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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: Population of ooo-security
Date Fri, 29 Jul 2011 14:03:54 GMT
On Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 3:49 AM, Daniel Shahaf <> wrote:
> Shane Curcuru wrote on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 22:34:53 -0400:
>> Note that I would also recommend emailing security@ after you have a
>> basic proposed plan to get advice, and to strongly consider
>> following any advice you get.  They and some of the other major
>> Apache projects, like Tomcat, Subversion, and httpd, should also be
>> able to provide good guidance on ways to alert first responders
>> (packagers, binary builders, whoever) in an appropriate manner
>> before public disclosures.
> For Subversion we maintain a pre-notification list that contains admin
> contacts for some large installations and a script to email all of them
> individually (i.e., the same email message N times, to avoid BCC).
> (Members can see that at /pmc/subversion/security in the private repository.)
> We email the fix when it's ready, so they can install it ahead of time.

That suggests an interesting approach:

1) When a vulnerability report first comes in, it is reviewed by a
very small circle of people.  So just the PMC members on ooo-security
and security.a.o.  They do the initial screening and determine next

2) Additional 3rd party experts are brought in as needed, depending on
the nature of the issue.  This might include experts from related open
source projects, but at this point they are contacted for their
expertise and assistance.  This stage this is not intended to be a

3) Once a patch is developed, the project needs to decide the next
step. Do we publish immediately?  Or do we share the patch with a
pre-notification list first?  The decision will need to be made on a
case-by-case basis, balancing the risks.  If a zero-day exploit is
already in the wild, then that would suggest we publish the patch
immediately.  But if there is no known exploit then there would be
little harm from having a pre-notification, so long as we "embargo"
the technical details from public disclosure until a pre-defined
future date.   If, for one reason or another, the information is
inadvertently publicly disclosed, then we would go ahead with the CVE,
patch public disclosure immediately.  You assume that once the
information is public that the black hats have it as well.

4) Go ahead with the public disclosure and CVE and patch publication.

The nice thing about stage #3, is we're ready to issue a patch at a
moment's notice.  The technical work is done.  We're doing the
pre-notification to help the broader ecosystem to patch their systems
before the vulnerability becomes public.  We make a best effort
attempt to share that info.  But if for any reason, the vulnerability
becomes public, then our duty to our users requires that we make the
patch available immediately.


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