Feeds

Google launches security group for open source

oCERT to make the world safe for GPL

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Google is spearheading a volunteer workforce it hopes will become the centralized authority for responding to security issues in open source software.

oCERT, short for the open source computer emergency response team, will aim to remediate security vulnerabilities and exploits in a wide range of open source programs by coordinating communication among publishers. According to Google's security blog, the group "will strive to contact software authors with all security reports and aid in debugging and patching, especially in cases where the author, or the reporter, doesn't have a background in security."

Of course, the world is already awash in computer emergency response teams, begging the question: do we really need another one? Johannes Ullrich, CTO for SANS Internet Storm Center, says there could be some overlap with the current US CERT, but he also believes there's room for a group that has a more extensive rolodex of players in the deeply splintered world of open source.

Imagine, if you will, a crucial update being made available in an open source program such as PHP or the GCC Compiler, which are sandwiched into countless other larger programs. Right now, it's sometimes difficult to reach trusted contacts at each of the myriad organizations that use these components. "Putting some manpower behind that, I think, is helpful," Ullrich says.

oCERT is also a good way for Google to give back to an open source community that sometimes feels it doesn't get enough Google love. The Googleplex thrives on customized versions of Linux and MySQL, many of the company's desktops and laptops run a modified version of Ubuntu called Goobuntu and, of course, engineers are busy developing the open source Android for mobile devices. Despite all the benefits, Google submits relatively few changes back into the ecosystem that spawned all these packages, since most licensing agreements generally don't require derivatives to be published if they're not being distributed.

Google's blog post was sparse on details about when the oCERT would go live, who was running it and a contact for people interested in volunteering. We're hoping this isn't the open source equivalent of vaporware.

Update

OK, after that last paragraph, it's fair to say we have egg on our face. We failed to spy this link in the Google post that seems to establish that oCERT is already up and running and, indeed has already issued four advisories. Our thanks to Andrea Barisani, for setting us straight. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.