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Role(s)Phase(s)ProblemDescriptionTips
ReporterValidation and TriageVendor explicitly declines to take action on a report
  1. The vendor has been given an opportunity to review the report
  2. The vendor informs the reporter of its decision not to take any further action

Assuming both conditions above have been met, the validation and triage phase has concluded, and the vendor has indicated that they will not be engaging in the remediation phase.

The reporter's implied obligation to the vendor coordination process is effectively terminated at this point. Assuming the reporter chooses to continue pursuing the issue at all, their options include:

  • The reporter may publish the report on their own.
  • The reporter may attempt to engage a coordinator
Vendor / Coordinator / Reporter

Discovery

Reporting

Validation and Triage

Remediation

Evidence of exploitation for an embargoed report
  1. The vulnerability is still under embargo (i.e., the process has not reached the Public Awareness phase yet).
  2. Evidence indicates that the vulnerability is being used by attackers.

See 6.6 Active Exploitation

At this point, the embargo is effectively moot, and the Public Awareness phase is initiated regardless of whether the preceding phases have completed.

Vendors, Coordinators, and Reporters should always be ready to immediately terminate an embargo and go public with whatever advice is available at the time that evidence of exploitation becomes known.

The Vendor should accelerate their remediation development as much as possible.

Even a simple Vendor acknowledgement that the problem is being worked on can help deployers adjust their response accordingly.

ReporterReportingUnable to engage vendor contact
  1. The reporter has made reasonable attempts through multiple channels to reach the vendor
  2. The reporter has been unable to confirm that the vendor has received the report

See Finding Vendor Contacts for tips on how to reach vendors. See also 6.1 Unable to Find Vendor Contact and 6.2 Unresponsive Vendor.

Assuming the reporter chooses to continue pursuing the issue at all, their options include:

  • The reporter may publish the report on their own. Hard-to-reach vendors often become less so after a vulnerability or two is made public without their involvement.
  • The reporter may attempt to engage a coordinator, to continue trying to reach the vendor
Reporter

Reporting

Validation and Triage

Remediation

Public Awareness

Vendor stops responding
  1. The reporter and vendor had already been in contact about the vulnerability.
  2. The reporter has repeatedly attempted to communicate with the vendor.
  3. The vendor has been non-responsive for at least two weeks
  4. Either of the following events has occurred:
    1. An already-agreed embargo date has passed, or
    2. No embargo date was set and at least six weeks have elapsed since the vendor's last response.

See also 6.3 Somebody Stops Replying.

At this point, the CERT/CC would consider the vendor to be non-responsive.

Assuming the reporter chooses to continue pursuing the issue at all, their options include:

  • The reporter may publish the report on their own. If so, the reporter should provide a courtesy copy of the report to the vendor with a few days' lead time to give the vendor one last chance to prepare for entering the Public Awareness phase.
  • The reporter may attempt to engage a coordinator


Vendor

Reporting

Validation and Triage

Remediation

Public Awareness

Reporter stops responding
  1. The reporter and vendor had already been in contact about the vulnerability.
  2. The vendor has repeatedly attempted to communicate with the reporter.
  3. The reporter has not responded to the vendor.


See also 6.3 Somebody Stops Replying.

The vendor is under no obligation to continue attempting to engage with a reporter who stops responding.

The vendor should continue through the Validation and Triage, Remediation, and Public Awareness phases on their own as necessary.

If the report was received in the context of a bug bounty program, the vendor should apply their bug bounty policy as appropriate.

Vendor

Reporting

Validation and Triage

Remediation

Vulnerability becomes public prior to vendor intended date
  1. The vendor had received the report.
  2. The vendor is working on it.
  3. Information about the vulnerability appears in public.

At this point, the embargo is effectively moot, and the Public Awareness phase is initiated regardless of whether the preceding phases have completed.

Vendors, Coordinators, and Reporters should always be ready to immediately terminate an embargo and go public with whatever advice is available at the time that the vulnerability becomes known.

The Vendor should accelerate their remediation development as much as possible.

Even a simple Vendor acknowledgement that the problem is being worked on can help deployers adjust their response accordingly.

The CERT/CC does not recommend punitive measures be taken against perceived "leakers". Vendors are of course free to choose with whom they cooperate in the future.

VendorReportingVulnerability becomes public prior to vendor awareness
  1. The vendor was unaware of the vulnerability at the time it became public.

See also 6.4 Intentional or Accidental Leaks and 6.5 Independent Discovery.

The main defenses Vendors have against being surprised by public reports of vulnerabilities in their products are:

  • Vendors should have a mechanism for receiving vulnerability reports and a process for resolving them
  • Vendors should strive to maintain a reputation for cooperating with Finders and Reporters
  • Vendors should design, evaluate, and test their own products as extensively as they are able to.
Vendor

Reporting

Validation and Triage

Remediation

Vendor receives second report of a vulnerability already under embargo
  1. The vendor had received a report of a vulnerability
  2. The vendor received a second, seemingly independent, report of the same vulnerability

See also 6.5 Independent Discovery.

Vulnerability rediscovery is known to happen. It's usually not a big deal if the Reporters are cooperating with the Vendor.

Vendors should attempt to verify that the second report is in fact independent of the first, and not simply a case of the same report taking diverse paths to reach the vendor.

Vendors should re-evaluate any existing embargo and consider accelerating the Remediation and Public Awareness phases in light of the apparent ease with which the vulnerability is being independently found.

Vendors should ensure any relevant bug bounty policies define how this situation will be handled with respect to bounty payouts.

Reporter

Vendor

Coordinator

Reporting

Validation and Triage

Remediation

Public Awareness

A CVD case just isn't going well
  1. Cooperation has failed or is in the process of failing within the context of a particular CVD case.

See also 6.7 Relationships that Go Sideways

All parties in a failing CVD case should consider their actions in light of promoting continued cooperation.

VendorPublic AwarenessA vulnerability is receiving unanticipated media attention
  1. The vendor is aware of the vulnerability, and may have already released a fix.
  2. There is considerable media attention drawn to the vulnerability.
    1. Sometimes this is triggered by savvy marketing on the part of the Finder or Reporter
    2. Other times this attention comes about because of recent similar media stories.
    3. Often the media attention is disproportionate to the severity of the vulnerability.

See also 6.8 Hype, Marketing, and Unwanted Attention

Vendors and Coordinators (if any are involved) can often help their users, constituents and the media to appropriately calibrate their concern about a vulnerability by providing a clear and accurate representation of the facts.

Vendors should not attempt to squash the information already available in the public sphere however. This often backfires, leading to even more publicity. It's better to let the vulnerability be the story rather than have the Vendor's response to the vulnerability become the story.

Reporter

Vendor

Reporting

Validation and Triage

Remediation

Public Awareness

A CVD case involves too many vendors or is otherwise excessively complex.
  1. Multiple vendors are likely to be affected by the vulnerability.
  2. The reporter or Vendor(s) already involved are concerned about their ability to notify and coordinate other Vendors' response to the vulnerability.

See 5.4 Multiparty CVD.

Reporters and Vendors can engage the services of a third party Coordinator to assist with notifying other Vendors, resolving disputes, etc.





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