To me, the term "full disclosure" does not mean "make it available as
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
enforces that, and I believe they are doing a great job.
We are placing the responsibility with the individual, not with an
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
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
powerless to defend against it. We are not saying that the vendor
be informed, we are saying, inform the people and the vendor
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
the time advantage we have by announcing it publically.
This situation already occurs. If a researcher leaks information to a
'allies', if a technique is discovered 'in the wild', or if a vendor
fixes unknown problems, then there are those who possess the knowledge
those that don't. We are simply providing a forum for those who wish to
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
and thus harms the users.
Early disclosure is important, IMO, as was proved with the recent
I believe there were reports of Gobbles' exploit being active in the
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.
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