Jan 20, 2019

Vulnerability Disclosure Tiers

Vulnerability disclosure often happens in a cascading manner - from one person who discovers it to the public Internet. While everyone agrees that vulnerabilities need to be eventually disclosed in some form, (1) content (2) audience and (3) timing (C A T) of disclosure is often a topic of contention and discontent. There is a hope that if we take out subjectivity from disclosure C A T, vulnerability disclosures can be less painful, especially for critical vulnerabilities.
Audience should be selected based on their role, and if they play by the rules of disclosure. It may not matter if they work for the same organization or not. Same individuals/teams may perform two or three roles. An incident responder may identify the audience and facilitate the flow the contents between tiers.
Vuln Disclosure Tiers

Tier 0 - incident responders, vulnerability researcher

Content: Nothing → vulnerability report, PoC (Proof of Concept)

Tier 1 - inventors, architects and designers

Content: vulnerability report, PoC → well defined problem statement, root cause, solutions, PoC

Tier 2 - implementors, developers

Content: problem, root cause, solutions, PoC → problem, root cause, solutions, PoC, fix

Tier 3 - replicators, validators, pentesters

Content: problem, root cause, solution, PoC, fix → problem, solution, fix, recurrence prevention, conformance tests, workarounds, attack vectors

Tier 4 - integrators, large could/service operators, managed products, managed on premises deployments 

Content: problem, risk, solution, fix, workarounds → feedback

Tier 5 - defenders, mitigators

Content: problem, attack vectors → problem, attack vectors, detection, prevention

Tier 6 - administrators, operators

Content: problem, risk, solution, fix, workarounds → feedback

Tier 7 - public, anyone who would not play by the rules.

Content: problem, attack vectors, risk, solution, fix, workarounds, detection, prevention.


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