06 October 2007

How Long Do You Wait For Responsible Disclosure?

A vocal minority of people were critical of the timeline last time I found a security flaw so let's try this: (names changed to protect the innocent and the guilty)

  • 2007-Jan-16 - Reported local privilege escalation issue to Vendor D
  • 2007-Jan-17 - Vendor D will "review as soon as possible"
  • 2007-Jan-31 - Vendor D "working on planning a fix", will coordinate release when product update has ETA
  • 2007-Apr-20 - Vendor D thinks it would be better if Vendor J made changes to fix the problem in Vendor D's software
  • 2007-Jun-21 - Contacted Vendor J for status
  • 2007-Jun-22 - Vendor J says precisely which changes they're going to make for their next release (slated for Q4). These changes are not enough to protect Vendor D's software.
  • 2007-Aug-29 - Vendor D says they've made suggestions to Vendor J, but otherwise aren't going to do anything to fix this issue
  • 2007-Oct-01 - It turns out that Vendor J's recent builds indeed don't do enough to cover up the vulnerability in Vendor D's software

Beyond that, people running current versions of vendor J's software will be vulnerable forever because vendor D says they aren't going to do anything about it: (from Vendor D's August 29th email)

[Vendor D] does not currently plan to make changes to our existing products
to directly address the problem you reported. The changes would require
considerable architectural modifications for those products, and the changes
could cause other problems for those products if [Vendor J] subsequently
release[sic] an ... update to address the underlying problem.

My immediate thoughts are that a disclosure deadline late this month would be appropriate at this point. That'll give me time to prepare a third-party patch to make the fix that Vendor D should've made ages ago, and give the parties some additional PR prep time (beyond the 9 months they've already received). I have to say that Vendor J really isn't at fault here, Vendor D made a stupid mistake and now doesn't want to take the time to fix it.

But this is blog land, so maybe people have thoughts.

Update: I've told the vendors November 1 (or earlier at their discretion).

No comments: