RUS-CERT Criticizes Mozilla Security Bugs Policy

Thursday March 11th, 2004

Simon Paquet sent us a link to a German article from the Computer Emergency Response Team of the University of Stuttgart (RUS-CERT) that criticizes Mozilla's security policy.

Simon provides a translation of the key points of the article: "The RUS-CERT criticizes Mozilla's security approach to security leaks. They find fault in the fact that no official security advisories are published by the Mozilla Foundation. Instead security leaks are silently patched and incorporated into newer releases.

"They come to the conclusion, 'At the moment Mozilla is obviously no convincing alternative to the market leader [Microsoft].' In an update to their article, they state that this sentence was interpreted as saying that everyone should refrain from using Mozilla. This is not the case. They only state that Mozilla suffers from the same security problems as all other clients and that the use of Mozilla alone is no solution to those security problems."

The last major update to the Known Vulnerabilities in Mozilla page was in November. The Mozilla Security Bugs Policy explains how security flaws are handled.

#22 Re: Re: I supported Mozilla's policy..

by Pike2

Friday March 12th, 2004 5:30 PM

You are replying to this message

> You shouldn't be able to do that. In theory, all security bugs should be secret.

Only until the fix is incorporated into a release.

Regarding the original article, it comes from a university CERT, targeted at that particular university. One fundamental issue in that article is that linux distros don't distribute Mozilla security fixes as security updates. On top of that, the 1.6 release notes mention fixed security bugs, but there are no advisories, so one can't estimate the risk from either the release notes nor from the known-vulnerabilities page.

I guess we should a) update the know-vulnerabilites page again. (or skip the vanilla entry about security bug fixes from the release notes, not sure if we just paste that entry from release to release.) b) sell security fixes more agressivly to distributors.