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Vendor Threatens Secunia With Legal Action if It Reports Bug

Autonomy says vulnerability already fixed, Secunia says it's not

A software vendor has threatened vulnerability information provider Secunia with legal action if it publishes information on a reported vulnerability in its software.

In dispute is a vulnerability in a Lotus 1-2-3 viewer application from Autonomy.

But the cat's out of the bag now: "Autonomy wants Secunia to withhold information about the fact that vulnerability SA27835 in Keyview Lotus 1-2-3 File Viewer, which has been fixed by IBM, obviously also affects Autonomy's own versions 9.2 and 10.3 of KeyView," wrote Thomas Kristensen, chief technology officer for Secunia, in a blog post yesterday.

Secunia maintains that Autonomy, which provides apps that support handling and opening documents in IBM's Lotus Notes and Symantec Mail Security, has become "fed up" with taking care of the vulnerabilities that affect its software as well as that of its OEMs.

But in a December 2 letter to Secunia, Autonomy argues that the vulnerability has been fixed, and it already had been identified in a previous Secunia advisory, so it would be "misleading" and "confusing" to issue another one. The likelihood of it being exploited is low because the Lotus Worksheet File format in the application is a legacy technology that's rarely used, and that an exploit would require "user intervention," an attorney for Autonomy wrote.

"The versions of the KeyView software that are affected are 9.2 and 10.3. IBM has already been provided with updates that invalidate this vulnerability in the form of software updates and, respectively," he wrote.

Autonomy also questioned Secunia's rights to test the software under its software licensing agreements.

In its latest letter, dated December 5, Autonomy reiterated the legal ramifications of Secunia's publishing the advisory, and accused Secunia of issuing advisories that "exaggerate threats," lack all the relevant information, and are "self-serving."

"Refined vulnerability information providers are frequently threatened by vendors, but this has gone further than any other case that I know of," says Steven Christey, principal information security engineer for Mitre Corp.

Secunia maintains that Autonomy and its OEM customers are apparently not coordinating their statements and patches for their vulnerabilities. Kristensen says that despite the legal threats from Autonomy, Secunia will continue conducting vulnerability research into Autonomy's and other products.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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