Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

7/26/2006
04:25 AM
50%
50%

Profit Motives

This business of paying for software bugs has plenty of pros and cons and won't necessarily improve security

12:25 PM -- There's something unsettling about security vendors paying researchers for the software bugs they discover.

It's a delicate dance -- keeping your researcher friends close and your enemies closer. Security software vendors are putting up thousands of dollars, which may come in handy for a hungry grad student, but could also tempt a hungry hacker into cooking up mischief, or hardcore criminals (think identity theft, corporate espionage, or worse) into outbidding the vendors, with five figures instead of "just" four. (See Bucks for Bugs.)

Are security vendors truly keeping software safer by soliciting business with bug writers? Or is this practice merely inviting trouble?

There's no way to prove the bugs for money system actually creates market demand, but you have to wonder. Certainly the idea of intercepting a potential bug before it propagates into the wild makes sense, but does it have to involve cash? How much of this bucks-for-bugs trade is altruistic on the part of security vendors that pay up? Aren't they also trying to gain a financial edge as well, being the first to find and patch a new Windows bug, for example?

And even if all security vendors paid for bugs -- only a handful do today -- there's no way to guarantee it would stop software bugs from being created and disseminated, even with promises of money and gainful employment.

Okay, so maybe this is a little nostalgia for what seems to be increasingly becoming the "old school" Internet days of open research for all, but what's wrong with continuing to encourage researchers to place their findings in the public domain? Many still do this, and it gives all security vendors a shot at finding fixes. It may not halt the practice of selling bugs to bad guys, but it may make it less tempting to sell out.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Commentary
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
Edge-DRsplash-11-edge-ask-the-experts
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
News
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-31618
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-15
Apache HTTP Server protocol handler for the HTTP/2 protocol checks received request headers against the size limitations as configured for the server and used for the HTTP/1 protocol as well. On violation of these restrictions and HTTP response is sent to the client with a status code indicating why...
CVE-2021-20027
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-14
A buffer overflow vulnerability in SonicOS allows a remote attacker to cause a Denial of Service (DoS) by sending a specially crafted request. This vulnerability affects SonicOS Gen5, Gen6, Gen7 platforms, and SonicOSv virtual firewalls.
CVE-2021-32684
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-14
magento-scripts contains scripts and configuration used by Create Magento App, a zero-configuration tool-chain which allows one to deploy Magento 2. In versions 1.5.1 and 1.5.2, after changing the function from synchronous to asynchronous there wasn't implemented handler in the start, stop, exec, an...
CVE-2021-34693
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-14
net/can/bcm.c in the Linux kernel through 5.12.10 allows local users to obtain sensitive information from kernel stack memory because parts of a data structure are uninitialized.
CVE-2021-27887
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-14
Cross-site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the main dashboard of Ellipse APM versions allows an authenticated user or integrated application to inject malicious data into the application that can then be executed in a victim’s browser. This issue affects: Hitachi ABB Power Grids ...