Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Solftware vendors living in the 90's and the big firewall

This post is yet another my software is behind the firewall rant, you can safely skip it because you wont miss a thing :)

I already twitted about this software vulnerability, but reading the vendor response in the advisory I thought I have to give my two cents.

Basically, their response comes to say that (please note the sarcasm):
Our software is not meant to be in Internet and it should be safe behind the big firewall of your organization. Therefore, we do not care if we have a remote buffer overflow that requires no authentication.


To put it into perspective, the software in question is a licensing server used by many vendors  across the board like: Matlab, Simulink, etc.. and widely deployed in universities and other research institutions, which are their main customers.

So, why do I think their response was not appropriated and, perhaps, idiotic?

  • One of the main characteristics of their costumers is the openness of their networks, because they have students/researchers that tend to go around and need to use the licensing software from all over the network. What does it mean? They have no perimeter and the firewall is useless!
  • Since the license server is inside the network and trusted by the costumer, chances are that the software is running with privileges in a server that is part of the windows domain. What does it mean? The vulnerability can be used by an attacker to gain further access to the domain and perhaps gain domain admin. privileges as a side effect.
  • Their answer is so 90's that they let everybody think that they do not care about security and the lack all the skills.
  • Since they lack on security skills, perhaps they also lack on secure coding practices and there are more security vulnerabilities hidden in their software.

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