Update: today #Giggle’s @firstname.lastname@example.org published a new statement. It’s a good first step, though for my taste it’s a bit thin on reflection of her own role in this mess. What’s still missing however is some statement on the privacy issues. Will these be fixed as well eventually?
Yes, the vulnerability disclosure process is often a messy affair. But this mess here shadows everything I've seen so far.
The bad news: @email@example.com threatens to sue the researchers unless they let her approve the publication first. They kindly decline, as they should. And she shares that communication publicly as well, somehow assuming that it puts her in a better light?
The good news is: the vulnerability has been fixed. The researchers had to publish their findings early given the repeated attempts to undermine their credibility. The questions about privacy issues remain of course.
Somehow, the email communication still happened, the right person received the report and confirmed it. So a bit later today @firstname.lastname@example.org started sharing the image below – without retracting any of her claims, somehow assuming that this reinforces her points.
So today she proceeded by once again attacking the researchers and criticizing journalists who were asking her about the security vulnerability, restating that it didn't exist.
And she claims that @DI_Security@twitter.com researchers publicly called her a transphobe. Not sure what this is about, I could only find a tweet by @email@example.com who appears to have no relation to the researchers. Judging by the way @firstname.lastname@example.org responded she thinks otherwise.
She says that they should have emailed technical department directly – yet from a brief look I cannot find the corresponding email address anywhere. From experience, emailing technical support about vulnerabilities is a bad idea. So Twitter is a valid way to approach a company.
From that point on, things went only downhill. @salltweets vehemently denied the existence of any security issues, claiming that the whole thing is a harassment campaign – despite not having received any details. She sent them a DM but apparently blocked the account later.
According to the researchers, they were first ignored when they attempted to report the issue. Eventually, they received a response but not the kind they hoped for. Not sure why they had to state their disagreement with @email@example.com’s views, but it clearly rubbed her the wrong way.
I haven’t heard of #Giggle before but apparently they not only had a pretty bad vulnerability allowing anybody to query information of all accounts, they also made some rather questionable privacy choices. https://research.digitalinterruption.com/2020/09/10/giggle-laughable-security/
It appears that I released the first version of that browser extension in December 2011. Time flies…
I definitely don't want to transfer it to some random person. With around 50k users across all platforms, this is bound to end up with some more or less questionable monetization scheme.
Mozilla is currently recommending this extension, so I'll check with them first, maybe they have suggestions. But the default course of action would be to fix known issues, then disable extension listing. So people already having it will be able to continue using it for a while.
Several people from the Mozilla community felt that I’m building up a conspiracy theory here. That’s not the case, I’m actually quite certain that people are acting with good intentions. Unfortunately, that doesn’t automatically mean that we’ll be happy with the results. Updated my article:
I wrote an article explaining the trend with browsers' add-on support and why I think that #Mozilla limiting users' choice on Android massively is part of that trend. The add-on ecosystem is degrading steadily, and I don't expect it to reverse course. https://palant.info/2020/08/31/a-grim-outlook-on-the-future-of-browser-add-ons/
They did ask me about adding another add-on of mine to the Recommended Extensions program. They didn’t mention that it is now a prerequisite for the add-on being usable at all…
Software developer and security researcher, browser extensions expert. He/him
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