Industry plans to change the way third parties report security vulnerabilities in software systems will probably be ignored say experts.
The Organisation for Internet Safety (OIS), set up in September 2002 and backed by Microsoft amongst others, had earlier this month announced a ‘best practice’ draft for making public security vulnerabilities found in software – including major operating systems such as Windows.
The date for final comment on the draft was set for July 7th.
Now it looks as if the security community – especially information providers issuing real-time security alerts – will simply ignore the initiative, leaving Microsoft and other OSI members facing an uphill battle to gain support.
The OSI initiative has so far failed to convince researchers that reporting security holes to vendors before putting them in the public domain was in the interests of anyone other than vendors themselves.
“They should not try to dictate,” said Thomas Kristensen, CTO for Danish security advisory company Secunia. “If Microsoft [and others] is successful, it might be difficult to get to this information.”
Kristensen feared OSI members such as Microsoft might try to push for legislation on the issue by attempting to influence politicians in the US and Europe.
Scott Blake, a vice president of information security at Bindview and acting spokesman for the OSI, was eager to dismiss fears that the draft was an attempt to stop the disclosure of security information to software customers.
“We’re asking people to hold back on technical information for a short period,” he said. “[The draft] specifies that software vendors should respond as quickly as possible.”
“We’re taking in comments and will be announcing the next stage of the draft at the Black Hat convention in Las Vegas.”
Blake remained realistic, however. “In the short term, it is not going to be highly successful. We are trying to being about a culture change.”
In additon to Microsoft and Bindview, the OSI’s membership includes The SCO Group, Foundstone, Guardent, Internet Security Systems, Network Associates, Oracle, SGI and Symantec.