Re: Call for Community Feedback: Guidance on Reporting Protocol Vulnerabilities

Michael Thomas <mike@mtcc.com> Wed, 28 October 2020 17:43 UTC

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Subject: Re: Call for Community Feedback: Guidance on Reporting Protocol Vulnerabilities
To: Pete Resnick <resnick@episteme.net>, Eliot Lear <lear@cisco.com>
Cc: Ned Freed <ned.freed@mrochek.com>, The IETF List <ietf@ietf.org>
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From: Michael Thomas <mike@mtcc.com>
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Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2020 10:42:58 -0700
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On 10/28/20 10:27 AM, Pete Resnick wrote:
> On 28 Oct 2020, at 12:00, Eliot Lear wrote:
>
>> This is where I think there may be some subtle issue, and I don’t 
>> want to make this all about Mike.  Many researchers have no equities 
>> in our organization.  They may not even have a fix available for the 
>> very problem that they have found.  We have red teams for a reason: 
>> it’s just a different muscle.  So they see their job as finished when 
>> they’ve reported.  And then they’re on to the next thing.  That’s 
>> their incentive model.  Mike just happens to care more than most, but 
>> we shouldn’t optimize around him.
>
> Lest there be any question: I completely agree with you on the above 
> Eliot. The proposal on the table from the IESG that Roman posted is a 
> great start into how to deal with exactly those researchers you are 
> talking about, and I fully support the idea. I don't want those folks 
> to have to wade through the rest of IETF process if they have no 
> intention to be part of the whole kit and caboodle of WG protocol 
> development. The one and only thing I was responding to was Mike's 
> analysis of the core problem based on his personal experiences. He is 
> not like one of those researchers in that he does participate in the 
> IETF as a regular participant, and we should absolutely not be 
> optimizing around the cases he's concerned with.
>
As I mentioned earlier, security issues can be very subtle and not easy 
to explain or understand. Lobbing a write-only report over the wall is 
hardly ideal. They have every right to do that, of course, but if they 
can be coaxed to participate while it gets digested, that would be a lot 
better. And then of course, there are the cases where somebody thinks 
something might be wrong, but isn't sure of it. That more resembles me. 
Maybe I'm a unicorn though. I'll check for glitter in a bit.

Mike