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curl security for developers
This document is intended to provide guidance to curl developers on how
security vulnerabilities should be handled.
Publishing Information
All known and public curl or libcurl related vulnerabilities are listed on
[the curl web site security page](
Security vulnerabilities should not be entered in the project's public bug
tracker unless the necessary configuration is in place to limit access to the
issue to only the reporter and the project's security team.
Vulnerability Handling
The typical process for handling a new security vulnerability is as follows.
No information should be made public about a vulnerability until it is
formally announced at the end of this process. That means, for example that a
bug tracker entry must NOT be created to track the issue since that will make
the issue public and it should not be discussed on any of the project's public
mailing lists. Also messages associated with any commits should not make
any reference to the security nature of the commit if done prior to the public
- The person discovering the issue, the reporter, reports the vulnerability
privately to ``. That's an email alias that reaches a
handful of selected and trusted people.
- Messages that do not relate to the reporting or managing of an undisclosed
security vulnerability in curl or libcurl are ignored and no further action
is required.
- A person in the security team sends an e-mail to the original reporter to
acknowledge the report.
- The security team investigates the report and either rejects it or accepts
- If the report is rejected, the team writes to the reporter to explain why.
- If the report is accepted, the team writes to the reporter to let him/her
know it is accepted and that they are working on a fix.
- The security team discusses the problem, works out a fix, considers the
impact of the problem and suggests a release schedule. This discussion
should involve the reporter as much as possible.
- The release of the information should be "as soon as possible" and is most
often synced with an upcoming release that contains the fix. If the
reporter, or anyone else, thinks the next planned release is too far away
then a separate earlier release for security reasons should be considered.
- Write a security advisory draft about the problem that explains what the
problem is, its impact, which versions it affects, solutions or
workarounds, when the release is out and make sure to credit all
contributors properly.
- Request a CVE number from
when also informing and preparing them for the upcoming public security
vulnerability announcement - attach the advisory draft for information. Note
that 'distros' won't accept an embargo longer than 19 days and they do not
care for Windows-specific flaws. For windows-specific flaws, request CVE
directly from MITRE.
- Update the "security advisory" with the CVE number.
- The security team commits the fix in a private branch. The commit message
should ideally contain the CVE number. This fix is usually also distributed
to the 'distros' mailing list to allow them to use the fix prior to the
public announcement.
- At the day of the next release, the private branch is merged into the master
branch and pushed. Once pushed, the information is accessible to the public
and the actual release should follow suit immediately afterwards.
- The project team creates a release that includes the fix.
- The project team announces the release and the vulnerability to the world in
the same manner we always announce releases. It gets sent to the
curl-announce, curl-library and curl-users mailing lists.
- The security web page on the web site should get the new vulnerability
CURL-SECURITY (at haxx dot se)
Who is on this list? There are a couple of criteria you must meet, and then we
might ask you to join the list or you can ask to join it. It really isn't very
formal. We basically only require that you have a long-term presence in the
curl project and you have shown an understanding for the project and its way
of working. You must've been around for a good while and you should have no
plans in vanishing in the near future.
We do not make the list of partipants public mostly because it tends to vary
somewhat over time and a list somewhere will only risk getting outdated.