Two security engineers for Google say the company will now support researchers publicizing details of critical vulnerabilities under active exploitation just seven days after they’ve alerted a company.
That new grace period leaves vendors dramatically less time to create and test a patch than the previously recommended 60-day disclosure deadline for the most serious security flaws.
The goal, write Chris Evans and Drew Hintz, is to prompt vendors to more quickly seal, or at least publicly react to, critical vulnerabilities and reduce the number of attacks that proliferate because of unprotected software.
Vendors have long been criticized for using responsible disclosure to their advantage to delay issuing a fix as long as possible, sometimes even years. Only once a patch is issued does a researcher reveal details of the software flaw. Under the concept of full disclosure, both the company and the public are given details at the same time.
The 60-day notice was announced almost three years ago by a Google security team, which included Evans, as a compromise between full and responsible disclosures for critical vulnerabilities, particularly those that require complex coding to fix. But the regular appearance of zero-day exploits targeting unpatched software has prompted Google to reconsider that timeline.