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Rendezvous at Risk

Holes in Tibco's Rendezvous messaging middleware can leave applications vulnerable to denial-of-service attacks

Holes found in Tibco's popular messaging middleware have left the door wide open for a buffer overflow-type attack, which at worst can take down a Web-based application running the Rendezvous software.

Developers use Rendezvous to integrate distributed applications across networks, and for e-business purposes, and Tibco's software runs in many Fortune 1000 companies.

Tibco has already issued a new release of Rendezvous that fixes the problem, which affects Rendezvous version 7.5 and earlier, as well as its Hawk 4.6 and earlier, and Tibco Runtime Agent Version 5.4 (that includes BusinessWorks, BusinessConnect, BusinessEvents, and PortalBuilder apps, too), all of which use Rendezvous. "Tibco has been working around the clock since the security vulnerabilities were discovered in Rendezvous and Hawk," a Tibco spokesman says.

It was Andres Tarasco, a security consultant with the Europe-based SIA Group, who found the holes while performing penetration tests for some of SIA's clients that run Tibco software. "Tibco worked with me to identify similar flaws in their software," he says.

SIA's Tarasco has plenty of experience in pinpointing software flaws and even got a mention, and a thank you, from Tibco in its security alert.

"One of the most important problems a pen-tester has to perform are tests that could allow a denial of service," Tarasco says. "Most times, you are working with critical environments, and if you crash a system, you will have problems...[so] we try to test new or critical vulnerabilities only over test networks and sometimes reverse/audit applications offline."

Tibco, meanwhile, recommends that its customers upgrade ASAP to Rendezvous (v7.5.1), Hawk (v4.6.1), and Runtime Agent (v5.4.0). Those with current maintenance contracts can download them. Tibco's Enterprise Messaging Service application, by the way, does not contain this vulnerability.

A buffer overflow typically allows rogue code to infiltrate the application. The code then can be used to take ownership of a machine to steal data or launch a denial-of-service attack of the application. Or it could just crash a machine altogether, says Charles Kolodgy, research director for secure content and threat management products at IDC.

But don't be lulled into a false sense of security just because there haven't been many high-profile, large-scale DOS attacks of late: Smaller-scale DOS attacks still occur regularly. "What we haven't seen are massive DOS attacks that take down large portions of the Internet," IDC's Kolodgy says. "Most companies and telcos now have the tools that can recognize a DOS attack and mitigate its effects by either dropping the offending packets or rerouting."

And obviously, buffer overflow attacks are not just a Tibco problem. "Everyone is a target. Hackers and vulnerability hunters seem to have too much time on their hands," says Kolodgy.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

Companies mentioned in this article:

  • Tibco Software Inc. (Nasdaq: TIBX)
  • IDC

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