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Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2024 23:49:42 -0000 (UTC)
From: Tavis Ormandy <>
Subject: Re: backdoor in upstream xz/liblzma leading to ssh server compromise

On 2024-03-29, Marc Deslauriers wrote:
>> I think we should have a policy that if issues are suspected to be actively exploited, that the issue goes public immediately.  If even there is no patch or mitigation, there's not a lot of benefit to keeping it private.
> In this case, we had no reason to believe it was being actively exploited.

Yeah... but you also have no reason to not believe that?

What do you propose they were doing with their backdoor?

> If you make it public before a patch or mitigation is available, it has now gone 
> from a single entity being able to exploit it to the whole world being able to 
> exploit it.
> That's a whole lot worse.

Okay, but do we agree that if there is a mitigation available, it's better
for it to be public?

Isn't doing `dnf downgrade xxx` a mitigation, or `systemctl xxx stop`?

>> I think everyone was acting in good faith here and did great work, but there wasn't a clear policy for handling this type of issue.
> I would argue against having a policy requiring something like this to be made 
> public immediately. The important thing here is to do whatever it takes to make 
> sure users are secure as fast as possible, not expose them to even bigger attack 
> surface with no mitigation available.
> Marc.

We all want users to be secure as fast as possible. The discussion is
whether keeping backdoors embargoed helps achieve that.


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