Reports of Risk

March 26, 2007

by Security Team

Another security report was released this week that claims to show the “patch development time” for various distributions. Symantec gives some high level results, but none of the detail required to figure out how exactly it got to its results.

Our Red Hat Security Response team is committed to transparency. With every security advisory we release, we provide details on not only the security issue itself, but also on how we first found out about it, when we first found out about it, when it was made public and when we fixed it.

Because the software in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 is open source, we’re likely not to be the only company shipping each particular application. So unlike software that comes from a single vendor, we are rarely in control of the dates issues are made public. This is actually a good thing because it leads to much shorter response times between when issues are first reported to when they are made public. It also means our company can’t try to artificially reduce our “days of risk” statistics by using tactics such as holding off disclosure of important issues for a long period until a regularly scheduled patch day.

In any event, our track record in fixing critical issues–those that matter the most to customers–is outstanding. Using our publicly available data, you can see that a default installation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 AS in the first two years since release was only vulnerable to three critical severity issues. Fixes for every one was available from Red Hat Network within two calendar days of public disclosure of the vulnerability.

Visit our Security Measurement page here.

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