Bug-Reporting Blues: The Vulnerability Disclosure ChallengeDaniel Cuthbert Analyzes Frequent Coordinated Disclosure Hurdles Facing Researchers
One recurring information security challenge is the process of vulnerability disclosure. When security researchers, often acting independently, find flaws in software, hardware or services, they can face numerous hurdles in trying to hand off their vulnerability report to someone in a position to get the bugs fixed.
Longtime information security researcher Daniel Cuthbert notes that lately, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven more people to rely on online tools - for everything from holding work meetings to ordering groceries. And that has motiviated some security researchers to take a closer look at these tools as a result of bug-bounty programs that will pay them for reports (see: So You Want to Build a Vulnerability Disclosure Program?).
Cuthbert says it's only natural that many more bugs keep coming to light. "Writing secure software is hard. It's not as simple as people think," he says. "There's way more information than when I started about how to find bugs, and you know all the rage now is bug-bounty hunters and bug bounties. Everyone is excited, like, 'I want to be a hacker!' And so they're finding bugs, and that's why … we're now hearing about, 'Oh my god, how do you report these bugs? This company wants to sue me. Why are you doing this?'"
In this video interview with Information Security Media Group, Cuthbert also discusses:
- Why some organizations and industries respond unfavorably to bug reports or don't understand how to engage with vulnerability disclosure;
- How structured security testing, pen testing and bug bounty programs differ and why each can be essential;
- How organizations can improve handling of bug reports and how the proposed security.txt standard could help.
Cuthbert is a longtime security researcher, member of the Black Hat Review Board, founding member of the Open Source Foundation for Application Security and co-author of the OWASP Application Security Verification Standard.