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

Josh Sokol josh.sokol at owasp.org
Fri Nov 27 20:16:06 UTC 2015

I don't know what qualifies as "significant" in your mind, but my
understanding is that there have been contributions from other vendors:


Still, Dave would like more, but he can't force them to help.


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 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 3
>> _______________________________________________
>> OWASP-Leaders mailing list
>> OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org
>> https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-leaders
>> ...
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