SourceForge Tracker Security

As many of you know, I'm the project manager for Gallery. We host all of our bugs, tasks, source code, and mailing lists in our project on SourceForge. Over the last year or so, we've been paying for external security audits of our entire codebase which has been very helpful in identifying potential security problems in Gallery. The last round of audits from Gotham Digital Science were very thorough and gave us a good list of things to improve. SourceForge supports marking tracker items as "private" so that only members of the team can see the issues. We decided to use this for the security fixes because having everything in a central location in a way that team members can see what issues are open, pick ones to work on, and communicate their progress to others, helps us get things fixed much more quickly than just using email or a mailing list. As project manager, I have a paid subscription to SourceForge which allows me to "monitor" projects, and I monitor both Gallery and gallery-contrib (a separate project we manage to allow anyone to develop for Gallery using SourceForge with no prerequisites). Monitoring a project means that I get an email for every single action that happens on the site: updates to bugs, new feature requests, etc. I received e-mail notifications of all the private security related bugs and didn't think much of it, but at some point it hit me: what if anyone with a paid SourceForge account could monitor a project and thus get notifications of private items? Andy (another Gallery developer) and I set out to test this out and verified it on gallery-contrib. I removed him from the project, he monitored it, I created private items, and he was still getting the e-mail notifications! Not good! All of our security issues (which costs us a significant chunk of cash to find out about) in the bug tracker on SourceForge were essentially published. Perhaps noone was monitoring our project so it all could still be secure, but wow. I submitted a private bug with SourceForge (fortunately, they do not allow people to monitor their bug list :) ) and it went into the queue. Bharat, the founder of Gallery, used to work at Sourceforge and forwarded the issue along to some of his contacts there, and it was resolved a few days later. We verified that it works the right way now, but it leaves me feeling pretty nervous. SourceForge is great because they provide all these things for Open Source projects for free including, perhaps most importantly, the ~6Mb/s of traffic our downloads generate. (In my current hosting setup, that would cost me over $400 a month.) However, like any Software-as-a-service, you can never be sure that a "private" checkbox works the way that you expect, and if you do find problems, there is no way to fix them on your own. Private tracker items are now truly private, but this could always be accidentally changed in the future without our knowledge, and we certainly can't keep testing this with the regularly that the severity of our security issues warrants. While this was very surprising in a very negative way, we won't be switching away from SourceForge any time soon. They do a good job, are very responsive to requests, have the functionality we need, and host more Open Source projects than other things such as Google Code. We'll see what the future holds, perhaps one day we will have the resources to run things on our own!

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