Interview with Greg Vaughn, co-author of "Maximum Security 4/e"
by Mirko Zorz - Thursday, 24 April 2003.
My litmus test is to see how many people are credited in the README as contributing to the project. A large number means that many people have looked at the code, and hopefully their level of experience follows a bell curve so you've had plenty of experience involved. I don't instantly trust a project that has just a few contributors -- they could just be prolific, but undisciplined high school students.

What's your take on the full disclosure of vulnerabilities?

Before the DMCA, this was an easy answer: when you find a vulnerability first tell the vendor and give them a reasonable amount of time to respond. If they don't, then publish publicly. I won't go into a screed on the DMCA, but it is forcing honest people to avoid the upfront approach and the corresponding risk of legal action. As it is, a US citizen would need to either get a foreigner they trust to actually do the notifications for them, or else step a bit closer to the black hat hacker community to learn how to hide their tracks of communication so they can report it themselves. The basic strategy still applies -- it's just harder now.

What are your future plans? Any exciting new projects?

It won't be very public, but my involvement in the book has caught attention at work and it's highly likely that I'll be involved with a task force for renewed focus on security. We've recently become a bank, and that means we will have to comply with federal confidentiality regulations. I've already stated my stance on education and the biggest challenge in protecting sensitive information at the enterprise level in earlier questions, and that is the stance I will take on this task force. I will be involved in the politics of getting people to go beyond simply checkmarking compliance with the regulations and additionally place a real security process in place, while not being too restrictive on people's day to day work. I expect it to be a real challenge.


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