This blog entry is probably worth many pages of ranting, examining and dissecting the anatomy of a 0-day panic and the resulting fallout. Since this tends to happen more often than some of us care to stomach, I’ll touch on the major points and be liberal in pointing fingers. If you receive the “wag of my finger“, stop being part of the problem and wise up.
I blinked and missed someone disclosing that there was a dreaded 0-day vulnerability in Adobe Flash Player and that it was a big threat. Apparently Symantec noticed that evil Chinese sites were exploiting Flash and the current 18.104.22.168 could be successfully exploited. When pressed for details, Symantec backtracked and said that they were wrong and it appeared to be the same exploit as previously disclosed by Mark Dowd (CVE-2007-0071). Bad Symantec, poor research.
To make matters worse, Symantec then further claimed that even though it was an old issue, the “in-the-wild exploit was effective against stand-alone versions of Flash Player 22.214.171.124” and that not all versions had been patched correctly. Way to save face Ben Greenbaum of Symantec!! Oh wait, today he changed his mind and said that Symantec’s claims were based on erroneous conclusions and that the behavior of Flash on Linux they were observing was indeed intended by Adobe and not proof it was vulnerable. To make matters worse, Symantec researchers downloaded the “latest” Flash and found it “vulnerable”, which lead to their sky-is-falling panic. Shortly after, they realized that they didn’t download all of the security patches and had been exploiting a known vulnerable version of Flash. Oops?
Two rounds of hype-driven 0-day threat warnings, and no real new threat. Whew, hopefully Symantec raised their THREATCON to blood red or whatever is appropriate for such 0-day threats. You do monitor that don’t you?
This fiasco lead many news outlets and vendors to issue warnings about the new 0-day threat. Secunia, SecurityFocus/BID, SecurityTracker, CERT, and FrSIRT all released new warnings and created entries in their respective databases as a result. In the VDB world, this is a royal pain-in-the-ass to deal with. Secunia ‘revoked’ their entry, BID ‘retired’ their entry, SecurityTracker flaged theirs ‘duplicate entry’, FrSIRT ‘revoked’ their entry and CERT still has it listed.
Fortunately for OSVDB, we were a few hours behind the rest and noticed the discrepancies and waited for more information. Unfortunately, the rest of the world, including ALL of the VDBs and news outlets listed above (and others) failed miserably in using common sense and a government funded resource to better prevent this kind of problem. As of this posting, Secunia, BID, SecurityTracker, FrSIRT, CERT, Dancho, ComputerWorld and eWeek still don’t link to the CVE ID for the vulnerability. Only Adobe’s updated blog entry actually references CVE-2007-0071 (but doesn’t link to it). Secunia links to a previous ID that has seven CVEs associated with it. The original CVE was assigned 2007-01-04 and published around 2008-04-08, a month and a half prior to this mess.
VDBs, shame on you for adding to the confusion. Symantec, shame on you for crying 0-day when your own engineers screwed up badly. Shame on everyone for not clearing it up fully by linking to the correct CVE entry or their own previous entries.
Before any of you receiving a “wave of the finger” bitch, consider the real world impact of your actions. In this case, only 12 MILLION people ended up seeing a vague warning when they loaded their favorite game. Blizzard included the correct fix information which was the same as a month or more before, but the sudden ‘security alert’ (that is extremely rare) only prompted their customers to wonder, possibly panic and definitely kill some demons as a result.
Who is the top vulnerability researcher? Who has discovered the most computer security vulnerabilities? Which country has the most researchers and publishes the most vulnerabilities? Who has discovered the most critical vulnerabilities?
From looking at OSVDB here are the top 12 researchers in terms of volume:
Rank / Creditee / # Vulns
- r0t 770
- Lostmon Lords 241
- rgod 239
- Aliaksandr Hartsuyeu 201
- Kacper 199
- James Bercegay 180
- luny 142
- Diabolic Crab 139
- Janek Vind “waraxe” 136
- JeiAr 117
- Dedi Dwianto 86
- M.Hasran Addahroni 79
Take a look at the other OSVDB Browse categories and note you can even click on a Creditee’s name and see all of the vulnerabilities that they have discovered here: http://osvdb.org/browse
Of course our statistics are based off of the content in OSVDB and we need your help to provide better statistics. If you are a researcher, it would help if you could take the time to create an OSVDB account and update the vulnerabilities that you have discovered!
You can signup for an OSVDB account here: https://osvdb.org/account/signup
Here is a quick overview:
- Search for your vulnerabilities at http://osvdb.org/search/advsearch
- Click on your vuln, then click “Edit Vulnerability” -Click the Credits menu item, if credit is missing click “Toggle Add Author…”
- You name may already be in the database, as you type it will search OSVDB to see if your information is there. If so, select and click “Add Author”.
- Once you add the creditee information you can update your information or if your name is not there you can add it as a new creditee.
Rinse and repeat!
Layered Technologies has provided hosting for the OSVDB production and development servers since October 2007 and continues to support the project. The new servers have been a critical contributing factor to the success and deployment of OSVDB 2.0. In fact, OSVDB 2.0 and the new services that we are now offering have been more resource intensive than we originally thought and we must upgrade.
On Friday, May 16th at 9pm EST we will be taking the OSVDB server offline. The outage should be minimal and service will be restored as soon as possible.
We would like to take a moment to thank Jeremy Suo-Anttila for his assistance and support of the OSVDB project. If you are interested in high quality but affordable hosting with very responsive support we recommend that you contact Layered Technologies.