[Fwd: Re: FW:FreeBSD hiding security stuff]

Colin Percival colin.percival at wadham.ox.ac.uk
Fri Mar 4 13:40:50 GMT 2005

Well, I *tried* to CC: freebsd-security... I'm forwarding this to
get around the "posting from wrong address" filter.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: FW:FreeBSD hiding security stuff
Date: Fri, 04 Mar 2005 04:42:48 -0800
From: Colin Percival <cperciva at freebsd.org>
To: Jonathan Weiss <tomonage2 at gmx.de>
CC: freebsd-security at freebsd.org,	FreeBSD-Hackers <hackers at freebsd.org>
References: <BE4E0FDD.1A486%tomonage2 at gmx.de>

[I'm adding a CC: to freebsd-security, since I'm sure this thread will
get reposted there if I don't.  For those not subscribed to -hackers:
Jonathan forwarded the an email Theo wrote to openbsd-misc:
http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=openbsd-misc&m=110993373705509&w=2 ]

Jonathan Weiss wrote:
> Whats the intention behind the FreeBSD developers policy?

Quoting from secteam's TODO list for advisories:

1. Check if security officers need to be contacted at OpenBSD, NetBSD,
OS X, or DragonFlyBSD.

Yes, that's item #1 on our list. :-)

In this case, I wasn't sure if OpenBSD was affected, so I emailed Theo
asking for certain details which would allow me to make this determination.

Theo wrote:
> A few FreeBSD developers apparently have found some security issue
> of some sort affecting i386 operating systems in some cases.

s/A few FreeBSD developers/One FreeBSD developer/

I discovered this issue in December; until a few days ago I was working
on it to determine whether it could be exploited.

> They have refused to give us real details.

Theo, in one of several replies, indicated that I should provide the
details to Ted Unangst (tedu@).  I contacted Ted and provided him with
the details; he agreed with me about how and when it should be handled
by OpenBSD.

> A promise is now being made.
> If a bug is found in OpenSSH, which we believe to have security
> consequences, we wil inform FreeBSD last.
> Fair is fair.
> I really wish it was not this way, but after a week of trying to get the
> policy to be fixed, we are changing our policy as well.
> Without immediate action from them to repair their polcy, and a public
> apology for this, that policy will stand.

The policy of the FreeBSD security team is to notify other vendors and work
with them to co-ordinate a disclosure schedule.  It is also the policy of
the FreeBSD security team to avoid disclosing security issues to anyone who
does not need to know about them (i.e., anyone other than other affected
vendors, admins@, and in some cases re@).

I will make no apology for either of these, and I doubt anyone else (either
from the security team, or the security officer himself) will do so either.

Colin Percival
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