[NMLUG] Oops! Linux Bug Escapes Early

Warner Losh nmlug@swcp.com
Fri, 30 Nov 2001 12:42:43 -0700

In message <3C07D0BE.8060808@spinn.net> Matt Grommes writes:
: My problem with the idea of a secret behind-the-scenes security policy 
: is that like I say, you're assuming too much. You're assuming that 
: nobody else has the exploit (unlikely), you're assuming nobody within 
: the discovering organization is passing info to others (not too likely), 
: you're assuming that only script kiddies use exploits (absolutely 
: incorrect). I don't care if 1 or 1 million people have an exploit if 
: that 1 person is going to use it to hack my system. Once 1 guy has an 
: exploit they may use it sparingly to hack only certain systems and pass 
: the info along to friends who will use it sparingly. Just because only 5 
: guys in the world have the exploit doesn't mean it doesn't matter. The 
: idea that a security hole isn't an issue until "everyone and their pet 
: frog" has the exploit is wrong. If somebody at $DISTRO found an 
: exploitable hole in their product, the probability that somebody else 
: has found that hole is non-zero. That's the point of open source 
: software. My systems are important enough to me that I'm going to assume 
: that everybody in the world has point-and-click exploit tools for every 
: root level security hole (the speed at which I saw CodeRed IIS exploit 
: attempts hit my apache boxes after the last couple of holes were 
: released validates my paranoia, those tools were ready before I had time 
: to read my email that morning and definately before the hole was widely 
: known). I choose not to assume.

You fail to realize that it is better, for the greater community, to
keep things quiet if only 5 people know about it and are exploiting it
until a solution is available than to broadcast it to the world.
Those 5 people can do relatively little damage.  Allowing all $DISTRO
to fix it then putting the PR push for people to upgrade is more

Your blank and white worldview is good for usenet postings, but not
good policy.

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