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.

Analytics

6/13/2007
01:20 AM
50%
50%

Trust Gets Buggy

Whether a flaw or a feature, Microsoft's attitude suggests bugs don't have to be fixed

This would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Microsoft has in the past three months declared that two security bugs are, in fact, features. The most recent involves IIS, the earlier one involves Word 2007. Apparently nobody at Microsoft realizes that the "It's not a bug, it's a feature!" should only be used as a punch line to a joke.

In the case of the Word bug, there is at least the consolation that Word is hardly an enterprise server application, as pointed out by Microsoft's David LeBlanc. In his analysis, crashing an application, in a way that you are "reasonably certain" it won't be exploitable, is a good thing. And he points out that you need to be absolutely certain you can safely return to code execution after catching an exception, and that triggering a crash may be the best way to do that.

Of course, in this case, the flaw is in the code that, um, loads a document. If the .docx parser, which is for a new file format, has so much code in it that wasn't designed for exception handling, it should be clear to even the most casual observer that there can be no reasonable expectation of a lack of exploitable bugs. This is really, really sad.

For IIS, we are in a different realm entirely. IIS is billed as an enterprise class Web server, suitable for all sorts of Web applications. The bug discovered finds the hit highlighting feature of IIS 5 relies only on ACL-based security, not on any sort of Web-server mechanisms (NTLM/basic authentication, IP restrictions).

The proposed solution? Upgrade to IIS 6 or better. Of course such an upgrade would likely involve an upgrade of server OS, testing of all Web server code on the new version, and a tremendous amount of pain and suffering for IT staff.

Naturally, a reasonable argument can be made that this work is inevitable, and that since IIS 6 has been out for several years now, it's about time to upgrade anyway.

The real problem here, however, isn't in the proposed solution. If Microsoft chooses to stop supporting IIS 5, that is within its rights. The problem is the attitude that a design flaw cannot, by definition, be a security bug.

Let's walk further down this same path. If I intentionally store passwords in plain text, or display a credit card number on the screen, or store users' Social Security numbers in cookies without asking first, then these are somehow not security flaws.

Hasn't Microsoft learned yet? For all the hype about Trustworthy Computing, the company sure don't seem like it understands much, or that the people providing the software have to be worthy of our trust.

— Nathan Spande has implemented security in medical systems during the dotcom boom and bust, and suffered through federal government security implementations. Special to Dark Reading.

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/9/2020
Omdia Research Launches Page on Dark Reading
Tim Wilson, Editor in Chief, Dark Reading 7/9/2020
Mobile App Fraud Jumped in Q1 as Attackers Pivot from Browsers
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  7/10/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15105
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Django Two-Factor Authentication before 1.12, stores the user's password in clear text in the user session (base64-encoded). The password is stored in the session when the user submits their username and password, and is removed once they complete authentication by entering a two-factor authenticati...
CVE-2020-11061
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
In Bareos Director less than or equal to 16.2.10, 17.2.9, 18.2.8, and 19.2.7, a heap overflow allows a malicious client to corrupt the director's memory via oversized digest strings sent during initialization of a verify job. Disabling verify jobs mitigates the problem. This issue is also patched in...
CVE-2020-4042
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Bareos before version 19.2.8 and earlier allows a malicious client to communicate with the director without knowledge of the shared secret if the director allows client initiated connection and connects to the client itself. The malicious client can replay the Bareos director's cram-md5 challenge to...
CVE-2020-11081
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
osquery before version 4.4.0 enables a priviledge escalation vulnerability. If a Window system is configured with a PATH that contains a user-writable directory then a local user may write a zlib1.dll DLL, which osquery will attempt to load. Since osquery runs with elevated privileges this enables l...
CVE-2020-6114
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
An exploitable SQL injection vulnerability exists in the Admin Reports functionality of Glacies IceHRM v26.6.0.OS (Commit bb274de1751ffb9d09482fd2538f9950a94c510a) . A specially crafted HTTP request can cause SQL injection. An attacker can make an authenticated HTTP request to trigger this vulnerabi...