served to us with regard to the Qubes OS
   Project (e.g. to hand out the private signing keys or to introduce

5. We plan to publish the next of these canary statements in the first
   fourteen days of December 2021. Special note should be taken if no
   new canary is published by that time or if the list of statements
   changes without plausible explanation.

Special announcements

Joanna Rutkowska will soon begin traveling without her Qubes laptop for
extended periods of time, which means she will not be able to sign
future canaries on time. She has asked the members of the Qubes security
team, Marek Marczykowski-Górecki and Simon Gaiser, to be released of her
obligation to sign canaries, and she has reaffirmed that she destroyed
all copies of the Qubes Master Signing Key in her possession when she
transferred the project lead position to Marek. The Qubes security team
has agreed to her request. Therefore, this will be the last Qubes canary
signed by Joanna.

Note that this canary is being published one day ahead of schedule
because this is the last day Joanna is available to sign. In addition to
the usual detached signatures from all three aforementioned individuals,
this canary is also accompanied by letters (with their own detached
signatures), all of which can be found in the canary directory in the
qubes-secpack [3].

Disclaimers and notes

We would like to remind you that Qubes OS has been designed under the
assumption that all relevant infrastructure is permanently compromised.
This means that we assume NO trust in any of the servers or services
which host or provide any Qubes-related data, in particular, software
updates, source code repositories, and Qubes ISO downloads.

This canary scheme is not infallible. Although signing the declaration
makes it very difficult for a third party to produce arbitrary
declarations, it does not prevent them from using force or other means,
like blackmail or compromising the signers' laptops, to coerce us to
produce false declarations.

The proof of freshness provided below serves to demonstrate that this
canary could not have been created prior to the date stated. It shows
that a series of canaries was not created in advance.

This declaration is merely a best effort and is provided without any
guarantee or warranty. It is not legally binding in any way to anybody.
None of the signers should be ever held legally responsible for any of
the statements made here.

Proof of freshness

Tue, 31 Aug 2021 00:03:05 +0000

Source: DER SPIEGEL - International (https://www.spiegel.de/international/index.rss)
Afghan Vice President in Letter to DER SPIEGEL: "A Deal for Surrender Won't Happen"
Afghanistan Disaster: Debacle in Kabul Could Overshadow Biden's Presidency
The End of the German Airlift: What Will Become of the Afghans Left Behind?
Terror Expert on Afghanistan: "The Real Threat Is Islamic State, not Al-Qaida"
Redistributing Mafia Assets: The Palaces and Ruins of the Drug Bosses

Source: NYT > World News (https://rss.nytimes.com/services/xml/rss/nyt/World.xml)
Afghanistan Live Updates: The U.S. Occupation Is Over, Ending America’s Longest War
U.S. Conducts Drone Strike in Kabul and Winds Down Airlift as Deadline Nears
Colombia’s Troubles Put a President’s Legacy on the Line
North Korea Restarted Plutonium-Producing Reactor, U.N. Agency Warns
How 2 Afghan Paralympians Defied the Odds to Get From Kabul to Tokyo

Source: BBC News - World (https://feeds.bbci.co.uk/news/world/rss.xml)
Afghanistan: US investigates civilian deaths in Kabul strike
Hurricane Ida: One million people in Louisiana without power
Covid: EU recommends new travel restrictions for US as cases rise
Brazil bank robbers tie hostages to getaway cars in Araçatuba
China cuts children's online gaming to one hour

Source: Blockchain.info


[1] This file should be signed in two ways: (1) via detached PGP
signatures by each of the signers, distributed together with this canary
in the qubes-secpack.git repo, and (2) via digital signatures on the
corresponding qubes-secpack.git repo tags. [2]

[2] Don't just trust the contents of this file blindly! Verify the
digital signatures!

[3] https://github.com/QubesOS/qubes-secpack/tree/master/canaries

Letter from Joanna Rutkowska

The original letter and its detached signature file are available here:


Hello again, Qubes community!

I hope you've all been well. As many of you know, I've continued to sign
Qubes canaries [1] ever since I left the project [2]. At the time, I
thought I could just continue to sign them forever, but I didn't
consider that this would effectively make my secure Qubes laptop like a
ball-and-chain that I'd have to bring with me wherever I go. :)

At this point in my life, I'd really like to do much more traveling
while being able to pack light and feel free of too many physical
possessions. Since I am not willing to compromise the security of the
Qubes OS Project or the security of the Qubes laptop I've been using to
sign canaries in any way just to make my own personal life easier, I've
decided it would be best to request that I be removed from the list of
canary signers. Otherwise, there would be canaries that I wouldn't be
able to sign on-time, which would create headaches for Marek and Simon,
as well as confusion for users looking for my signature and not finding

So, I've requested that the current Qubes security team remove me from
the Qubes canary signing process. And, FWIW, I confirm that I --
according to the best of my knowledge -- destroyed all copies of the
Qubes Master Signing Key which were in my possession when I passed
project lead to Marek, and no one has approached me in an attempt to
subvert the Qubes OS Project in any way. This request is solely for my
own personal reasons, as explained above.

Canary 028 [3] should contain a description of this event under the
"Special announcements" section, and that canary should be accompanied
by my signature as well as those of the current Qubes security team,
Marek Marczykowski-Górecki and Simon Gaiser. Canary 028 is the final
canary I will sign.

I wish the Qubes OS Project continued success!


[1] https://www.qubes-os.org/security/canary/
[2] https://www.qubes-os.org/news/2018/10/25/the-next-chapter/
[3] https://github.com/QubesOS/qubes-secpack/blob/master/canaries/canary-028-2021.txt

Letter from the Qubes security team

The original letter and its detached signature files are available here:


Dear Qubes community,

As you can see in Qubes Canary 028 [1], Joanna has requested that she be
removed from the list of canary signers [2], and we have agreed to this
request. A careful reader might recall that, when Joanna left the Qubes
security team in 2018, we wrote [3]:

| However, due to the nature of PGP keys, there is no way to
| guarantee that Joanna will not retain a copy of the QMSK after
| transferring ownership to Marek. Since anyone in possession of the
| QMSK is a potential attack vector against the project, Joanna will
| continue to sign Qubes Canaries in perpetuity.

So, why this change now? It's still true that we (except Joanna herself,
of course) can't guarantee that Joanna did not really retain any copies
of the private portion of the Qubes Master Signing Key. Continuing to
have her sign the canaries on time every few months seemed like a
harmless commitment back then but turned out to require quite a lot of
effort now that Joanna is no longer involved in the project's day-to-day
business. Therefore, we reevaluated whether this is worth the effort
and decided against it. If Joanna were lying about deleting all her
copies of the private portion of the Qubes Master Signing Key, it is
equally possible that she could lie when signing a canary. Therefore,
we do not believe that her ceasing to sign canaries constitutes a
security problem.

This is a good reminder that canaries help only in a very specific
scenario, namely if someone (1) wants to act honestly, (2) is prevented
from stating that a compromise has occurred, and (3) is not forced to
state that no compromise has occurred. For example, this canary scheme
is designed to help if we were ever served with a government warrant
with an attached gag order that prohibited us from discussing the
warrant (the second condition) but that did not compel us to continue
signing and publishing canaries against our will (the third condition).
However, this will not work if the adversary is willing to coerce us
into signing and publishing statements or if signers are willing to lie
by signing statements they know to be false. Hence, this canary scheme
is limited and fallible, which is why we have always included a
statement to this effect in every canary.

The Qubes security team

[1] https://github.com/QubesOS/qubes-secpack/blob/master/canaries/canary-028-2021.txt
[2] https://github.com/QubesOS/qubes-secpack/blob/master/canaries/canary-028-2021-letter-joanna.txt
[3] https://www.qubes-os.org/news/2018/11/05/qubes-security-team-update/