[Owasp-board] OWASP & Industry Vendors - Discussion

Jeff Williams jeff.williams at owasp.org
Sat Aug 25 01:25:51 UTC 2007

I'll discuss this with Wayne and make sure that he understands the rules.
Chapter abuse won't be tolerated at OWASP.  I think a warning is in order
and if it persists I'm sure we can find another chapter lead in Taiwan.




From: Justin Derry [mailto:JDerry at b-sec.com] 
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2007 7:01 PM
To: Dinis Cruz
Cc: OWASP Board; Jeff Williams; Dave Wichers; Daniel Cuthbert;
mark at curphey.com
Subject: RE: OWASP & Industry Vendors - Discussion



I don't mind going on record. However i also don't want to be perceived as a
guy hitting people over the head. Basically i believe in OWASP and I believe
in the intent the Taiwan chapter guy has. However i also believe that this
is one of those examples where a vendor is using OWASP to deliberately wipe
out the competition he has and use OWASP as a springboard for himself and
his company.

(By the way my i don't know if my customer source will go on record - it was
a friendly personal phone call) but i am sure the email i have would be ok.)


Too many people put too much effort into OWASP and i hate when i see misuse
of OWASP. As everyone knows i have long sat in the background of OWASP for
many years since 2001 and only since late 2005 have i actively got involved
and will continue to push forward like many others. However my biggest fear
with OWASP is self implosion. What i mean by this if we have guys running
around claiming that OWASP only supports certain vendors etc then sooner
rather then later OWASP will die out simply because no one will trust it as
an independant and authoritive source of application security.


I don't think making an example of the Taiwan guy will work, but i do think
we need to stop it, and i also think we need to seriously look at the rules
of vendors out there sponsorsing and getting involved in OWASP. 


With Taiwan i am a little supprised that he has taken it to an extent of
registering domains etc. I was offered to speak at this conference and
advised i couldn't and put forward Brian Chess (Fortify) (this was at a time
when i didn't know wayne was from Amorize) and i happen to know brian and
also knew he was already going to be in taiwan around the time and i
received a simple email saying we wouldn't invite him as he is a
competitior. (I'll send you the email if you don't already have it).


The things i like about Wayne (Taiwan) is he is keen, pulls the numbers and
overall i think is a nice guy. However i also think there is a small hidden
agenda that he has to use OWASP to further Amorize. Don't have a problem
with vendors using OWASP as an Industry standard, hey thats what it's there
for within reason, but it needs to be done in a controlled, managed, neutral
and appropriate manner.


I have always said that i am willing to take on a more supporting role in
OWASP (with Asia or whatever) and now due to my role within our consuting
firm, i have also tasked every other consultant in my team (8 of them) with
minimum 4 hours a week on OWASP related activities. (i.e Malathi is going to
help AJV with the V3 guide etc). But i don't want to see other people abuse
the system, and it seems to mainly be some vendors?


Maybe we look at drawing up some guidelines for Vendors that are very
specific.? Maybe also we work on some guidelines and rules for any type of
mini or large conference that may involve vendors. Lets be realistic i don't
think we are going to get rid of vendors, they have the $$ and help with the
project, however having some guidelines would be good. (The chapter rules
are pretty basic).. Also maybe some way to enforce them? and a clause if you
breach the guidelines you are immediately removed as a corporate member? I
don't know that's all a quick brain dump.


Anyhow Super keen to help out wherever anyone wants.. If i am completely out
of turn than someone throw a brick at me.





From: Dinis Cruz [mailto:dinis at ddplus.net]
Sent: Fri 8/24/2007 10:46 PM
To: Justin Derry
Cc: OWASP Board; Jeff Williams; Dave Wichers; Daniel Cuthbert;
mark at curphey.com
Subject: Re: OWASP & Industry Vendors - Discussion


You are raising very important (if not critical) issues here which I want to
fully clarify and sort out. 

I will reply in detail to your email, but before I do just one question:
"How much of this are you willing to go 'on the record', that is put your
name to it?". It doesn't mean that we will post all this to everybody in
OWASP but (for example) I want to clarify with the Taiwan chapter leader
these issues, and it will be easier if I can directly quote you (and others
(if you know other people who share your feelings please put them in touch))

My objective is to turn this into a positive event, with lessons learned for
all parties involved (assuming of course that we are able to amicably solve
the current 'brand abuse' issues)

Dinis Cruz 
Chief OWASP Evangelist
http://www.owasp.org <http://www.owasp.org/>   

On 8/23/07, Justin Derry <JDerry at b-sec.com> wrote: 


Firstly i think i have meet everyone on the CC/To list and there is a good
reason why this email has not been forwarded to the owasp-leaders at owasp.org
mailing list. 

Anyhow as most of you know i have been involved in owasp (lately more due to
availability and effort during business hours) but are currently trying to
setup some conferences in Asia etc.


The reason for this selective email is simply due to the fact that it
reflects directly on some of the people on the owasp-leaders list.


Recently A chapter leader approached OWASP in regards to converting his 350+
people conference to an OWASP Asia Pacific Conference 2007, he is currently
running it as a "Taiwan Chapter" conference.

I spent some time with the person discussing some of the common goals of a
conference and ensure that the appropriate messages (i.e vendor independence
etc) being careful of how to approach these things.

He agreed and has forwarded to Dave Wichers etc for approval in which he
got. He proceeded with 48 hours of that to approach a Customer in Taiwan and
immediately tell them Amorize is the only sponsor of the OWASP 2007 Asia
Pacific conference and OWASP fully supports and backs Amorize. Which is
obviously so far from the truth it's not funny. (They don't even sponsor
OWASP Corporately)

This statement came from two different sources about the OWASP and Amorize
(not vendors but customer sources).


Anyhow the reason for the email is, this is a big problem. We all work for
companies that typically have an invested interest in the Application
Security space, but i think by most everyone plays by the rules. Obviously
there are people that don't and are abusing the OWASP name and using the
hard work of Mark, Andrew, Dave and everyone else. Recently as a company we
invested in OWASP and are also as most of you aware investing business hours
and effort in increasing the OWASP project because i believe in it. The
collective thinking is powerful and i believe the people involved are
excellent. However we currently i believe have a serious problem with a
selective few people abusing the system.


I agree with Mark C's comments in regards to the direction and the comments
about financial sides of OWASP and the approach that OWASP should take
moving forward. However i think we need to seriously address the misuse
immediately of the OWASP brand and approach some chapters etc are taking.
This can be achieved reasonably easily i think by completing a few tasks.
Some of which i have included below.


Why doesn't OWASP consider (if we have the $$) employing a administrative
person to simply monitor the activity of OWASP chapters follow up on
presentations etc. This would be perfect as if each chapter leader new that
they would be asked for their presentation notes to be published online, if
there was anything inappropriate this would hopefully reduce. (or maybe
approval prior??). Yes there is alot of chapters but with a single person
review and posting presentations i think overall someone would have an idea
on what was being presented. Also would mean we would have a great
collection point? Surely this wouldn't cost that much? An admin person here
in OZ is only around 30,000 USD a year?


Secondly vendor involvement. I like it, and i think OWASP needs it for the
future, however there should be some hard and fast rules about it. I.e
(maybe no chapter leads from vendors?? Too much temptation). Maybe we set
some strict guidelines about how they can get involved, ie. At conferences
etc. Maybe we allow them to place sponsorship on the web site only and
provide a facility. ?? Most chapter leads i believe are good but i haven't
been too many. I do look through the wiki and see alot of "vendor" names
poping up. Not a lot of consulting firms but lots of vendor names..


Conferences, As you know i am trying to work on a Big OWASP Asia conference.
I see the rules being Vendors (all of them) get an invite, allowed to
provide a booth, and if the numbers allow it maybe a separate speaking
stream where they can present. Thats all still thought process, but using
the vendor money to increase awareness is actually quite good.


I don't know if this email is going down to one? Maybe these are just my
feelings, but for a person willing to put alot of effort into the OWASP
cause i am horrified to hear about this instance in Taiwan. This is backed
up by the fact he has even written in an email to me that he doesn't want to
invite any vendors and is happy for his company to pay for the lot. Really i
don't think this is the way to approach it, simply as he is using the
conference purely as a springboard for his new company. The other problem
with this, is how do the other vendors who put in $$$$ to support owasp and
they have another company not even supporting OWASP doing this. I am sure
that they wouldn't be happy as were is their money going.


So i suppose in summary why not look at an administrative person to oversee
presentations etc, and we set some specific guidelines (more detailed) then
the chapter rules for each chapter. We also place a wide advice to all
vendors advising them of our position and maybe even ask them to put up
money if they wish to continue referencing the OWASP guides etc. They are
all getting valuable effort without any $$ or input. I even saw a vendor at
Blackhat this year using and promoting the OWASP WebGoat tool to promote
their own tools. This was insane?


Anyhow hopefully my rant hasn't been received poorly, sounds like a few
people are making some interesting comments in the past 24 hours, and
hopefully this all goes into a bucket to better OWASP?

If not then please kill me now.. J


BTW Dave W you probably get the feeling i am recommending that we don't
allow Taiwan to run their conference as the OWASP ASIA conference and
further probably not as a conference at all. There is alot of material on
the WIKI about his conference.


Anyhow thanks for reading that big email guys...




Justin Derry

Application Security

Practice Leader

b-sec Consulting

Mobile:   0411 411 881

Direct:     07 3217 5936

Switch:    07 3374 3011

Fax:        07 3217 6573

www.b-sec.com  <http://www.b-sec.com/> 

Disclaimer:  www.b-sec.com.au/disclaimer.txt



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