Vulnerability disclosure and botnet takedown not to be hindered by Wassenaar Arrangement

Posted by   Martijn Grooten on   Dec 19, 2017

I have never been too keen on making comparisons between (advanced) cyber attacks and conventional war, as such comparisons tend to ignore the enormous human cost that comes with wars. That said, digital weapons do play an important role in global conflicts, military or otherwise, and thus it makes sense for them to be covered by the Wassenaar Arrangement, an export control regime 'for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies' that has been signed by 42 countries.

The Wassenaar Arrangement is quite controversial within the IT security community. For a combination of libertarian and pragmatic reasons, many working in the offensive side of security are opposed to a regime that they believe could prevent them from developing, using and selling their tools.

But these loudly voiced concerns overshadowed what, for me, was an even bigger concern: as it was previously worded, the Wassenaar Arrangement could be seen to seriously hinder the disclosure of security vulnerabilities, and the sharing of the command-and-control tools used by botnets.

I was thus pleased to read an op-ed in The Hill by Katie Moussouris (currently of Luta Security). Katie is a leading expert when it comes to vulnerability disclosure and has actively been involved in making the Arrangement work better for the security community.

She writes that the language of the Wassenaar Arrangement has been clarified, and that 'the specific cross-border sharing activities around vulnerability disclosure and security incident response are exempt from requiring export control licenses as dictated by Wassenaar'.

I am very pleased to learn this. Both vulnerability disclosure and coordinated botnet takedown are hard enough. One really wouldn't want to make them even harder by requiring the participants – many of whom are individuals or small companies – to wade through pages of export control paperwork.

katiemoussouris_vb2014.pngKatie Moussouris delivering the opening keynote at VB2014 in Seattle.

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2020 localhost call for last minute papers: a unique opportunity

Why VB2020 localhost presents a unique opportunity for you to share your research with security experts around the globe.

VB2020 localhost call for last-minute papers now open!

The call for last-minute papers for VB2020 localhost is now open. Submit before 17 August to have your paper considered for one of the nine slots reserved for 'hot' research!

Announcing... VB2020 localhost

Announcing VB2020 localhost: the carbon neutral, budget neutral VB conference!

VB2019 paper: APT cases exploiting vulnerabilities in region-specific software

At VB2019, JPCERT/CC's Shusei Tomonaga and Tomoaki Tani presented a paper on attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in software used only in Japan, using malware that is unique to Japan. Today we publish both their paper and the recording of their…

New paper: Detection of vulnerabilities in web applications by validating parameter integrity and data flow graphs

In a follow-up to a paper presented at VB2019, Prismo Systems researchers Abhishek Singh and Ramesh Mani detail algorithms that can be used to detect SQL injection in stored procedures, persistent cross-site scripting (XSS), and server‑side request…

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.