Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2011 08:24:51 -0400 From: "Mike O'Connor" <mjo@...o.mi.org> To: oss-security@...ts.openwall.com Subject: Re: Closed list :Two eyes = one mouth (mostly), so yes, there were certainly fewer leaks There are other relevant orifices. :linearly with respect to the number of participants. So the problem is :simply limiting the number of participants to the absolute minimum :necessary. The only way to do that (I think) is to empower the :researcher to make the call for him/herself based on what they know :about their issue. Of course, participants in follow-on discussion can :to expand participation to others if they are affected by the issue at :hand. Researchers can already make that call. We've seen outcomes of that before. Sometimes, it's easy to isolate a problem to a given distro. Sometimes, it's a lot less obvious, and some vendors are left out in the cold who really shouldn't have been. I wouldn't necessarily rely on _explicit_ cooperation amongst individual distros to do that sort of message passing, especially when they may be competitors in some sense or other. :> The issue there is that some folks don't necessarily have a good :> handle on the issue where they _can_ reasonably target things. The :> same has sometimes been true even for the coordinating bodies who one :> might think would know better. Often, it's the vendor/distro reps who :> know the particular nuances of their present and future product better :> than anyone else. For a sufficiently diverse product base, that kind :> of knowledge is not easy to break down into some checklist ready-made :> for narrow targeting of issues. : :That would be easy enough to solve. Provide key lists for important :groups (an "open" linux distro key list, an "open+closed" linux provider :key list, an all unix-like os key list, etc.) and pre-cooked one-liners :to encrypt for those sets, then let the researcher choose which one they :want. Some CERTs already operate roughly in this kind of way. This isn't a new idea. It's not clear that it's been especially effective, based on "what I've gotten that I probably shouldn't have gotten" + "what I've missed that others have gotten". :> Make the barrier for participation high enough for the discoverer of :> an issue (who may not always be a "researcher" in any classic sense) :> and the level of participation will be correspondingly low. Keep in :> mind that for many of the open source communities that vendor-sec has :> interacted with, security is _not_ their primary focus. Most people :> write code so they can actually get stuff done. :) : :If documentation is sufficient and pre-cooked commands readily :available, this shouldn't be a problem. People can (and should) be :able to learn. Typing "gpg --encrypt --recipient <key 1> --recipient <key 2>" :isn't all that difficult. Any major "procedure" for reporting a security issue will mean that it's less likely to get reported. The "researcher" (who may be some sysadmin who found a seemingly-novel exploit script on their cracked system) who's going to wade through a bunch of assorted email addresses to cherrypick the right place(s) to send an issue is just as likely to pick a few major distros and call it a day. Imagine if oss-security were broken up into a bunch of different sub-lists, like you describe. How effective would it be? :> enough like-minded folks decide they need to handle the core of the :> issues reported on the list off-list. At that point, the list :> archives might turn into some kind of kabuki dance. To that end, it :> helps to have a bunch of folks on the list who _aren't always_ quite :> so like minded. : :The important consequence is that the outside world will be empowered to :see the inner workings of the one unfortunately closed part of an :otherwise completely open system. It's not a "completely open" system. There's many open-source components whose security arms continue to operate in relative secrecy while developing the fix to an issue. Some don't necessarily share such info very well -- not necessarily out of malice, but sometimes because it just doesn't occur to them (a bug is a bug!). vendor-sec was a mechanism to consolidate _some_ of that, nothing more or less. oss-security has been another helpful means (and again, thank you Solar for setting this up :) ). -- Michael J. O'Connor mjo@...o.mi.org =--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--= "Save regularly in our bank. You'll never reget it." -a classified ad Content of type "application/pgp-signature" skipped
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