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Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2018 14:52:44 +0200
From: Marcus Meissner <meissner@...e.de>
To: oss-security@...ts.openwall.com
Subject: Re: Rule for releasing fixes for embargoed bugs

Hi,

On Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 01:45:16PM +0200, Dominique Martinet wrote:
> Hi,
> 
> I tried asking this question in private and was told there is no clear
> rule (and opinions vary) on the subject of releasing fixes for bugs
> still under embargo; and to ask the list, so here we go:
> 
>  When should vendors publish fixes for bugs that are under embargo ?
> 
> 
> My opinion is that the point of security embargoes, and linux-distro in
> particular, is to give vendors time to prepare a fix so that fixes can
> be released almost immediately after the issue is made public.
> 
> Releasing a fix early pretty much leaks the issue to people monitoring
> distro updates, especially if there is a clear changelog that states
> there have been security fixes with a neat summary and sources are
> available.
> 
> 
> I'm asking because this happened today and some vendor released a kernel
> with patches for CVE-2018-3690 (yet another speculation/side-channel
> vulnerability), but their fix for it broke another component in the
> kernel (RDMA networking) and people trying to fix that bug are now
> wasting their's and everyone's/my time saying they cannot make the RDMA
> issue public because it has been caused by a security fix still under
> embargo.
> At this point, I'm not sure what this is supposed to protect: I have a
> pretty good idea of what the fixes are about and I'm not a security
> researcher, so if I could figure this much I'm sure smarter people can
> use it, and folks who are waiting for the embargo to end before actually
> posting fixes (including upstream!) are now leaving their users in
> trouble.
> 
> 
> I don't really care about speculation/side channel attacks frankly but
> there's no reason other bugs won't have the same issue, so I think
> "waiting for the issue to be made public before releasing fixes" should
> be made a rule if at all possible.

There seems to be some miscommunation here, which should be directly
clarified with the security team of the affected distribution(s).

Rule of thumb is: when a vendor publishes updates for an issue, the issue
is public and can be referenced publically. I do not understand why you
would get push back unless there are communication problems.

Also FWIW CVE-2018-3690 is an older reference to "Bounds Check Bypass Store",
which is now tracked as CVE-2018-3693 and is public.

Ciao, Marcus

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