Git 2.13 has been released

The open source Git project has just released Git 2.13.0, with features and bugfixes from over 65 contributors. Before we dig into the new features, we have a brief security announcement.

For those running their own Git hosting server, Git 2.13 fixes a vulnerability in the git shellprogram in which an untrusted Git user can potentially run shell commands on a remote host. This only affects you if you’re running a hosting server and have specifically configured git shell. If none of that makes sense to you, you’re probably fine. See this announcement for more details. As neither GitHub.com nor GitHub Enterprise uses git shell, both are unaffected.

Phew. With that out of the way, let’s get on to the fun stuff.

SHA-1 collision detection

Did I say fun? Oops, we’re not there yet.

You may have heard that researchers recently found the first collision in SHA-1, the hash function Git uses to identify objects. Their techniques may eventually be used to conduct collision-based attacks against Git users. Fortunately those same researchers also provided a way to detect content that is trying to exploit this technique to create collisions. In March, GitHub.com began using that implementation to prevent it being used as a potential platform for conducting collision attacks.

Git 2.13 ships with similar changes, and will detect and reject any objects that show signs of being part of a collision attack. The collision-detecting SHA-1 implementation is now the default. The code is included with Git, so there’s no need to install any additional dependencies. Note that this implementation is slower than the alternatives, but in practice this has a negligible effect on the overall time of most Git operations (because Git spends only a small portion of its time computing SHA-1 hashes in the first place).

In other collision detection news, efforts have continued to develop a transition plan and to prepare the code base for handling new hash functions, which will eventually allow the use of stronger hash algorithms in Git.

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