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The ChromeOS security review process

This document describes the ChromeOS security review process from the security team's perspective. It focuses on the process itself, and how to ensure that all features are properly reviewed before they launch.

This document does not contain actual security review guidance. For that consult the main security review HOWTO document.

The role of the security review lead

This section is mostly only relevant for security team members and can be safely skipped by feature owners.

The security review lead represents ChromeOS security at ChromeOS Launch review meetings. They are responsible for getting features that are ready to be reviewed actually reviewed in time. Their objective should be to support the ChromeOS team shipping features that improve the experience of ChromeOS users without compromising the security posture of the product. And remember, security is a feature too!

If you're fulfilling the role of security review lead, ensure first and foremost that you're invited to ChromeOS Launch review meetings. Ask the ChromeOS security leads, or the Launch process lead (currently ovanieva@) to add you to the meeting.

Make sure to review outstanding launches before each meeting, by querying for features aimed for the current milestone. Identify features that are in ReviewRequested state, and make sure that they are actually ready to be reviewed, with the launch bug listing a design document that covers security considerations.

Identify as well features that are in NotReviewed state. Ping the feature owner to confirm whether those features are still aimed at the current milestone, and remind them that until the features are changed to ReviewRequested, they will not be reviewed by the ChromeOS security team.

For features in NeedInfo state, consider pinging the feature owner if there has been no reply on the launch bug for a while (say a week). Remind the feature owner that launches in NeedInfo state cannot be reviewed, or approved, by the ChromeOS security team until the extra information is provided, or the extra mitigations are implemented.

Some tooling can make the role of the security review lead easier:

In general, strive to communicate early and often. The days after the first launch review meeting for a given milestone (check [chromiumdash] for milestone schedules) are a good time to follow up on the NotReviewed features. Feature freeze happens two weeks before branch point: the days leading to feature freeze are a good time to follow up on the NeedInfo features to make sure there's enough time to improve documents or implementation.

Launch review meetings

The objective of Launch review meetings is for ChromeOS leads to understand the readiness of features aimed for the current milestone. Some features are hard requirements for a specific milestone (for example, because they enable key hardware support for a new device), but many features can be punted to a later milestone if they are not ready in time for the current one.

Your role as the security review lead attending the launch review meeting is to provide visibility into the security readiness of features aimed for the current milestone. If your or a team member's security review of a feature suggests it will not be ready on time, communicate that in the launch review meeting.

Bear in mind that launch review meetings are not the place for in-depth discussions about feature security or concerns discovered during the review. Launch review meetings are status tracking meetings. There are a lot of features to get through and therefore not a lot of time can be dedicated to individual features.

You can discuss security concerns on the launch bug, on the design doc, or by scheduling a meeting specifically to that effect.

Assigning reviews to other team members

Each feature review is assigned to a specific security team member. We track assignment using SECURITY-${username} labels in This bookkeeping information helps the security review lead to keep the big picture and is useful for future reference in case the feature review becomes relevant for future reviews, bugs, etc. You can add the SECURITY field as a column to show for the search list page to get a quick overview of what feature is assigned to which team member for review, and more importantly which features are pending assignment.

Consider team members' expertise in the different aspects of ChromeOS when assigning security reviews. Work with ChromeOS security leads to validate and confirm assignments, and make sure that folks know which features are assigned to them. Also, ensure that folks provide feedback to the feature owner before launch review meetings.