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Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2013 11:46:01 -0800
From: Daniel Kahn Gillmor <>
CC: "Jason A. Donenfeld" <>
Subject: Re: CVE request - Linux kernel: VFAT slab-based buffer

On 02/27/2013 11:26 AM, Jason A. Donenfeld wrote:

> "If you see something, say something."

I'd love it if it were this simple, but it's not.  It's work.  Look at
the examples of good security reports on this list (e.g. ones that were
issued CVEs with no extra discussion needed).

These reports require thoughtful analysis, testing, and a good sense of
what the tradeoffs are for making the fixes.  this takes time (and
skill).  Sometimes all the work and analysis leads to a conclusion that
the failure was not actually exploitable in any significant way.  And
not every fix has obvious security implications -- some only become
apparent after the investigative work is done.

Some fixes are simple, fixing them has no obvious side effects, and
there is clear evidence not fixing it could lead to an exploit.  You
could even argue that the issue that started this thread is one of them
(though i haven't spent enough time to understand it well enough to know
if that's the case).

If *every* bug fix were reported to oss-security without this work, as
something like "i'm not sure, but this might be security-related", then
this list would drown in noise (the NYC MTA's supposed anti-terrorism
campaign suffers this same flaw, btw).

So, we have a culture of asking people to report security flaws only
after doing some level of work to ensure that the report is correct and

We have to acknowledge that this is extra work, and not everyone has the
time (or skill) to do it properly.


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