[Owasp-board] [Owasp-leaders] OWASP Benchmark project - potential conflict of interest

Josh Sokol josh.sokol at owasp.org
Sat Nov 28 00:57:30 UTC 2015

The Benchmark effectively performs an assessment.  Here's the exact wording
from the note on engaging WAFEC:

Reach out to other standards (WAFEC) to continue to update project rules
> related to benchmark like projects.

It's more about how we can update project rules around Benchmark and
similar projects to ensure that they are conducted in a vendor-neutral


On Fri, Nov 27, 2015 at 6:48 PM, johanna curiel curiel <
johanna.curiel at owasp.org> wrote:

> Also, if the board feels it worthwhile, they could also note that the
> "disputes section" that "OWASP does not support any vendor endorsing any of
> their software according to its scores in regards to the OWASP Benchmark."
> +Kevin, excellent suggestion
> *>>One of the ideas that Andrew proposed was actually approaching WAFEC to
> learn more about how they do vendor assessment in a neutral way.*
> Is OWASP now going to do vendor assessments? Josh, could you please, if
> you have time, elaborate on this part?
>  We don't even have the resources to do assessments of our own projects
> and now we are into the vendor assessment business😕?
> I think OWASP should do ZERO VENDOR assessments.
> On Fri, Nov 27, 2015 at 8:40 PM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org> wrote:
>> One of the ideas that Andrew proposed was actually approaching WAFEC to
>> learn more about how they do vendor assessment in a neutral way.  It's
>> great to hear that we have a resource here already that we can leverage.  I
>> wasn't aware of your affiliation.
>> ~josh
>> On Nov 27, 2015 2:47 PM, "Tony Turner" <tony.turner at owasp.org> wrote:
>>> I sincerely hope so. That's not the impression I got from others
>>> comments. Personally I haven't used the tool at all, but as I'm the project
>>> lead for another product evaluation project (WAFEC) I'm very sensitive to
>>> the need of collaboration with many different vendors. There really has to
>>> be a very high level (almost paranoid level) transparency with how vendors
>>> are approached, worked with, how requirements for evaluation are defined,
>>> and how metrics are derived.
>>> It appears the project team is attempting to address these last 2
>>> somewhat but I'd like to see more specifics, and the lack of information on
>>> how they are addressing vendor communication, participation and
>>> transparency seems a bit concerning. Lastly, it is my opinion that project
>>> leadership should not belong to anyone working for or with a
>>> partnership/ownership stake for any vendor being evaluated. I think this is
>>> a flawed model and should transition to a vendor neutral party.
>>> On Nov 27, 2015 3:16 PM, "Josh Sokol" <josh.sokol at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>> I don't know what qualifies as "significant" in your mind, but my
>>>> understanding is that there have been contributions from other vendors:
>>>> https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Benchmark#tab=Acknowledgements
>>>> Still, Dave would like more, but he can't force them to help.
>>>> ~josh
>>>> On Fri, Nov 27, 2015 at 1:45 PM, Tony Turner <tony.turner at owasp.org>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> While I can appreciate that they started with Contrast, if there
>>>>> hasn't been significant effort to include other vendors it's a worthless
>>>>> benchmark. It's easy to state you haven't gotten support from other vendors
>>>>> and that's fine, but until you do there's really nothing to release. Why
>>>>> was it ever upgraded? Talking about the results without an accurate
>>>>> comparative analysis is akin to snake oil.
>>>>> On Nov 27, 2015 1:49 PM, "Josh Sokol" <josh.sokol at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>>> Thank you for the links to those articles.  The first one discusses
>>>>>> the strengths and weaknesses of the different methods of evaluating for
>>>>>> application vulnerabilities.  The section on the Benchmark seems wholly
>>>>>> appropriate to me.  That seems like an excellent description of what the
>>>>>> project is designed to do.  I see some metrics in there about which tools
>>>>>> are more effective on which types of vulnerabilities, but I don't see him
>>>>>> straight up saying "The OWASP Benchmark proves that Contrast is better".
>>>>>> This seems like statements made based on some level of testing and
>>>>>> research.  Honestly, I don't see any OWASP brand abuse in that article.
>>>>>> Whether it's in good taste or not at this stage in the project is certainly
>>>>>> debatable, but if you look at the brand usage guidelines (
>>>>>> https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Marketing/Resources#tab=BRAND_GUIDELINES),
>>>>>> I don't see any violations.  We need to govern to policy here which is why
>>>>>> Paul and Noreen are evaluating changes to the guidelines and our
>>>>>> enforcement policies to make abuse more difficult.
>>>>>> The second article is a competing vendor's reaction to the first.  He
>>>>>> makes some good points about the issues with Benchmark, but he also says
>>>>>> that he hopes that it will be improved over time, and Dave has committed to
>>>>>> that.  What I don't see is the vendor saying "...and Veracode has committed
>>>>>> resources to help make the Benchmark more accurate across all tool sets".
>>>>>> The Benchmark page is pretty clear that it does it's best to provide a
>>>>>> benchmark without working exactly like a real-world application.  Maybe
>>>>>> some more disclaimer text about where the project is at today would be in
>>>>>> order to validate some of Chris' concerns, but I hardly see this as "brand
>>>>>> abuse" or a reason to demote the project.
>>>>>> Please consider that I have spoken with both Dave and Jeff on this
>>>>>> topic and read much of the discussions around it before formulating my
>>>>>> opinion.  I doubt that you have done the same so I'm not sure how you can
>>>>>> claim that you have researched the issues and all parties involved when you
>>>>>> haven't even spoken with the two people whom you are accusing of
>>>>>> impropriety.  I have no bias here.  I am simply speaking with the
>>>>>> individuals involved, looking at the currently OWASP policies and
>>>>>> guidelines, and helping to determine our next steps.
>>>>>> ~josh
>>>>>> On Fri, Nov 27, 2015 at 12:22 PM, johanna curiel curiel <
>>>>>> johanna.curiel at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>>>> >>While I agree with you that there has been some brand abuse, it
>>>>>>> was abuse by Contrast (specifically their marketing department), and not by
>>>>>>> "these gentlemen" as  you state.
>>>>>>> Really? ..'some brand abuse'..this is more than brand abuse
>>>>>>> Josh , please read also the article written by Jeff
>>>>>>> http://www.darkreading.com/vulnerabilities---threats/why-its-insane-to-trust-static-analysis/a/d-id/1322274
>>>>>>> ?
>>>>>>> And Veracode's reaction including others in Twitter
>>>>>>> https://www.veracode.com/blog/2015/09/no-one-technology-silver-bullet
>>>>>>> My strong advice is to research the issues and all the parties
>>>>>>> involved before making statements
>>>>>>> On Fri, Nov 27, 2015 at 2:07 PM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org>
>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>> Jim,
>>>>>>>> A concern was expressed to the Board and, frankly, I am insulted by
>>>>>>>> you saying that this was "brushed under the rug".  The Board delegated Matt
>>>>>>>> to talk with Dave and they had a lengthy conversation on the subject.  The
>>>>>>>> Board delegated me to talk with Jeff and we had a lengthy conversation on
>>>>>>>> the subject.  If you do not trust in our abilities to read people, ask the
>>>>>>>> right questions, and provide honest feedback about our conversations, then
>>>>>>>> that's a bigger issue that we should take offline.  After our
>>>>>>>> conversations, we took the time to call a special two-hour session of the
>>>>>>>> Board in order to discuss this subject (and only this subject).  We spoke
>>>>>>>> about all facets of the issue at hand, about the challenges and possible
>>>>>>>> solutions, and concluded on some very concrete next steps.
>>>>>>>> While I agree with you that there has been some brand abuse, it was
>>>>>>>> abuse by Contrast (specifically their marketing department), and not by
>>>>>>>> "these gentlemen" as  you state.  Unless you can point to some sort of
>>>>>>>> evidence showing that Jeff and/or Dave first-hand abused the brand, then I
>>>>>>>> believe that you are speaking with your heart instead of with your head.  I
>>>>>>>> appreciate your passion, but I label this as conspiracy theory because
>>>>>>>> without evidence to support your claims, I cannot accept it as anything
>>>>>>>> other.
>>>>>>>> ~josh
>>>>>>>> On Fri, Nov 27, 2015 at 11:39 AM, Jim Manico <jim.manico at owasp.org>
>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Josh,
>>>>>>>>> I stand by my comments and perspective, but I'm disheartened that
>>>>>>>>> you consider my presentation of facts (and the concerns of many active
>>>>>>>>> members of our community) as a "conspiracy theory".
>>>>>>>>> In my experience, these kind of comments border on insults and
>>>>>>>>> only cause folks to harden their opinions.
>>>>>>>>> Once again I feel these gentlemen got away with a kind of brand
>>>>>>>>> abuse that is very hurtful to the OWASP community but I am at a loss as to
>>>>>>>>> how handle or prevent these kinds of mishaps - especially when board
>>>>>>>>> members like yourself seem willing to - from what I see - brush it under
>>>>>>>>> the rug.
>>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>>> Jim Manico
>>>>>>>>> Global Board Member
>>>>>>>>> OWASP Foundation
>>>>>>>>> https://www.owasp.org
>>>>>>>>> Join me in Rome for AppSecEU 2016!
>>>>>>>>> On Nov 27, 2015, at 7:23 PM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org>
>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Admittedly, this was my gut reaction at first as well.  I began
>>>>>>>>> linking all of these companies, people, and projects together in my mind
>>>>>>>>> (there are some loose links there) and painted a big conspiracy picture
>>>>>>>>> similar to what Jim and Dinis have stated.  But, after speaking directly
>>>>>>>>> with Jeff, and hearing about the conversation that Dave and Matt had, I've
>>>>>>>>> changed my mind.
>>>>>>>>> I think it begins with the project itself.  If you aren't sold on
>>>>>>>>> the idea of the Benchmark, then you'll never be able to get to the same
>>>>>>>>> place.  My original line of thinking was that it was just a bar for vendors
>>>>>>>>> to compare their tools against eachother, but that's a bit myopic.  We are
>>>>>>>>> in an industry where things evolve very quickly.  As a customer of these
>>>>>>>>> tools, I know firsthand that something that a tool does today may not be
>>>>>>>>> the case a week from now.  Likewise, new features are being added daily and
>>>>>>>>> I need a point-in-time metric to be able to gauge continual effectiveness.
>>>>>>>>> Cool, right?  But not a game changer.  The game changer part comes when you
>>>>>>>>> realize that by developing and evolving the tests that go into the
>>>>>>>>> Benchmark, we are moving the bar higher and higher.  We (OWASP) are
>>>>>>>>> effectively setting the standard by which these tools will be compared.  A
>>>>>>>>> tool that receives a lower score on the Benchmark today knows exactly what
>>>>>>>>> they need to work on in order to pass that test tomorrow and we already
>>>>>>>>> have examples of tools that have made improvements because of their
>>>>>>>>> Benchmark score (Ask Simon about ZAP's experience with the Benchmark).  I
>>>>>>>>> don't think that anyone can argue that the Benchmark project isn't being
>>>>>>>>> effective when OWASP's own tools are being driven forward as a result of
>>>>>>>>> using it.
>>>>>>>>> But, but, but, Dave and Jeff own Aspect and have stock in Contrast
>>>>>>>>> and Jeff is the Contrast CTO and Contrast got good scores so it's a
>>>>>>>>> conspiracy right?  Is there some code that allows Contrast to use the
>>>>>>>>> Benchmark?  Absolutely.  Can you really blame Dave for starting his testing
>>>>>>>>> on the effectiveness of the Benchmark with a tool that he owned and is
>>>>>>>>> familiar with?  If I were going to start a similar project, there's no
>>>>>>>>> question in my mind that I would begin my testing with the tools that I
>>>>>>>>> have available to me.  That said, is there code that allows other tools to
>>>>>>>>> use the Benchmark?  Absolutely.
>>>>>>>>> Regarding "Dave has a history of breaching his duty to be vendor
>>>>>>>>> neutral", while I cannot comment on his past actions, I can judge what
>>>>>>>>> we've seen recently.  Matt saw a presentation from Dave on the Benchmark at
>>>>>>>>> a conference in Chicago.  He said that he felt that the message was
>>>>>>>>> appropriate and while IAST tools were mentioned as receiving higher scores,
>>>>>>>>> it wasn't a "Contrast is the best" type of message, more of a generality.
>>>>>>>>> I saw a very similar (if not the same) talk by Jeff at LASCON 2015 and the
>>>>>>>>> message was exactly the same.  I watched the talk expecting some sort of
>>>>>>>>> impropriety, but found none.  So, perhaps Dave has abused some privilege
>>>>>>>>> granted to him in the past, but what I've seen from him at this point, with
>>>>>>>>> respect to the Benchmark, has been appropriate.
>>>>>>>>> You have a very good point with respect to the Contrast marketing
>>>>>>>>> message around the Benchmark.  It's been completely absurd, over the top,
>>>>>>>>> and, in my personal opinion, intolerable.  In fact, I experienced the same
>>>>>>>>> thing that you talked about with them at LASCON 2015 where they stood in
>>>>>>>>> front of the door of the room Jeff was speaking in and scanned attendees as
>>>>>>>>> they went into the talk.  I agree that these types of aggressive marketing
>>>>>>>>> tactics cannot be tolerated at OWASP.  In addition, we have seen several
>>>>>>>>> marketing messages from them effectively implying that OWASP endorses
>>>>>>>>> Contrast.  Clearly this is not OK.  I've spoken with Jeff about it and we
>>>>>>>>> agreed that it is not in the Benchmark's best interest to have this
>>>>>>>>> aggressive Contrast marketing around it at such an early stage.  He has
>>>>>>>>> said that he is not responsible for Contrast's marketing team, but that he
>>>>>>>>> would speak with the people who are.  I haven't seen a single message from
>>>>>>>>> them since so I'm guessing that he's made good on this promise.  While
>>>>>>>>> that's an excellent start, OWASP's takeaway here should be that we need to
>>>>>>>>> do a better job with our brand usage guidelines both in terms of the
>>>>>>>>> wording and enforcement.  There are many other companies out there that use
>>>>>>>>> the OWASP brand and I think that we agree that selective enforcement
>>>>>>>>> against Contrast is not the right answer.  Paul and Noreen are actively
>>>>>>>>> working on this.  Either way, I think that implying that activities from a
>>>>>>>>> vendor's marketing department means that the project is not objective is
>>>>>>>>> not inappropriate.  If we feel that the project is not objective, then
>>>>>>>>> separate measures need to be taken to drive contribution diversity into
>>>>>>>>> it.  That I absolutely agree with and the message from Dave was that he
>>>>>>>>> would love to have more contributors to his project.  But, seeing as we
>>>>>>>>> cannot force people to work on it, this becomes a matter of "put up or shut
>>>>>>>>> up".  The same goes for the experts that you said reviewed the code.  If
>>>>>>>>> they feel that it is somehow skewed towards Contrast, they have the power
>>>>>>>>> to change that.  Now, if someone tries to participate and Dave tells them
>>>>>>>>> "No thanks", then I agree we have a problem, but I don't hear anyone
>>>>>>>>> inferring that happened.
>>>>>>>>> Please, let's drop the conspiracy theories and focus on the
>>>>>>>>> tangible things that we can do to help an OWASP project to be more
>>>>>>>>> successful.  Help find more participants to drive diversity, update our
>>>>>>>>> brand usage guidelines to prevent abuse, enforce them widely, etc.  Thank
>>>>>>>>> you.
>>>>>>>>> ~josh
>>>>>>>>> On Thu, Nov 26, 2015 at 4:24 PM, Jim Manico <jim.manico at owasp.org>
>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> Dinis,
>>>>>>>>>> Like a rare celestial moment when all the planets plus Pluto are
>>>>>>>>>> aligned, I just read your email on the future of OWASP projects thinking,
>>>>>>>>>> "Dinis is spot on".
>>>>>>>>>> Reflecting on projects I manage or work on...
>>>>>>>>>> The Java Encoder and HTML Sanitizer are likely best moved to
>>>>>>>>>> Apache now that they have reached a measure of adoption and maturity.
>>>>>>>>>> Apache would be a much better long term custodian. Perhaps the same for
>>>>>>>>>> AppSensor, but not my project - just thinking out loud.
>>>>>>>>>> Other similar defensive projects are still being noodled on, so
>>>>>>>>>> OWASP is a decent home for these research efforts.
>>>>>>>>>> The whole tools category is also something to consider.
>>>>>>>>>> Dependency Check and of course ZAP are some of the best projects that OWASP
>>>>>>>>>> offers, are they best served where they are today? Both have rich
>>>>>>>>>> communities of developers but I don't see the foundation doing much to
>>>>>>>>>> support these efforts.
>>>>>>>>>> ASVS has the opportunity to effect massive change, I would to
>>>>>>>>>> love to see major investment and volunteer activity here. Pro tech writer,
>>>>>>>>>> detailed discourses on each individual requirement, etc. If I was king (and
>>>>>>>>>> I am not, at all) I would invest in ASVS on a 6 figure scale. (And who
>>>>>>>>>> started ASVS? Jeff, Dave and Boberski, hat tip to such a marvelous idea).
>>>>>>>>>> Or maybe moving ASVS to the W3C or IETF would help it grow?
>>>>>>>>>> The Proactive Controls was a pet project but as we approach 2.0
>>>>>>>>>> we have several active/awesome volunteers working on it. We will be making
>>>>>>>>>> the doc "world editable" to make contributions easy. OWASP seems like a
>>>>>>>>>> good home for such an awareness doc. Same with T10, especially if community
>>>>>>>>>> edits are welcome.
>>>>>>>>>> Anyhow, I'm with you on this Dinis. Once a project starts to
>>>>>>>>>> reach production quality, spinning off the project as an external project
>>>>>>>>>> or moving it to a different foundation where managing production software
>>>>>>>>>> or formal standards is their thing seems realistic.
>>>>>>>>>> I don't have all the answers here, but your email certainly
>>>>>>>>>> resonated with me.
>>>>>>>>>> Aloha,
>>>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>>>> Jim Manico
>>>>>>>>>> Global Board Member
>>>>>>>>>> OWASP Foundation
>>>>>>>>>> https://www.owasp.org
>>>>>>>>>> Join me in Rome for AppSecEU 2016!
>>>>>>>>>> On Nov 26, 2015, at 11:26 PM, Dinis Cruz <dinis.cruz at owasp.org>
>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> Jim's reading of this situation is exactly my view on the value
>>>>>>>>>> of the Contrast tool and how it has been 'pushing' the rules of engagement
>>>>>>>>>> to an very 'fuzzy' moral/ethical/commercial limit :)
>>>>>>>>>> As per my last email, a key problem here is the 'perceived
>>>>>>>>>> expectation' of what is an OWASP project, and how it should be consumed.
>>>>>>>>>> If you look at the OWASP benchmark as a research project, then
>>>>>>>>>> the only way it could be making the kind of claims it makes (and have
>>>>>>>>>> credibility) is if it had evolved from OWASP, with its own (diverse)
>>>>>>>>>> community
>>>>>>>>>> On 26 November 2015 at 21:01, Jim Manico <jim.manico at owasp.org>
>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>> I have a different take on this situation but my opinion is the
>>>>>>>>>>> "minority opinion". I will respect the rest of the boards take on this, but
>>>>>>>>>>> here is how I see it.
>>>>>>>>>>> First of all, Jeff has stated that he feels I am attacking him
>>>>>>>>>>> personally from a past personal grudge, and frankly I do not fault him for
>>>>>>>>>>> that perspective since we definitely have history with conflict. So it's
>>>>>>>>>>> fair to take my opinion on this with a grain of salt.
>>>>>>>>>>> I look at this situation from the perspective of a forensic
>>>>>>>>>>> investigator.
>>>>>>>>>>> 1) The Benchmark project had Contrast hooks and only Contrast
>>>>>>>>>>> hooks in it when I reviewed it so this leads me to believe that the project
>>>>>>>>>>> was clearly built with Contrast in mind from the ground up, at least in
>>>>>>>>>>> some way.
>>>>>>>>>>> 3) Dave has a history of breaching his duty to be vendor
>>>>>>>>>>> neutral. He was gifted with a keynote in South Korea a few years ago, and
>>>>>>>>>>> used that opportunity to discuss and pitch Contrast, on stage, during a
>>>>>>>>>>> keynote - with Contrast specific slides. This is just supporting evidence
>>>>>>>>>>> of his intention at OWASP to push Contrast in ways that I think are against
>>>>>>>>>>> the intentions and goals of our foundation.
>>>>>>>>>>> 3) Other experts have reviewed the project and felt that many of
>>>>>>>>>>> the tests were very slanted and almost contrived to support Contrast. I can
>>>>>>>>>>> drag those folks into this conversation, but I do not think that would help
>>>>>>>>>>> in any way. So it's fair to call this point heresy.
>>>>>>>>>>> 4) I do not see this project as revolutionary, at all. Every
>>>>>>>>>>> vendor has their own test suite tuned for their tool. As the benchmark
>>>>>>>>>>> stands today, I see it as just another vendors product-specific benchmark.
>>>>>>>>>>> Mass collaboration from many vendors is not just a "nice to have" but a
>>>>>>>>>>> base requirement to get even close to useful for objective tool measurement.
>>>>>>>>>>> 5) Jeff stating that his Marketing people went over the line is
>>>>>>>>>>> also an admission that - well, they went over the line. By the same token
>>>>>>>>>>> Jeff was in his booth at AppSec USA surrounded by benchmark marketing
>>>>>>>>>>> material, discussing this to prospects and he even asked me and Mr Coates
>>>>>>>>>>> to wade into this debate and support Dave. So to say he was not involved
>>>>>>>>>>> and it was only his marketing people seems a stretch at best.
>>>>>>>>>>> 6) The Contrast marketing team was wandering around the
>>>>>>>>>>> conference zapping folks to get leads, and I asked them to stay in their
>>>>>>>>>>> booth, which is standard conference policy. These folks know better but are
>>>>>>>>>>> again going over the line to sell product at OWASP. There is a better way
>>>>>>>>>>> (like focusing on product capability and language support, have consistent
>>>>>>>>>>> + stellar customer service, have a humble and gracious attitude to all
>>>>>>>>>>> prospects and customers, actively participate in OWASP in a vendor neutral
>>>>>>>>>>> and community supportive way, etc).
>>>>>>>>>>> Please note, I think Contrast is a decent tool, I've offered to
>>>>>>>>>>> resell in the past, and I have recommended it in certain situations - even
>>>>>>>>>>> after this situation arose. I'm stating this out of honestly and desire to
>>>>>>>>>>> put my cards on the table. I truly want Jeff and Dave to be successful.
>>>>>>>>>>> They have dedicated their lives to AppSec and if anyone should win
>>>>>>>>>>> big-time, I hope it's them. I even told Jeff I hope he hits the mother load
>>>>>>>>>>> and donates a little back to OWASP.
>>>>>>>>>>> However, my instinct and evidence tell me that they both went
>>>>>>>>>>> over the line in the use of the OWASP brand to sell product.
>>>>>>>>>>> Now, Jeff makes a good point. We as a board and staff are very
>>>>>>>>>>> poor at enforcing brand management policy and it's not fair to single out
>>>>>>>>>>> Contrast, when many other vendors violate the brand, IMO. Just google OWASP
>>>>>>>>>>> and watch the ads fly that use the OWASP name to sell product.
>>>>>>>>>>> Also, any and every request that was made of Dave to adjust the
>>>>>>>>>>> project for the sake of vendor neutrality was taken very seriously.
>>>>>>>>>>> Regardless of Daves past intentions, he is clearly trying to do the right
>>>>>>>>>>> thing moving forward.
>>>>>>>>>>> I look to "postels principle" in this situation (this is
>>>>>>>>>>> otherwise known as the "robustness principle" and dates back to the
>>>>>>>>>>> creation of TCP) . This is paraphrased as, "Be liberal in what you take
>>>>>>>>>>> from others but be conservative in what you dish out". So I think it's
>>>>>>>>>>> critical that OWASP and any OWASP resource present itself in a strict
>>>>>>>>>>> vendor neutral way. But unless OWASP wants to be much more "even" in the
>>>>>>>>>>> enforcement of brand policy across the board to all violators, we should be
>>>>>>>>>>> fairly lax in the enforcement of these issues from the outside world.
>>>>>>>>>>> I am trying to be objective here. My trigonometry teacher once
>>>>>>>>>>> told me "I'd fail my mother" when I asked him if he would ever fail me (I
>>>>>>>>>>> was an A student). If my mother owned a security company and tried the same
>>>>>>>>>>> stunt, I'd have the same opinions about her actions as well.
>>>>>>>>>>> So what next? Well hello from the other side. I'm going back to
>>>>>>>>>>> listening to Adele's new album where I can sit in my deep feelings and
>>>>>>>>>>> reflect upon what the OWASP foundation has done to enrich my life. I would
>>>>>>>>>>> much rather keep out of this (and any other conflict laden situation at
>>>>>>>>>>> OWASP), but I feel it's my responsibility to speak up.
>>>>>>>>>>> Aloha,
>>>>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>>>>> Jim Manico
>>>>>>>>>>> Global Board Member
>>>>>>>>>>> OWASP Foundation
>>>>>>>>>>> https://www.owasp.org
>>>>>>>>>>> Join me in Rome for AppSecEU 2016!
>>>>>>>>>>> On Nov 26, 2015, at 9:09 PM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org>
>>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>> I would be happy to provide an update.
>>>>>>>>>>>    - Matt Konda and Dave Wichers, the Benchmark Project Leader,
>>>>>>>>>>>    had a conversation a few weeks back.  To summarize their conversation, Dave
>>>>>>>>>>>    acknowledges the currently lack of diversity in his project and it is his
>>>>>>>>>>>    sincere desire to drive more people to it to help.  He also acknowledges
>>>>>>>>>>>    the issues with Contrast's extreme marketing around the project and feels
>>>>>>>>>>>    that it is in everyone's best interests for them to curb it back.  While he
>>>>>>>>>>>    does have an ownership stake in Contrast, he works at Aspect and has no
>>>>>>>>>>>    control over the marketing messages that they are putting out there.  From
>>>>>>>>>>>    the Board perspective, there has been no evidence of any impropriety on
>>>>>>>>>>>    Dave's part and it should be our goal to drive more diversity into the
>>>>>>>>>>>    project to support Dave.  Dave appears to be sincere in his desires to
>>>>>>>>>>>    create a tool where OWASP can tell vendors what we expect from their
>>>>>>>>>>>    tools.  If the main issue is that only members of Aspect are working on it,
>>>>>>>>>>>    then the best thing that we can do is try to get him some outside
>>>>>>>>>>>    assistance.  We are also asking that the project be opened up to commits
>>>>>>>>>>>    via Git so that outsiders can push commits to it.
>>>>>>>>>>>    - Josh Sokol and Jeff Williams, the CTO of Contrast, had a
>>>>>>>>>>>    conversation a few weeks back.  To summarize their conversation, Jeff
>>>>>>>>>>>    believes that the work that Dave is doing on the Benchmark is a game
>>>>>>>>>>>    changer in that it gives OWASP the power in dictating what these tools need
>>>>>>>>>>>    to be finding.  He wants the Benchmark to be successful and understands
>>>>>>>>>>>    that it needs to be diverse in order to be trusted.  He recognizes that
>>>>>>>>>>>    Dave is trying to do that and does not want the marketing message from
>>>>>>>>>>>    Contrast to interfere with his efforts.  Jeff felt that the "Lab" status
>>>>>>>>>>>    granted to Benchmark meant that it was ready for mainstream adoption, that
>>>>>>>>>>>    it had 21k tests, and was almost a year old, and didn't see anything wrong
>>>>>>>>>>>    with marketing their results, but has agreed to talk to their marketing
>>>>>>>>>>>    team to get them to lay off that message for now.  From the Board
>>>>>>>>>>>    perspective, we have come to the realization that our brand usage
>>>>>>>>>>>    guidelines need an overhaul to clarify what is and is not allowed.  We have
>>>>>>>>>>>    made a few proposals and have reached out to Mozilla to gain more insight
>>>>>>>>>>>    on their guidelines and even ask for assistance.  Noreen and Paul are
>>>>>>>>>>>    taking lead on these efforts.
>>>>>>>>>>>    - There is a note in the notes that the Board was supposed
>>>>>>>>>>>    to follow up with an open letter to the community and companies involved
>>>>>>>>>>>    describing our review and actions.  I don't think that has happened so I
>>>>>>>>>>>    will remind the person who took on that action item.
>>>>>>>>>>> I'm happy to answer any questions that you may have.
>>>>>>>>>>> ~josh
>>>>>>>>>>> On Thu, Nov 26, 2015 at 11:55 AM, Tobias <
>>>>>>>>>>> tobias.gondrom at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>> There have been several conversations on that matter and a
>>>>>>>>>>>> dedicated call. Unfortunately for personal reasons I could not attend the
>>>>>>>>>>>> last call as it was at 04:00am my local time, but all other board members
>>>>>>>>>>>> did participate.
>>>>>>>>>>>> Could please one of my fellow board members give an update.
>>>>>>>>>>>> Best, Tobias
>>>>>>>>>>>> On 26/11/15 18:04, Timo Goosen wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>> I would also like to know the answer to Simon's question. We
>>>>>>>>>>>> need to get rid of bad apples in OWASP in my opinion, there are too many
>>>>>>>>>>>> people just using the OWASP "name" or "brand" to improve their own
>>>>>>>>>>>> financial situation or career.
>>>>>>>>>>>> Regards.
>>>>>>>>>>>> Timo
>>>>>>>>>>>> On Thu, Nov 26, 2015 at 1:13 PM, psiinon <psiinon at gmail.com>
>>>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Paul, and the rest of the board,
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Its been over 2 months since I raised this issue.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Whats happening?
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Has the board even discussed it?
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Simon
>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 10:00 PM, Paul Ritchie <
>>>>>>>>>>>>> paul.ritchie at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Eoin, Johanna, All:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> In an earlier email, Josh Sokol mentioned that he will be
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> speaking in the next day or 2 to their CTO, while at LASCON, as a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> representative of the OWASP Board.  Following that feedback, the Board has
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> action to take the next steps.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Just an FYI that all comments are recognized and action is
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> being taken.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Paul
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Best Regards, Paul Ritchie
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> OWASP Executive Director
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> paul.ritchie at owasp.org
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 1:54 PM, johanna curiel curiel <
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> johanna.curiel at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Time for owasp to do a public statement and put a clear
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> story regarding this abusive behavior of Owasp brand
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Tuesday, October 20, 2015, Eoin Keary <
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> eoin.keary at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Folks,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The project should be immediately shelved it's simply bad
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> form.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> This is damaging to OWASP, the industry and exactly what
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> OWASP is not about.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> There is a clear conflict of interest and distinct lack of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> science behind the claims made by Contrast.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Eoin Keary
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> OWASP Volunteer
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> @eoinkeary
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On 7 Oct 2015, at 3:53 p.m., johanna curiel curiel <
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> johanna.curiel at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> At the moment we did the project review, we observed that
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the project did not have enough testing to be considered in any form as
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 'ready'  for benchmarking, neither that it had yet the community adoption,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> however technically speaking as it has been classified by the leaders, the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> project is at the beta stage.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Indeed , Dave had the push to have the project reviewed but
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> it was never clear that later on the project was going to be advertisied
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> this way. That all happend after the presentation at Appsec.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I had my concerns regarding how sensitive is the subject
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> of the project ,but I think we should allow project leaders to develop
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> their communication strategy even if this has conflict of interest. It all
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> depends how they behave and how they manage this.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, Michael Coates <
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> michael.coates at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> It's not really that formal to add to the agenda, just a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> wiki that we add in the text.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I think you can safely assume it will get the appropriate
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> discussion.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Oct 6, 2015, at 7:16 AM, psiinon <psiinon at gmail.com>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Really?? Its not on the agenda yet for the next meeting??
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> How does it get added to the agenda?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> And that was a formal request if that makes any difference
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> :)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I'm all in favour of getting the facts straight before any
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> actions are taken, hence my request for an 'ethical review' or whatever it
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> should be called.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Simon
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 3:07 PM, Michael Coates <
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> michael.coates at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> First step is to get all of our information straight so
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> we're clear on where things are at.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> This was not on the board agenda last meeting and is also
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> not on the next agenda as of yet (of course it could always be added if
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> needed).
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> We are aware that people have raised questions though.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I'm hoping we can get a clear understanding of all the facts and then
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> discuss if changes are needed.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Oct 6, 2015, at 1:52 AM, psiinon <psiinon at gmail.com>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Hey Michael,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Is the board going to take any action?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Were there any discussions about this controversy in the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> board meeting at AppSec USA?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> If not will it be on the agenda for the meeting on
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> October 14th?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Simon
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 8:25 AM, Michael Coates <
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> michael.coates at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Simon
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I posted the below message earlier today. At this point
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> my goal is to just gain clarity over the current reality and ideally drive
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> to a shared state of success. This message doesn't seem to be reflected in
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the list yet. It could be because my membership hasn't been approved or
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> because of mail list delays (I miss Google groups). But I think these
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> questions will start the conversation.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> (This was just me asking questions as a curious Owasp
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> member, not any action on behalf of the board)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Begin forwarded message:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> *From:* Michael Coates <michael.coates at owasp.org>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> *Date:* October 5, 2015 at 6:20:23 PM PDT
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> *To:* owasp-benchmark-project at lists.owasp.org
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> *Subject:* *Project Questions*
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> OWASP Benchmark List,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I've heard more about this project and am excited about
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the idea of an independent perspective of tool performance. I'm trying to
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> understand a few things to better respond to questions from those in the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> security & OWASP community.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> In my mind there are two big areas for consideration in
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> a benchmark process.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 1. Are the benchmarks testing the right areas?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 2. Is the process for creating the benchmark objective &
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> free from conflicts of interest.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I think as a group OWASP is the right body to align on
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> #1.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I'd like to ask for some clarifications on item #2. I
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> think it's important to avoid actual conflict of interest and also the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> appearance of conflict of interest. The former is obvious why we mustn't
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> have that, the latter is critical so others have faith in the tool, process
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> and outputs of the process when viewing or hearing about the project.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 1) Can we clarify whether other individuals have
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> submitted meaningful code to the project?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Observation:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Nearly all the code commits have come from 1 person
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> (project lead).
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> https://github.com/OWASP/Benchmark/graphs/contributors
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 2) Can we clarify the contributions of others and their
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> represented organizations?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Observation:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The acknowledgements tab listed two developers (Juan
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Gama & Nick Sanidas) both who work at the same company as the project lead.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> It seems other people have submitted some small amounts of material, but
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> overall it seems all development has come from the same company.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Benchmark#tab=Acknowledgements
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 3) Can we clarify in what ways we've mitigated the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> potential conflict of interest and also the appearance of a conflict of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> interest? This seems like the largest blocker for wide spread acceptance of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> this project and the biggest risk.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Observation:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The project lead and both of the project developers
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> works for a company with very close ties to one of the companies that is
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> evaluated by this project. Further, it appears the company is performing
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> very well on the project tests.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 4) If we are going to list tool vendors then I'd
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> recommend listing multiple vendors for each category.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Observation:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The tools page only lists 1 IAST tool. Since this is the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> point of the potential conflict of interest it is important to list
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> numerous IAST tools.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Benchmark#tab=Tool_Support_2FResults
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 5) Diverse body with multiple points of view
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Observation:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> There is no indication that multiple stakeholders are
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> present to review and decide on the future of this project. If they exist,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> a new section should be added to the project page to raise awareness. If
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> they don't exist, we should reevaluate how we are obtaining an independent
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> view of the testing process.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Again, I think the idea of the project is great. From my
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> perspective clarifying these questions will help ensure the project is not
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> only objective, but also perceived as objective from someone reviewing the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> material. Ultimately this will contribute to the success and growth of the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> project.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Thanks!
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Michael Coates
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Oct 2, 2015, at 1:31 AM, psiinon <psiinon at gmail.com>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> OK, based on the concerns raised so far I think the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> board should initiate a review of the OWASP Benchmark project.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I'm not raising a formal complaint against it, I'm just
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> requesting a review.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> And I dont think it needs a 'standard' project review -
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Johanna has already done a very good job of this.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Not sure what sort of review you'd call it, I'll leave
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the naming to others :)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I'm concerned that we have an OWASP project lead by a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> company who has a clear commercial stake in the results.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Bringing more companies on board will help, but I'm
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> still not sure that alone will make it independent enough.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Commercial companies can afford to dedicate staff to
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> improving Benchmark so that their products look better.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Open source projects just cant do that, so we are at a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> distinct disadvantage.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Should we allow a commercially driven OWASP project
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> who's aim could be seen be to promote commercial software?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> If so, what sort of checks and balances does it need?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Those are the sort of questions I'd like an independent
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> review to look at.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I do think there are some immediate steps that could be
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> taken:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>    - I'd like to see the Benchmark project page clearly
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>    state thats its at a very early stage and that the results are _not_ yet
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>    suitable for use in commercial literature.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>    - I'd also like the main companies developing
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>    Benchmark to be clearly stated on the main page. If and when other
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>    companies get involved then this would actually help the project's claim of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>    vendor independence.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>    - And I'd love to see a respected co-leader added to
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>    the project who is not associated with any commercial or open source
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>    security tools:)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> And we should carry on discussing the project on this
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> list - I think such discussions are very healthy, and I'd love to see this
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> project mature to a state where it can be a trusted, independent and valued
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> resource.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Simon
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Thu, Oct 1, 2015 at 7:59 PM, Tobias <
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> tobias.gondrom at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> @Simon:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> yes, the leaders list is the place for your discussions
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> for project and chapter leaders
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> @Timo: I like your framing of "Don't ask what OWASP can
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> do for me, ask what I can do for OWASP."
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> That should and is indeed the spirit of OWASP:-)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Best regards, Tobias
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On 30/09/15 09:42, Timo Goosen wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I don't know enough about the matter to comment on this
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> case, but I feel that any situation where an OWASP project or any OWASP
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> initiative for that matter, is using OWASP to promote its own business
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> interests should be stopped.  We need to get rid of bad apples in
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ...
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