Commit signatures for centralized version control systems

Sangat Vaidya, Santiago Torres-Arias, Reza Curtmola, Justin Cappos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


Version Control Systems (VCS-es) play a major role in the software development life cycle, yet historically their security has been relatively underdeveloped compared to their importance. Recent history has shown that source code repositories represent appealing attack targets. Attacks that violate the integrity of repository data can impact negatively millions of users. Some VCS-es, such as Git, employ commit signatures as a mechanism to provide developers with cryptographic protections for the code they contribute to a repository. However, an entire class of other VCS-es, including the well-known Apache Subversion (SVN), lacks such protections. We design the first commit signing mechanism for centralized version control systems, which supports features such as working with a subset of the repository and allowing clients to work on disjoint sets of files without having to retrieve each other’s changes. We implement a prototype for the proposed commit signing mechanism on top of the SVN codebase and show experimentally that it only incurs a modest overhead. With our solution in place, the VCS security model is substantially improved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICT Systems Security and Privacy Protection - 34th IFIP TC 11 International Conference, SEC 2019, Proceedings
EditorsGurpreet Dhillon, Fredrik Karlsson, Karin Hedström, André Zúquete
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9783030223113
StatePublished - 2019
Event34th IFIP TC 11 International Conference on Information Security and Privacy Protection, SEC 2019 - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: Jun 25 2019Jun 27 2019

Publication series

NameIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
ISSN (Print)1868-4238
ISSN (Electronic)1868-422X


Conference34th IFIP TC 11 International Conference on Information Security and Privacy Protection, SEC 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems and Management


  • Commit signature
  • SVN
  • Version control system


Dive into the research topics of 'Commit signatures for centralized version control systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this