How Not To Fix A Security Bug
November 25th, 2008
- Tadayoshi Funaba opens
Bug #794 in the Ruby Issue
Tracking System describing a segmentation fault when huge decimal strings are
November 26th, 2008
- Matz closes Bug #794 with r20359 to Ruby 1.9’s trunk.
November 27th, 2008 to June 2nd, 2009
- Every site running Ruby 1.8.x which creates BigDecimal instances from client-provided data is vulnerable to a Denial-of-Service attack which Ruby Core developers have already fixed but not backported.
June 3rd, 2009
- CVE-2009-1904 is assigned.
June 7th, 2009
- ruby-core notifies the vendor-sec mailing list of the vulnerability.
June 8th, 2009
- Bug 273213 is created in the Gentoo bug tracker to address CVE-2009-1904. Like most tickets for as-yet-undisclosed security vulnerabilities, the ticket was marked confidential and that “no information should be disclosed until [the vulnerability] is made public.”
- Michael Koziarski creates a private GitHub project, bigdecimal-segfault-fix with a workaround for the bug.
- Kirk Haines commits a change to the RubySpec project which adds a test to ensure Ruby implementations don’t “segfault when using a very large string to build [a BigDecimal].”
June 9th, 2009
- The vulnerability is announced as well as the release of Ruby 1.8.7-p173.
- A ticket is added to FreeBSD’s security bug tracker to address CVE-2009-1904.
- Michael Koziarski announces the vulnerability to the rails-security mailing list.
- Kirk Haines adds Backport #1589 to the Ruby Issue Tracking System describing a patch which “eliminate[s] some BigDecimal bugs.”
- Kirk Haines announces the release of Ruby 1.8.6-p369, which includes a fix for CVE-2009-1904.
- Michael Koziarski makes the bigdecimal-segfault-fix project public on GitHub.
June 10th, 2009
- Barry Hess finds a bug introduced in 1.8.7-p173 breaks BigDecimal#to_f.
- A ticket is added to the Red Hat bug tracker to address CVE-2009-1904.
- The vulnerability is announced on the Ruby On Rails blog.
- A ticket is added to the Ubuntu bug tracker to address CVE-2009-1904.
- A ticket is added to the Debian bug tracker to address CVE-2009-1904.
June 12th, 2009
- A fix is released for FreeBSD.
June 13th, 2009
- A fix is released for Debian Unstable. This fix contains the bug that Barry Hess found.
June 14th, 2009
- No fix has been released for Ubuntu.
- No fix has been released for Red Hat.
- No fix has been released for Fedora Core.
- No fix has been released for Gentoo.
June 15th, 2009
- Ruby 1.8.7-p174 is released
This is not a coordinated disclosure. This is a clusterfuck. If you are responsible for running a secure MRI/Ruby installation, your only hope is to pay attention to all changes made to Ruby’s trunk and backport any fixes yourself. Depending on your operating system vendor is not a viable strategy, as downstream vendors are not given sufficient advance warning and are presented with fixes which introduce other bugs or do not apply cleanly to the last released version.
Updated June 16th, 2009
- Michael Koziarski dropped me a note to clarify a few things. First, his GitHub project was private and was only opened to the public after the vulnerability was announced. Second, ruby-core sent an email to the vendor-sec mailing list 48 hours before the disclosure. I’ve updated the timeline to reflect these changes.
- James Ludlow let me know about a bug introduced in 1.8.7-p173 and fixed in 1.8.7-p174.
- Updated my conclusions based on the new information. Still not happy, but more accurate in what I’m unhappy about.