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

Benjamin Kaduk <kaduk@mit.edu> Wed, 28 October 2020 18:42 UTC

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Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2020 11:42:08 -0700
From: Benjamin Kaduk <kaduk@mit.edu>
To: Michael Thomas <mike@mtcc.com>
Cc: The IETF List <ietf@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: Call for Community Feedback: Guidance on Reporting Protocol Vulnerabilities
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References: <5081794697df44d8bd76b675cf08dc23@cert.org> <09B0A1A1-6534-4A44-A162-9962FFF8D8B8@cisco.com> <362d68dd6117452f925322f8180de423@cert.org> <B864FFAE-3E3E-4CEF-B832-4552C8BAE70B@cisco.com> <61d17bb9-9056-ecbd-e7f8-e7bd5bd27d97@mtcc.com> <01RRASWVT8OO005PTU@mauve.mrochek.com> <3552cbcd-2d6e-da06-5d66-d0218f6c57ac@mtcc.com> <F8E98E25-CAEE-43CF-B65C-3186844F4A29@cisco.com> <5d4bc8a9-4955-dde3-6022-7bdb2f5dc7ae@mtcc.com>
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On Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 11:27:13AM -0700, Michael Thomas wrote:
> 
> On 10/27/20 11:00 AM, Eliot Lear wrote:
> > I think what you are pointing out is that maybe it would help if these 
> > things were properly tracked against anything that would update or 
> > obsolete existing work.  We might even be able to automate the 
> > response along the lines of:
> >
> >   * A working group is currently working on an update.  Please feel
> >     free to join in the fun at...
> >   * A working group is currently working on a replacement (e.g.,
> >     obsolete). Please feel free to join in the fun at ...
> >   * No current update is in progress.  In addition to filing an
> >     erratum, we invite you to provide an update through our errata
> >     process, and perhaps through our standards process.  You can
> >     contact <insert AD here> for more information.
> >
> >
> My impression is that errata has a pretty high barrier to entry if it's 
> potentially controversial. There doesn't seem to be any easy mechanism 
> to do a one off update that requires wg buy in to get enough eyeballs on 
> the problem to make certain that the fix is correct. it's like you need 
> something similar to a critical security update to your OS, say, which 
> needs to be well vetted by the devs, but doesn't want to wait for the 
> next point release.

There are several WGs where we've had extended discussions over the text to
put in a potential errata report, before the report gets submitted.

> If errata is that mechanism for something controversial, it's news to 
> me. Mostly what i've seen with errata are minor fixes which the wg chair 
> and/or authors can sign off easily.

I don't think that errata are the definitive mechanism for potentially
controversial things or things that require intrusive changes to resolve,
but they can be an appropriate tool.  A drive-by errata report without
additional discussion is probably not going to be the most effective way to
make progress on such issues, but it can definitely be useful to have the
issue documented in an errata report, even as a revision to the RFC is
underway to fix the issue.

-Ben