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Publishing exploit code - what is it good for


I recently had a discussion about the concept of full disclosure with one of 
the top security analysts in a well-known analyst firm. Their claim was that 
companies that release exploit code (like us, but this is also relevant for 
bugtraq, full disclosure, and several security research firms) put users at 
risks while those at risk gain nothing from the release of the exploit.

I tried the regular 'full disclosure advocacy' bit, but the analyst remained 
reluctant. Their claim was that based on their own work experience, a 
security administrator does not have a need for the exploit code itself, and 
the vendor information is enough. The analyst was willing to reconsider their 
position if an end-user came forward and talked to them about their own 
benefit of public exploit codes. Quote: " If I speak to an end-user 
organization and they express legitimate needs for exploit code, then I'll 
change my opinion."

Help me out here. Full disclosure is important for me, as I'm sure it is for 
most of the people on these two lists. If you're an end-user organization and 
are willing to talk to this analyst and explain your view (pro-FD, I hope), 
drop me a note and I'll put you in direct contact.

Please note: I don't need any arguments pro or against full disclosure; all 
this has been discussed in the past. I also don't need you to tell me about 
someone else or some other project (e.g. nessus, snort) that utilizes these 
exploits. Tried that. Didn't work.

What I need is a security administrator, CSO, IT manager or sys admin that can 
explain why they find public exploits are good for THEIR organizations. Maybe 
we can start changing public opinion with regards to full disclosure, and 
hopefully start with this opinion leader.


Aviram Jenik
Beyond Security