Coming clean on patches

Monday, 3 June 2002, 12:48 PM EST

The debate is about when researchers should alert the general public to the flaws they find. Industry protocol calls for discoveries to be kept quiet until a patch is available—usually no less than 30 days—to minimize the threat from hackers who could do damage in the interim.

That process, however, could soon change. A prominent security expert last week announced that he will give software companies just one week to patch a new vulnerability before he releases data about the flaw to the public.

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