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

johanna curiel curiel johanna.curiel at owasp.org
Fri Nov 27 18:25:46 UTC 2015

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On Fri, Nov 27, 2015 at 2:22 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 OWASP.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> OWASP is becoming a brand if you would like to think of it
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> that way and we are going to see many more cases of people trying to use
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> OWASP to spread their business interests. At the end of the day everyone
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> should be acting with an attitude of:"Don't ask what OWASP can do for me,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ask what I can do for OWASP?"
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Regards.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Timo
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 11:48 AM, psiinon <psiinon at gmail.com>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> So, a load of controversy about OWASP Benchmark on twitter,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> but no discussion on the leaders list :(
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Is this now the wrong place to discuss OWASP projects??
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Simon
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Thu, Sep 24, 2015 at 10:36 AM, psiinon <psiinon at gmail.com
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> > wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Hi folks,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I've got some concerns about the OWASP Benchmark project.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I _like_ benchmarks, and I'm very pleased to see an active
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> OWASP project focused on delivering one.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I think the project has some technical limitations, but
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> thats fine
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ...
>> [Message clipped]
>> _______________________________________________
>> Owasp-board mailing list
>> Owasp-board at lists.owasp.org
>> https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-board
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