On Friday January 21, 2022 I received this email. I tweeted about it and it took off like crazy.
The email comes from a fortune-500 multi-billion dollar company that apparently might be using a product that contains my code, or maybe they have customers who do. Who knows?
My guess is that they do this for some compliance reasons and they “forgot” that their open source components are not automatically provided by “partners” they can just demand this information from.
I answered the email very briefly and said I will be happy to answer with details as soon as we have a support contract signed.
I think maybe this serves as a good example of the open source pyramid and users in the upper layers not at all thinking of how the lower layers are maintained. Building a house without a care about the ground the house stands on.
In my tweet and here in my blog post I redact the name of the company. I most probably have the right to tell you who they are, but I still prefer to not. (Especially if I manage to land a profitable business contract with them.) I suspect we can find this level of entitlement in many companies.
The level of ignorance and incompetence shown in this single email is mind-boggling.
While they don’t even specifically say which product they are using, no code I’ve ever been involved with or have my copyright use log4j and any rookie or better engineer could easily verify that.
In the picture version of the email I padded the name fields to better anonymize the sender, and in the text below I replaced them with NNNN.
(And yes, it is very curious that they send queries about log4j now, seemingly very late.)
Continue down for the reply.
Dear Haxx Team Partner, You are receiving this message because NNNN uses a product you developed. We request you review and respond within 24 hours of receiving this email. If you are not the right person, please forward this message to the appropriate contact. As you may already be aware, a newly discovered zero-day vulnerability is currently impacting Java logging library Apache Log4j globally, potentially allowing attackers to gain full control of affected servers. The security and protection of our customers' confidential information is our top priority. As a key partner in serving our customers, we need to understand your risk and mitigation plans for this vulnerability. Please respond to the following questions using the template provided below. 1. If you utilize a Java logging library for any of your application, what Log4j versions are running? 2. Have there been any confirmed security incidents to your company? 3. If yes, what applications, products, services, and associated versions are impacted? 4. Were any NNNN product and services impacted? 5. Has NNNN non-public or personal information been affected? 6. If yes, please provide details of affected information NNNN immediately. 7. What is the timeline (MM/DD/YY) for completing remediation? List the NNNN steps, including dates for each. 8. What action is required from NNNN to complete this remediation? In an effort to maintain the integrity of this inquiry, we request that you do not share information relating to NNNN outside of your company and to keep this request to pertinent personnel only. Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this inquiry and your partnership! Sincerely, NNNN Information Security The information contained in this message may be CONFIDENTIAL and is for the intended addressee only. Any unauthorized use, dissemination of the information, or copying of this message is prohibited. If you are not the intended addressee, please notify the sender immediately and delete this message.
On January 24th I received this response, from the same address and it quotes my reply so I know they got it fine.
Hi David, Thank you for your reply. Are you saying that we are not a customer of your organization? / [a first name]
My second reply
I replied again (22:29 CET on Jan 24) to this mail that identified me as “David”. Now there’s this great story about a David and some giant so I couldn’t help myself…
Hi Goliath, No, you have no established contract with me or anyone else at Haxx whom you addressed this email to, asking for a lot of information. You are not our customer, we are not your customer. Also, you didn't detail what product it was regarding. So, we can either establish such a relationship or you are free to search for answers to your questions yourself. I can only presume that you got our email address and contact information into your systems because we produce a lot of open source software that are used widely. Best wishes, Daniel
The image version of the initial email
Update on February 9: The email came from MetLife.