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Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2014 06:29:06 +0000
From: "Nicholas Lemonias." <>
To: Jerome Athias <>,
 Michal Zalewski <>,
Subject: Re: Google vulnerabilities with PoC

Hi Jerome,

Thank you for agreeing on access control, and separation of duties.

However successful exploitation permits arbitrary write() of any file of

I could release an exploit code in C Sharp or Python that permits multiple
file uploads of any file/types, if the Google security team feels that this
would be necessary. This is unpaid work, so we are not so keen on that job.

On Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 6:04 AM, Jerome Athias <>wrote:

> Hi
> I concur that we are mainly discussing a terminology problem.
> In the context of a Penetration Test or WAPT, this is a Finding.
> Reporting this finding makes sense in this context.
> As a professional, you would have to explain if/how this finding is a
> Weakness*, a Violation (/Regulations, Compliance, Policies or
> Requirements[1])
> * I would say Weakness + Exposure = Vulnerability. Vulnerability +
> Exploitability (PoC) = Confirmed Vulnerability that needs Business
> Impact and Risk Analysis
> So I would probably have reported this Finding as a Weakness (and not
> Vulnerability. See: OWASP, WASC-TC, CWE), explaining that it is not
> Best Practice (your OWASP link and Cheat Sheets), and even if
> mitigative/compensative security controls (Ref Orange Book), security
> controls like white listing (or at least black listing. see also
> ESAPI) should be 1) part of the [1]security requirements of a proper
> SDLC (Build security in) as per Defense-in-Depth security principles
> and 2) used and implemented correctly.
> NB: A simple Threat Model (i.e. list of CAPEC) would be a solid
> support to your report
> This would help to evaluate/measure the risk (e.g. CVSS).
> Helping the decision/actions around this risk
> PS: interestingly, in this case, I'm not sure that the Separation of
> Duties security principle was applied correctly by Google in term of
> Risk Acceptance (which could be another Finding)
> So in few words, be careful with the terminology. (don't always say
> vulnerability like the media say hacker, see RFC1392) Use a CWE ID
> (e.g. CWE-434, CWE-183, CWE-184 vs. CWE-616)
> My 2 bitcents
> Sorry if it is not edible :)
> Happy Hacking!
> /JA
> 2014-03-14 7:19 GMT+03:00 Michal Zalewski <>:
> > Nicholas,
> >
> > I remember my early years in the infosec community - and sadly, so do
> > some of the more seasoned readers of this list :-) Back then, I
> > thought that the only thing that mattered is the ability to find bugs.
> > But after some 18 years in the industry, I now know that there's an
> > even more important and elusive skill.
> >
> > That skill boils down to having a robust mental model of what
> > constitutes a security flaw - and being able to explain your thinking
> > to others in a precise and internally consistent manner that convinces
> > others to act. We need this because the security of a system can't be
> > usefully described using abstract terms: even the academic definitions
> > ultimately boil down to saying "the system is secure if it doesn't do
> > the things we *really* don't want it to do".
> >
> > In this spirit, the term "vulnerability" is generally reserved for
> > behaviors that meet all of the following criteria:
> >
> > 1) The behavior must have negative consequences for at least one of
> > the legitimate stakeholders (users, service owners, etc),
> >
> > 2) The consequences must be widely seen as unexpected and unacceptable,
> >
> > 3) There must be a realistic chance of such a negative outcome,
> >
> > 4) The behavior must introduce substantial new risks that go beyond
> > the previously accepted trade-offs.
> >
> > If we don't have that, we usually don't have a case, no matter how
> > clever the bug is.
> >
> > Cheers (and happy hunting!),
> > /mz
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Full-Disclosure - We believe in it.
> > Charter:
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