from the who's-henhouse-is-being-guarded? dept.
The US National Security Agency (NSA) will not always disclose security vulnerabilities, such as Heartbleed, and said it assesses each case individually, according to a blog post on the White House website.
"Disclosing a vulnerability can mean that we forego an opportunity to collect crucial intelligence that could thwart a terrorist attack stop the theft of our nation's intellectual property, or even discover more dangerous vulnerabilities that are being used by hackers or other adversaries to exploit our networks," government cyber security co-ordinator Michael Daniel explained. "We have also established a disciplined, rigorous and high-level decision-making process for vulnerability disclosure. This inter-agency process helps ensure that all of the pros and cons are properly considered and weighed."
The article continues with a list of factors used to assess disclosure:
- How much is the vulnerable system used in the core internet infrastructure, in other critical infrastructure systems, in the U.S. economy, and/or in national security systems?
- Does the vulnerability, if left unpatched, impose significant risk?
- How much harm could an adversary nation or criminal group do with knowledge of this vulnerability?
- How likely is it that we would know if someone else was exploiting it?
- How badly do we need the intelligence we think we can get from exploiting the vulnerability?
- Are there other ways we can get it?
- Could we utilize the vulnerability for a short period of time before we disclose it?
- How likely is it that someone else will discover the vulnerability?
- Can the vulnerability be patched or otherwise mitigated?
Assuming these are the only factors they use, how reasonable do you think they are? What, if anything, would you change and why?