Compliance Management, Threat Intelligence, Privacy, Vulnerability Management

Document: U.S. gov’t OKs exploiting certain zero-days during investigations


Documentation entered into public record last week acknowledged that in some cases the U.S. government condones the exploitation ofzero-day vulnerabilities in software for intelligence and law enforcementpurposes rather than alerting the software manufacturer or public of thesecurity flaw.

The U.S. government's “VulnerabilitiesEquities Process” (VEP), which delineates the procedure for determining ifa vulnerability should be disclosed or withheld, was disclosed in response to a Freedom ofInformation Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by watchdog group the Electronic FrontierFoundation (EFF). The U.S. originally submitted a highly redacted version ofthe VEP in September 2015, but a subsequent court challenge by the EFFled to this latest version with fewer blacked-out passages.

The VEP stated that the discovery of vulnerabilities “maypresent competing equities for USG offensive and defensive mission interests,”and that these equities must be weighed before determining whether or not todisseminate the information.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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