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
Limited-Time Free Offers to Secure the Enterprise Amid COVID-19
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  3/31/2020
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 4/3/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
Data breaches and regulations have forced organizations to pay closer attention to the security incident response function. However, security leaders may be overestimating their ability to detect and respond to security incidents. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-11586
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-06
An XXE issue was discovered in CIPPlanner CIPAce 9.1 Build 2019092801. An unauthenticated attacker can make an API request that contains malicious XML DTD data.
CVE-2020-11587
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-06
An issue was discovered in CIPPlanner CIPAce 9.1 Build 2019092801. An unauthenticated attacker can make an API request and get the content of ETL Processes running on the server.
CVE-2020-11589
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-06
An Insecure Direct Object Reference issue was discovered in CIPPlanner CIPAce 9.1 Build 2019092801. An unauthenticated attacker can make a GET request to a certain URL and obtain information that should be provided to authenticated users only.
CVE-2020-11590
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-06
An issue was discovered in CIPPlanner CIPAce 9.1 Build 2019092801. An unauthenticated attacker can make an HTTP GET request to HealthPage.aspx and obtain the internal server name.
CVE-2020-11591
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-06
An issue was discovered in CIPPlanner CIPAce 9.1 Build 2019092801. An unauthenticated attacker can make an API request and obtain the full application path along with the customer name.