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Process For Publicizing Software Flaws Discussed

A new group has been formed to find a way to report security flaws in ways that don't make matters worse.

A group of software companies, security vendors, and researchers has launched the Organization for Internet Safety to develop a standard process for reporting security flaws in software.

Some security experts release information about flaws before giving vendors time to patch holes, while others release code that hackers can use to exploit flaws and attack vulnerable systems. Software vendors want time to develop and test software fixes before information about security problems is made public.

The organization expects to release a draft plan early next year, proposing that researchers report flaws to vendors before going public and that vendors take all reports seriously, says Scott Blake, a group founding member and VP of IT security at Bindview Corp. Details about vulnerabilities wouldn't be released for 30 days after a patch is published. Vendors such as @stake, Bindview, and Microsoft began discussing this effort a year ago. Caldera, Network Associates, Oracle, Silicon Graphics, and Symantec recently joined.

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