Monthly Archives: July, 2008

OSVDB in Vegas…..

The OSVDB team will definitely be in Vegas this year. If you would like to meet up then please drop a line to and let us know. Typically we organize an OSVDB dinner but we have been a little slack in organizing it this year! If you are interested let us know and we will see what we can make happen…

Look forward to seeing everyone soon…

OSF To Maintain’s Data Loss Database

The Open Security Foundation (OSF) is pleased to announce that the DataLossDB (also known as the Data Loss Database – Open Source (DLDOS) currently run by will be formally maintained as an ongoing project under the OSF umbrella organization as of July 15, 2008.’s Data Loss project, which was originally conceptualized in 2001 and has been maintained since July 2005, introduced DLDOS to the public in September of 2006. The project’s core mission is to track the loss or theft of personally identifying information not just from the United States, but across the world. As of June 4, 2008, DataLossDB contains information on over 1,000 breaches of personal identifying information covering over 330 million records.

DataLossDB has become a recognized leader in the categorization of dataloss incidents over the past several years. In an effort to build off the current success and further enhance the project, the new relationship with OSF provides opportunities for growth, an improved data set, and expanded community involvement. “We’ve worked hard to research, gather, and make this data open to the public,” says Kelly Todd, one of the project leaders for DataLossDB. “Hopefully, the migration to OSF will lead to more community participation, public awareness, and consumer advocacy by providing an open forum for submitting information.”

The Open Security Foundation’s DataLossDB will be free for download and use in non-profit work and research. The new website launch ( builds off of the current data set and provides an extensive list of new features. DataLossDB has attained rapid success due to a core group of volunteers who have populated and maintained the database. However, the new system will provide an open framework that allows the community to get involved and enhance the project. “For a data set as dynamic as this, it made sense to build it into a more user-driven format.”, states David Shettler, the lead developer for the Open Security Foundation. “With the release of this new site, the project can now be fed by anyone, from data loss victims to researchers”.

The DataLossDB’s mail list will continue to be available to over 1,500 current subscribers and will accept new subscriptions under the banner until a migration to OSF has been completed. RSS feeds will also be available under the OSF banner for timely alerts about new and updated data loss events. We expect this transition to be completed in the coming months without impact to current subscribers.

Open Security Foundation’s DataLossDB is an open source community project that strives to provide a clear understanding of data loss issues and needs your support. Assistance can be provided through database updates, project leadership, word-of-mouth promotion, financial donations, and sponsorship to assist with the ongoing maintenance of the project. “The DataLossDB project provides a critical service that enables detailed analysis on the true impact of data loss.”, says Jake Kouns. “The Open Security Foundation is in a perfect position to support the expansion of the DataLossDB project.” Any entities interested in licensing the database for commercial ventures are encouraged to contact OSF.

The Black Market Code Industry

Adam Penenberg wrote an article titled “The Black Market Code Industry” for FastCompany in which he details his research of two HP employees that actively sold exploit code in their spare time, at least one selling exploits in HP’s own software. According to the article, HP knew about one of the employees at the time of the article and were investigating. While a neat article and fun read, it left me with a lot more questions that I hope get answered at some point (how about a ‘Part 2’ Adam?).

  1. Does Rigano still work for HP now that the article has been out a week?
  2. Did either individual have access to source code to make their exploit writing easier? If so, did they have access to edit source code in any capacity (e.g. backdoors, adding vulnerable code)?
  3. Did Rigano actually sell his exploits? If so, to who and for how much? Checking the Full-Disclosure list archives, he appears to have had exploits for IIS 6.0, Firefox 2.x, MSIE 7, SAP, Apache, Microsoft Office and more.
  4. If Rigano did sell vulnerabilities, did he vette his buyers or could he have sold them to ‘enemy’ nations or hostile countries (relative I know)?
  5. Why is the FBI investigating a France based employee of HP?
  6. Is t0t0 a current employee of HP? If not, did he leave for his exploit selling activities? The article suggests that HP is aware of one of the two sellers. What do they have to say about this article now?

Stop using Google, it’s dangerous!

Reported Phishing/Vulnerable Site! The web site has been reported as a vulnerable site that may pose a threat to your web browsing. Vulnerable sites do not prioritize security and don’t care about their users and customers. These sites may pose a risk to you, exploit the trust between you and their site and may cause your computer to perform actions you did not approve.

To carry on the scary wording in the style of others; Some web sites are high profile and may seem trustworthy, but you shouldn’t trust them at all. They are full of buggy code, don’t care about protecting their users (that’s you!) and generally suck. Despite using their site as a virtual crutch, you should clearly stay away from them unless it is to send nasty mails or mock them. Again, do not trust Google’s web sites or search engine, because they have been known to be vulnerable. What assholes!

On a more serious note, if anyone at Google is reading this, I hope you pass this on to the jackasses that develop Google Toolbar or whatever hook they use to integrate with Firefox. Not only is it worse than malware (every piece of software tries to get me to install it), it uses misleading wording to scare customers from visiting perfectly safe and innocent web sites (namely this blog). While it caters to morons, it doesn’t give users a real opportunity to learn why a site was ‘blocked’ other than vague wording.

My only guess as to why this warning occurs was an incident earlier this year, in which the OSVDB blog fell victim to a zero-day exploit in WordPress. I blogged about the incident to make our readers aware of the incident and clear up any confusion. I assume that Google’s crawl of the this blog noted the script code and subsequently declared us an “attack site”, even though that is hardly the case.

The discouraging part is the “diagnostic page” says that Google visited ONE page in the last 90 days and 0 of those pages resulted in malicious software being downloaded. Google, if you are going to play Lord of the Browser, visit more than one page before you make that determination. To do anything less is a disservice to your users and a fast way to miss obvious malware. The third question mentions “intermediary” which is technically accurate as far as the script code that was injected in a few blog posts. However, the big red warning says nothing about ‘intermediary’ and explicitly labels us as some kind of malware hosting site with the intent of attacking people. That is libelous to say the least. Under ‘How did this happen’, Google mentions that sometimes third parties can inject such code, but doesn’t take the time to help clear this up. If the previous script injection issue is the cause of this, the fact that the script loaded content from a third party domain (in China no less) should be a good indication that WE did not host the malware. Sure, most users are dumb as a rock, but the few smart cookies that click for details should get just that.. details.

What Google Toolbar users may see when visiting this blog:


Finally, I opened the blog post calling Google’s search engine a threat, and I was serious. Google has a track record of vulnerabilities far worse than OSVDB does. Not only in their popular search engine, but their various products too. Besides, the mechanism for reporting potentially dangerous sites is a bit dubious to say the least.

Update: Ends up, we had another iframe injection into one of our posts (which is now removed), and the hunt for how this is happening now begins. That said, while Google’s warning that this site is “dangerous” may have been accurate, their mechanism for warning users in a vague manner (as shown in the image linked off ‘vague warning’) and not warning the site administrator is far from friendly. I can see that Google doesn’t care about warning sites of issues before warning the public, a far cry from ‘responsible disclosure’, something that Google pretends to care about:

This process of notifying a vendor before publicly releasing information is an industry-standard best practice known as responsible disclosure. Responsible disclosure is important to the ecology of the Internet. It allows companies like Google to keep users safe by fixing vulnerabilities and resolving security concerns before they are brought to the attention of the bad guys. We strongly encourage anyone who is interested in researching and reporting security issues to observe the simple courtesies and protocols of responsible disclosure.

Next time OSVDB is informed of a vulnerability that impacts Google products or services, I sure hope it doesn’t slip our mind to contact them. Perhaps the apparent race condition between the vague wording and the not-so-vague wording that users may see constitutes a bug. If they can read this blog, they can see the bug in action and then contact us if they have more questions.

Update 2: Google apparently tried to send mail to our domain: From: Google Search Quality

VDBs Devolving?

I’m big on Vulnerability Database (VDB) evolution. I tend to harp on them for not adding features, not making the data more accessible and generally doing the exact same thing they did ten years ago. While the target of my ire is typically functionality or usability, today it is about a little more.

Last night I wanted to check for details on a CVE entry that was rather vague and had a single reference to BID. This is fairly common in the VDB world as one database will add an entry and not provide a link to the source of the data (Secunia and BID primarily). As luck would have it, BID was down. Almost twelve hours later and their VDB is still down. What annoys me is that while they aren’t delivering vulnerability information, they sure are delivering advertisements. Why can’t VDBs get the same dedication and resources that ad farms get?


Next, I wanted to find out if the other VDBs created an entry for the latest OpenBSD flap yet, so I went to X-force which is a pretty reliable database. Much to my dismay, it appears that the ‘advanced’ search is now gone. While it wasn’t extremely powerful, it let you do some basic sorting that was immensely helpful in finding what you need. I have mail out to them asking for confirmation that it is indeed gone versus a web geek error. I certainly hope it is the latter…

Update: Over 24 hours later, the BID database is finally available again. ISS has not replied to at least two mails from VDB managers asking about the missing advanced search feature.


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