The haunting silence of CVE-Unknown: Unveiling the secrets of silent fixes

John Speed Meyers, Principal Research Scientist
October 25, 2023

Disclaimer: The CVEs in these stories are real, but the names of people involved are fictional for privacy and storytelling purposes.

In this post, we’ll hear a spooky story about silent fixes. This term refers to cases where a developer fixes a security issue in an application or library, but doesn’t report a vulnerability to any vulnerability databases. Then, scanners can’t report on these vulnerabilities because they don’t have the metadata available—but that doesn’t prevent an attacker from capitalizing on them.

Your best bet in such cases is to keep software up-to-date, so your image has even the silent fixes in it. Chainguard Images are rebuilt and patched daily by our team, which makes staying up-to-date with your software easy.

The Story

This Halloween, prepare to embark on a journey into the darkest corners of the digital realm as we unveil the spine-tingling ghost story of silent fixes—a spectral threat that can evade even the most vigilant scanner's eye.

Our story begins with a coder named Ethan, a fearless explorer of the software abyss. With every keystroke, he forged a path through the labyrinthine code, seeking to protect his creations from the forces that threatened to breach the digital gates.

One moonless night, as Ethan delved deep into etcd, his trusted sentinel, the scanner, sounded an ominous alarm. It proclaimed a security vulnerability, cryptically known as etcd#10132, lurking within the code.

But there was something sinister at play, for in the shadowy world of silent fixes, vulnerabilities were mended in silence, without issuing the customary advisory. v3.4.10 of etcd had been released in July 2020, concealing the fix for etcd#10132.

It was not until a month later that a brave former Chainguard intern named Trevor Dunlap unearthed the hidden secret, revealing the vulnerability's truths. An advisory (GHSA-528j-9r78-wffx) was issued, and the world was made aware of the silent fix.

In the realm of cybersecurity, silence can be the most haunting of all. The scanner, vigilant though it may be, needed an assist to pierce the veil of the unknown. But there was a glimmer of hope—a guardian immune to the deceptive silence of silent fixes known as Chainguard Images.

With a single command, Ethan summoned its wisdom:

There, in the results, was the proof—silence had no power over the eternal vigilance of Chainguard Images. 

As you traverse the treacherous paths of code, remember the harrowing tale of Ethan and the silent fix that eluded his watchful scanner's gaze. In the world of vulnerabilities, silence can be the most terrifying adversary, but with Chainguard Images, you can cast aside uncertainty and stay up-to-date, free from the silent shadows. This Halloween, may your code remain silent on the subject of vulnerabilities, and may your creations thrive in the night. Happy coding, and beware of the silence that may linger in your codebase.

Related articles

Ready to lock down your supply chain?

Talk to our customer obsessed, community-driven team.