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Coordinated vulnerability disclosure

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(Redirected from Responsible disclosure)

In computer security, coordinated vulnerability disclosure (CVD, formerly known as responsible disclosure)[1] is a vulnerability disclosure model in which a vulnerability or an issue is disclosed to the public only after the responsible parties have been allowed sufficient time to patch or remedy the vulnerability or issue.[2] This coordination distinguishes the CVD model from the "full disclosure" model.

Developers of hardware and software often require time and resources to repair their mistakes. Often, it is ethical hackers who find these vulnerabilities.[1] Hackers and computer security scientists have the opinion that it is their social responsibility to make the public aware of vulnerabilities. Hiding problems could cause a feeling of false security. To avoid this, the involved parties coordinate and negotiate a reasonable period of time for repairing the vulnerability. Depending on the potential impact of the vulnerability, the expected time needed for an emergency fix or workaround to be developed and applied and other factors, this period may vary between a few days and several months.

Coordinated vulnerability disclosure may fail to satisfy security researchers who expect to be financially compensated. At the same time, reporting vulnerabilities with the expectation of compensation is viewed by some as extortion.[3][4] While a market for vulnerabilities has developed, vulnerability commercialization (or "bug bounties") remains a hotly debated topic. Today, the two primary players in the commercial vulnerability market are iDefense, which started their vulnerability contributor program (VCP) in 2003, and TippingPoint, with their zero-day initiative (ZDI) started in 2005. These organizations follow the coordinated vulnerability disclosure process with the material bought. Between March 2003 and December 2007 an average 7.5% of the vulnerabilities affecting Microsoft and Apple were processed by either VCP or ZDI.[5] Independent firms financially supporting coordinated vulnerability disclosure by paying bug bounties include Facebook, Google, and Barracuda Networks.[6]

Disclosure policies[edit]

Google Project Zero has a 90-day disclosure deadline which starts after notifying vendors of vulnerability, with details shared in public with the defensive community after 90 days, or sooner if the vendor releases a fix.[7]

ZDI has a 120-day disclosure deadline which starts after receiving a response from the vendor.[8]


Selected security vulnerabilities resolved by applying coordinated disclosure:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ding, Aaron Yi; De jesus, Gianluca Limon; Janssen, Marijn (2019). "Ethical hacking for boosting IoT vulnerability management". Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Telecommunications and Remote Sensing. Ictrs '19. Rhodes, Greece: ACM Press. pp. 49–55. arXiv:1909.11166. doi:10.1145/3357767.3357774. ISBN 978-1-4503-7669-3. S2CID 202676146.
  2. ^ Weulen Kranenbarg, Marleen; Holt, Thomas J.; van der Ham, Jeroen (2018-11-19). "Don't shoot the messenger! A criminological and computer science perspective on coordinated vulnerability disclosure" (PDF). Crime Science. 7 (1): 16. doi:10.1186/s40163-018-0090-8. ISSN 2193-7680. S2CID 54080134.
  3. ^ Kuhn, John (27 May 2016). "Bug Poaching: A New Extortion Tactic Targeting Enterprises". Security Intelligence. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  4. ^ Rashid, Fahmida (9 September 2015). "Extortion or fair trade? The value of bug bounties". InfoWorld. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  5. ^ Stefan Frei, Dominik Schatzmann, Bernhard Plattner, Brian Trammel (2008). "Modelling the Security Ecosystem - The Dynamics of (In)Security".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Walshe, T.; Simpson, A.C. (2022). "Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure programme effectiveness: Issues and recommendations". Computers & Security. 123. doi:10.1016/j.cose.2022.102936. Retrieved 2023-08-21.
  7. ^ "Feedback and data-driven updates to Google's disclosure policy". Project Zero. 2015-02-13. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  8. ^ "Disclosure Policy". www.zerodayinitiative.com. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  9. ^ "MD5 collision attack that shows how to create false CA certificates".
  10. ^ Goodin, Dan (2015-05-24). "Researcher who exploits bug in Starbucks gift cards gets rebuke, not love". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2023-05-16.
  11. ^ "Dan Kaminsky discovery of DNS cache poisoning" (PDF).
  12. ^ "MIT students find vulnerability in the Massachusetts subway security". Archived from the original on 2016-03-18. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
  13. ^ "Researchers break the security of the MIFARE Classic cards" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-03-18. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
  14. ^ a b "Project Zero: Reading privileged memory with a side-channel". 3 January 2018.
  15. ^ The Return of Coppersmith’s Attack: Practical Factorization of Widely Used RSA Moduli, Matus Nemec, Marek Sys, Petr Svenda, Dusan Klinec, Vashek Matyas, November 2017

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