Author(s): Jason Buberel
Last updated: 2015-07-31
Discussion at https://golang.org/issue/11502.
Go programs are being deployed as part of security-critical applications. Although Go has a generally good history of being free of security vulnerabilities, the current process for handling security issues is very informal. In order to be more transparent and the better coordinate with the community, I am proposing that the Go project adopt a well-defined security and vulnerability disclosure policy.
The Go standard library includes a complete, modern cryptography package. Since the initial release of Go, there has a single documented security vulnerability [CVE-2014-7189] (https://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/detail?vulnId=CVE-2014-7189) in the crypto package. This is a promising track record, but as Go usage increases the language and standard library will come under increasing scrutiny by the security research community.
In order to better manage security issues, a formal security policy for Go should be established.
Other language and library open source projects have established security policies. The following policies were reviewed and considered in the creation of this proposal:
These policies differ in various aspects, but in general there is a common set of guidelines that are typically established:
It was also suggested that the Go project consider the use of managed security services, such as HackerOne. The consensus of commenters on this topic was a reluctance to base the Go process on a third- party system at this time.
Among the existing security policies reviewed, the Rust policy is considered a good starting point. Once adopted, this policy will be hosted at https://golang.org/security. The details of the policy are in the Implementation section below.
Safety is one of the core principles of Go, and to that end, we would like to ensure that Go has a secure implementation. Thank you for taking the time to responsibly disclose any issues you find.
All security bugs in the Go distribution should be reported by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This list is delivered to a small security team. Your email will be acknowledged within 24 hours, and you'll receive a more detailed response to your email within 72 hours indicating the next steps in handling your report. If you would like, you can encrypt your report using our PGP key (listed below).
Please use a descriptive subject line for your report email. After the initial reply to your report, the security team will endeavor to keep you informed of the progress being made towards a fix and full announcement. As recommended by RFPolicy, these updates will be sent at least every five days. In reality, this is more likely to be every 24-48 hours.
If you have not received a reply to your email within 48 hours, or have not heard from the security team for the past five days, please contact the following members of the Go security team directly:
Please note that email@example.com is a public discussion forum. When escalating on this list, please do not disclose the details of the issue. Simply state that you're trying to reach a member of the security team.
If you believe that an existing issue is security-related, we ask that you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The email should include the issue ID and a short description of why it should be handled according to this security policy.
The Go project will use the following disclosure process:
This process can take some time, especially when coordination is required with maintainers of other projects. Every effort will be made to handle the bug in as timely a manner as possible, however it's important that we follow the release process above to ensure that the disclosure is handled in a consistent manner.
For those security issues that include the assignment of a CVE-ID, the issue will be publicly listed under the [“Golang” product on the CVEDetails website] (http://www.cvedetails.com/vulnerability-list/vendor_id-14185/Golang.html) as well as the [National Vulnerability Disclosure site] (https://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/search).
The best way to receive security announcements is to subscribe to the [golang-announce] (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/golang-announce) mailing list. Any messages pertaining to a security issue will be prefixed with
If you have any suggestions to improve this policy, please send an email to email@example.com for discussion.
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The Go security policy does not contain a provision for the early disclosure of vulnerabilities to a small set of “trusted” partners. The Xen and WebKit policies do contain provisions for this. According to several members of the security response team at Google (Ben Laurie, Adam Langley), it is incredibly difficult to retain secrecy of embargoed issues once they have been shared with even a small number of partners.
The Go security policy does not contain formal provisions for nomination or removal of members of the security review team. WebKit, for example, specifies how new members can become members of the security review team. This may be needed for the Go project at some point in the future; it does not seem necessary at this time.