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RE: DJB's students release 44 *nix software vulnerability advisories
From: "Manning, Robert (Mission Systems)" <Bob.Manning () ngc com>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 14:31:16 -0800

Actually, I think this would make for a fascinating course. If I were teaching it, I don't know that I would have 
insisted on each student finding 10 holes, that does seem too optimistic. Rather, I would think requiring students to 
document their efforts at attempting to find holes, and assign extra credit for those who actually discover them. That 
would allow all students an equal chance at a grade, without penalizing those who aren't fortunate enough (as it were) 
to run across a vulnerability.

This sort of course is well outside what those in academia think of as the normal CS curriculum (see 
http://www.computer.org/cspress/CATALOG/cs01499.htm). Instead of criticism, I would think that we in the software 
industry (and especially those of us who also teach CS) should champion inventive (and currently quite relevant) 
courses such as this. It is hard to convince those who make such decisions to allow such courses, especially in light 
of insufficient precedence (the bureaucratic inertia of academia rivals that of other government offices).

Arguing over how to classify an exploit seems to be fair game for this list, but you folks often forget just how 'l33t 
you are. You forget how long it took you to know what you know. College students are probably more over-worked than you 
are. If I were the instructor of this class, I would probably caution my students on submitting their work to lists 
like Bugtraq, and if they chose to, to be well aware of the flames that may result. Arguing over full disclosure or 
whether something is remotely exploitable or not misses the point of the class, near as I can tell.

Happy Holidays to all.
Robert Manning

-----Original Message-----
From: D. J. Bernstein [mailto:djb () cr yp to]
Sent: Friday, December 17, 2004 8:25 PM
To: bugtraq () securityfocus com
Subject: Re: DJB's students release 44 *nix software vulnerability

Shu T. Messenger writes:
In each case, Professor Bernstein notified the author of the
vulnerable package on Dec 15 via e-mail. This mail hit 
Bugtraq on the
16th, giving one day for vendors to provide fixes.

Actually, I sent all of these notifications to the public 
mailing list (http://securesoftware.list.cr.yp.to) at the 
same time that
I sent them to the authors. It certainly wasn't my intention 
to give the
authors an extra day of self-delusion.

Is the class on responsible disclosure next semester perhaps?

If you had bothered to look at the slides on the course web page, you
would have seen a half day dedicated to the topic, plus some 
examples on
subsequent days of how people react to full disclosure when they're
trying to protect their shoddy security practices.

The reason that the 16 students sent their 91 reports to me 
privately is
so that they wouldn't have to deal with people like you. It 
was entirely
my decision to send out these 44 public notices.

---D. J. Bernstein, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics,
Statistics, and Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago

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