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Date: Mon, 7 Sep 2020 19:41:35 -0700
From: Kurt H Maier <>
Subject: Re: Open Source Tool | vPrioritization | Risk
 Prioritization Framework

On Mon, Sep 07, 2020 at 09:11:00PM -0400, Jeffrey Walton wrote:
> Every US Federal agency I have worked with patches. The Social
> Security Administration does it within 30 days, and the Treasury
> Department does it in a matter of days. SSA is one of the largest
> networks in the world with over 100,000 hosts. Treasury had over
> 40,000 hosts.

I've worked with US Federal agencies that did not patch.  I was able to
change some minds, and it was productive work of which I'm proud.  My
success rate is significantly below 100%, although my current employer
is largely sympathetic to this effort.

I would love to patch every computer with the latest available software,
but there remains a gulf between 100k data-entry terminals and computers
that must interact with the physical world.  Machines that are hooked up
to scientific or manufacturing equipment can be extremely difficult to
patch without breaking things and no amount of haughty lecturing seems
to fix the problem, despite same being readily available from multiple
sources as far back as I can remember.  

Risk assessment is for when you don't have absolute control over your

> Microsoft did a study years ago and found most hosts that are
> compromised failed to install vendor patches.

"Software vendor finds that everything would improve if everyone
listened to software vendors" fails by a considerable distance to meet
with my interest.  "Software vendor stops breaking the driver ABI on
supported operating systems" would get a lot farther.  Suggesting this
generally results in an earth-shattering avalanche of excuses about how
hard programming is.

In the meantime, we do what we can.


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