Tuesday, December 01, 2009

REI: vulnerability remediation done wrong

Part 2 of 2 of Vulnerability remediation done *

It makes me sad to use REI as another example of the wrong way to manage vulnerability disclosure; I am a member who is fond of their stores and products. I will not name names or blather on about negligence.
Rather, I will let the facts simply speak for themselves.

1) On April 11th, 2008 (more than a year and a half ago), I reported a cross-site scripting vulnerability specific to the REI website search functionality. Via email I received a reply indicating that "I’ll have our team evaluate this." I had every reason to believe it would be resolved.

2) The issue completely fell off my radar thereafter until one evening I was checking old findings and noticed that the vulnerability remained on October 1, 2009.

3) Surprised, if not shocked, I tried an alternative approach. I called REI HQ and asked to speak with an appropriate party to report the issue again. I was transferred to a person who provided me with an email alias to which I could forward the issue. On October 6th, 2009, only when I requested a reply as confirmation, I received "I forwarded your information on to our Security team."

4) The issue again fell my radar until November 29th, 2009 when, once again, I noticed that the vulnerability remained (nearly two months since October 1). I was quite ticked off at this point and fired off a feisty email stating that if the issue was not resolved, or a timeline for resolution provided, within seven days that I'd publish the finding regardless.

5) Today, I checked again and found the vulnerability remediated. Had I received one reply to any email sent after October 5th? No, not one indication that a solution had been implemented.

Following are screen shot and video.
Think about what this issue might have meant to consumers while noting that yesterday was CyberMonday.



VIDEO

So, to be clear, the issue is fixed, but the response, and the amount of time taken to resolve the issue is beyond disappointing.
I'll leave it at that.
Comments, as always, are welcome.
Should someone from REI wish to offer insight or explanation I will gladly accept the comment or add it to the post.

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2 comments:

Keydet89 said...

Russ,

Out of curiosity, was the vulnerability discovery part of a contracted security assessment, or was it unsolicited by REI?

Just curious.

Russ McRee said...

Unsolicited, spotted in the wild while shopping.