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Prioritizing security hardening bugs

There is already great guidance for prioritization of vulnerability fixes in the Security Severity Guidelines, but there is not clear guidance in that document for more preventative hardening tasks. The general guidance for hardening tasks is that work that will remove an entire class of bugs or sandboxing work is of higher priority than one-off fixes like those for memory leaks or fuzzer finds. More granular guidance past that is as follows:

Order of priority:

  1. Exiting the forbidden intersection P1

    • Not run as root P1

    • Move out of init namespace P1

    • Remove capabilities P1

    • Seccomp for leaf nodes P1

  2. Move into a network namespace P2

  3. “Friday afternoon tasks” - Small bugs P2

  4. Seccomp for a parent process P2

  5. Adding fuzzer(s) P2

Security-team-specific guidance

If you are not on the security team please use the above guidance or ask for help from the security team as the following guidance requires security-specific knowledge. The above list is a good starting point, but depending on other factors, some issues can be upgraded or downgraded in priority. It is also possible to skip the list altogether (as it is very general) and only use the below formula for prioritizing issues. A good heuristic provided by mnissler@

Using these factors you can approximate: priority = severity * risk * generality * 1/cost (weighed with appropriate factors).