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Re: Announcing new security mailing list
From: full-disclosure () lists netsys com (Simon Richter)
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 22:01:33 +0200

Hi,

To me, the term "full disclosure" does not mean "make it available as 
fast
as possible", but rather "here is the information, expect it to leak in
the next two weeks, so go out and fix the bug". The current bugtraq 
scheme
enforces that, and I believe they are doing a great job.

We are placing the responsibility with the individual, not with an
organisation here.

IMHO an organisation has a greater chance of doing things right than a 
number of individuals. For example, I do not have a complete list of 
Linux/BSD/Unix distributors' security contacts, and I believe many 
others out there haven't either, however such a list is vital for vendor 
notification.

 What we do not believe in is having a situation where
a select few are aware of a problem, but 99% of the internet populace 
are
powerless to defend against it. We are not saying that the vendor 
should not
be informed, we are saying, inform the people and the vendor 
simultaneously.

What do you gain by informing the people? Many people running servers 
are unable to disallow mail relaying on their boxes, why do you expect 
them to understand how to recompile and reinstall a webserver? Even the 
few competent admins who could understand an advisory and fix things by 
themselves might like an official update from a distributor, packaged 
and ready to install.

If we are lucky enough
that the vulnerability is spotted by a whitehat, we should not 
jeopardize
the time advantage we have by announcing it publically.

This situation already occurs. If a researcher leaks information to a 
few
'allies', if a technique is discovered 'in the wild', or if a vendor 
silently
fixes unknown problems, then there are those who possess the knowledge 
and
those that don't. We are simply providing a forum for those who wish to 
try
and balance out this situation.

If some bug is being exploited "in the wild" there is no sense in 
holding back information; I believe the bugtraq moderators understand 
that (at least they approved postings stating that something was being 
exploited already within a few minutes.

In short, I think this is a bad idea because it adds confusion for the
vulnerability spotters, risks early disclosure before fixes are 
available
and thus harms the users.

Early disclosure is important, IMO, as was proved with the recent 
Apache flaw.
I believe there were reports of Gobbles' exploit being active in the 
wild long
before the patched packages were available,

Well, I believe this case was a matter of Gobbles' attitude -- they 
simply didn't follow the rules by sharing their exploit with other 
people before the official release date. There will always be people 
like this (=> "instant fame"), and giving them a forum in which they can 
publicize their exploits to an even wider audience will not make the 
problem go away.

If that happens it is the same thing as with every other exploit being 
actively used -- notify everyone instantly, as there is no point in 
still holding back information. I believe the bugtraq moderators 
understand this, and approve such postings right away.

    Simon



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