Re: Time-to-patch vs Disclosure method

From: Mark Kennedy (
Date: 10/17/01

Subject: Re: Time-to-patch vs Disclosure method
To: Olaf Kirch <>
Message-ID: <>
From: "Mark Kennedy" <>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 14:55:53 -0700

I disagree that all Microsoft is doing is diverting attention. They raise
some legitimate questions and concerns. Their problems are another topic.
But just because they are the source of the vulnerability does not
undermine their valid concerns on how that vulnerability is disclosed.



                    Olaf Kirch
                    <okir@caldera. To: "J. J. Horner" <>
                    de> cc:
                                         Subject: Re: Time-to-patch vs Disclosure method
                    02:02 PM

On Wed, Oct 17, 2001 at 01:15:20PM -0400, J. J. Horner wrote:
> I think it would be helpful to see some stats showing
> the length of time to security patch versus the
> type of disclosure used (full, or otherwise).

I think the really interesting metric is time-to-exploit vs
disclosure. The time-to-exploit can be quite low. I particularly remember
the uw-imap AUTH bug I reported to Crispin a couple of years ago. There
was an announcement to the pine-users mailing list about an unspecified
"security fix". The first exploits were available the other day, and
the first mass scans were well under way a week or two later.

Similar things happened with other Linux/Unix holes (amd, rpc.statd, etc).
With most services _knowing_ there's a security hole is enough to motivate
people to go find it and write an exploit.

What Microsoft is doing right now, though, is divert everyone's attention
from the real problem, which is the quality of their product. So whatever
one says in response to their claims will probably just add to the smoke
and FUD.


Olaf Kirch         |  --- o --- Nous sommes du soleil we love when we play  |    / | \   sol.dhoop.naytheet.ah    +-------------------- Why Not?! -----------------------
         UNIX, n.: Spanish manufacturer of fire extinguishers.