security review and patches for libpurple

Dan Auerbach dtauerbach at
Fri Jul 1 14:23:53 EDT 2011

Hi John,

Thanks for getting back to us so quickly. Please let us know if you have 
follow-up questions about this initial set of bugs/patches, and we will 
be in touch about future ones, keeping in mind to raise issues though 
the process outlined below.


On 06/29/2011 06:31 PM, John Bailey wrote:
> On 06/29/2011 08:21 PM, Dan Auerbach wrote:
>> We at the Electronic Frontier Foundation are dedicated to ensuring people have
>> the ability to engage in private and secure communication. As we believe the
>> open source suite of tools based on libpurple can and should be used for this
>> purpose (most securely via the Off-The-Record Messaging protocol), we think it
>> is vital to ensure that the software is secure and safe from attack. As such, we
>> hope to begin to partner with you in doing an audit of security vulnerabilities
>> surrounding libpurple and dependent libraries, and providing patches. In this
>> introductory email, we have included some simple initial changes that we believe
>> are in keeping with best practices, as well as some changes that close potential
>> vulnerabilities. In the coming couple of months, we hope to do a thorough audit,
>> and plan to stay communicative about vulnerabilities, offering patches where we
>> are able to do so. Our goal is to work with you, so please let us know the
>> preferred way to interface with your team for disclosing and patching these
>> vulnerabilities beyond the security vulnerability disclosure page.
> Hi, Dan, Chris,
> First of all, we'd like to thank you for the effort you've shown thus far.  We
> always welcome constructive input on how to make our code safer and more secure.
>   We welcome such input even more when patches are provided.
> For security-related topics we generally prefer to contain discussion to the
> security mailing list until we've reached a point where we can discuss with our
> packagers and coordinate a scheduled release, at which point we'll move the
> discussion to our (private) packagers mailing list.  We make it a point, when
> possible and practical, not to discuss security issues in public fora such as
> the devel or support mailing lists or Trac until a pached release has been made
> available.  In short, you should continue to contact us via this security
> mailing list.
>> Attached is a document outlining and summarizing suggested changes, along with
>> the patches we provide. I have also attached a tar.bz2 of diffs, generated using
>> "mtn diff", and a build log. Please see the document for the information
>> requested in
> Again, thank you for providing these.  And an even bigger thank you for
> providing mtn diffs instead of just using a recent tarball!  We will review your
> patches as soon as we can.  Once we have reviewed them, we will likely want to
> coordinate a release which includes them.
> I've quickly reviewed your document and would like to provide two comments on
> items I saw in it as points of information:
>    * We don't currently use Visual Studio to build Pidgin releases for the
> Windows platform, nor do we plan to in the foreseeable future.  We instead use
> the MinGW toolkit, often in a cross-compile environment.  This is why we have
> Makefile.mingw files throughout our source tree.  Hopefully the relevant gcc
> options will apply equally well to the MinGW toolkit's gcc.
>    * The Zephyr and Sametime plugins are currently completely maintainerless and
> rely entirely on contributed patches from interested users.  We don't really
> have any way to test these plugins other than compiling, and we probably won't
> be able to explain a whole lot about them if you find you need further
> information.  Please don't take that as discouragement, though!

Both of these are good to know---thanks!

>> We would also like to thank Jake Appelbaum (cc'ed) for this help with the review
>> process; we hope to collaborate with him for future steps of this review.
> We look forward to future discussion and review!
> Thanks again,
> John

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