In computer security
, responsible disclosure (also known as coordinated vulnerability disclosure),
is a vulnerability disclosure
model in which a vulnerability or an issue is disclosed only after a period of time that allows for the vulnerability or issue to be patched
or mended. This period distinguishes the model from full disclosure
Developers of hardware and software often require time and resources to repair their mistakes. Often times, it is ethical hackers who find these vulnerabilities.
and computer security scientists have the opinion that it is their social responsibility
to make the public aware of vulnerabilities with a high impact. Hiding these problems could cause a feeling of false security
. To avoid this, the involved parties join forces and agree on a period of time for repairing the vulnerability and preventing any future damage. Depending on the potential impact of the vulnerability, the expected time needed for an emergency fix or workaround to be developed and applied and other factors, this period may vary between a few days and several months. It is easier to patch software by using the Internet
as a distribution channel.
Responsible disclosure fails to satisfy security researchers who expect to be financially compensated, while reporting vulnerabilities to the vendor with the expectation of compensation might be viewed as extortion. While a market for vulnerabilities has developed, vulnerability commercialization remains a hotly debated topic tied to the concept of vulnerability disclosure. Today, the two primary players in the commercial vulnerability market are iDefense, which started their vulnerability contributor program (VCP) in 2003, and TippingPoint
, with their zero-day initiative (ZDI) started in 2005. These organizations follow the responsible disclosure process with the material bought. Between March 2003 and December 2007 an average 7.5% of the vulnerabilities affecting Microsoft and Apple were processed by either VCP or ZDI. Independent firms financially supporting responsible disclosure by paying bug bounties
, and Barracuda Networks
was a responsible disclosure mailing list. Many, if not all, of the CERT
groups coordinate responsible disclosures.
Google Project Zero
has a 90-day disclosure deadline which starts after notifying vendors of vulnerability, with details shared in public with the defensive community after 90 days, or sooner if the vendor releases a fix.
ZDI has a 120-day disclosure deadline which starts after receiving a response from the vendor.
Selected security vulnerabilities
resolved by applying responsible disclosure:
collision attack that shows how to create false CA certificates, 1 week
gift card double-spending/race condition to create free extra credits, 10 days (Egor Homakov)
* Dan Kaminsky
discovery of DNS cache poisoning
, 5 months
* MBTA vs. Anderson
, MIT students find vulnerability in the Massachusetts subway security, 5 months
* Radboud University Nijmegen
breaks the security of the MIFARE
Classic cards, 6 months
* The Meltdown vulnerability
, hardware vulnerability affecting Intel x86 microprocessor
s and some ARM
-based microprocessors, 7 months.
* The Spectre vulnerability
, hardware vulnerability with implementations of branch prediction
affecting modern microprocessors with speculative execution
, allowing malicious processes
access to the mapped memory
contents of other programs, 7 months.
* The ROCA vulnerability
, affecting RSA keys generated by an Infineon
library and Yubikey
s, 8 months.
[The Return of Coppersmith’s Attack: Practical Factorization of Widely Used RSA Moduli]
Matus Nemec, Marek Sys, Petr Svenda, Dusan Klinec,Vashek Matyas, November 2017
* Information sensitivity
* White hat (computer security)
* Proactive cyber defence
* Computer emergency response team
* Critical infrastructure protection
Category:Computer security procedures