Hey all, it feels like it’s been forever since I wrote a blog post that wasn’t about some specific disaster currently consuming the Internet, so I just wanted to drop a note here about how I’ll be speaking at UNITED 2017, Rapid7’s annual security summit in Boston September 11-14. Specifically, I’ll be closing out the Research and Collaborate track at UNITED on a topic near and dear to my heart: the vagaries of vulnerability disclosure.
Vuln disclosure is a funny business; when you’re on the receiving side, it’s at best some unwelcome news about some bug in your product that’s putting your customers at risk. If you’re on the giving side, it’s pretty much an invitation for angry letters from CTOs and their attorneys. So why bother?
Turns out, despite all the emotional pain associated with it, reasonable vulnerability disclosure is pretty much the most effective tool we have to make the internet-connected products and services we produce and use that much stronger in the face of an increasingly hostile public network. We need vuln disclosure conversations in order to get better at what we do, since it’s literally impossible to write, assemble, package, and deliver software of any complexity completely vulnerability-free on the first try.
So, the goal of this talk is to share some stories about my experiences in vuln handling from both sides. As director of research here at Rapid7, I’m often the first point of contact for software and technology vendors when one of our researchers uncovers a vulnerability. On the flip side, I also get notifications about Rapid7 product bugs from email@example.com, so I spend a fraction of my work life helping to get those bits of nastiness resolved.
If you're looking for tips and advice on how to handle vulnerability disclosures—either as a discoverer, or as someone responsible for patching shipping software—then I hope my experiences will give you some insight into how this surprisingly emotion-driven business of disclosure works.
Haven't yet signed up to join us at UNITED this year? Register here.