Simon Willison’s Weblog


Bullying in Open Source Software Is a Massive Security Vulnerability. The Xz story from last month, where a malicious contributor almost managed to ship a backdoor to a number of major Linux distributions, included a nasty detail where presumed collaborators with the attacker bullied the maintainer to make them more susceptible to accepting help.

Hans-Christoph Steiner from F-Droid reported a similar attempt from a few years ago:

A new contributor submitted a merge request to improve the search, which was oft requested but the maintainers hadn't found time to work on. There was also pressure from other random accounts to merge it. In the end, it became clear that it added a SQL injection vulnerability.

404 Media's Jason Koebler ties the two together here and makes the case for bullying as a genuine form of security exploit in the open source ecosystem.