Major MS Web Server security hole exposed, plugged

Bug-fix terrorism? Whatever next?

Security outfit eEye has roused Microsoft's ire and garnered itself some cheap publicity by going public with information on what it says is a serious security flaw in Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) 4.0. The move hasn't helped the company's relationship with Microsoft any, but it seems to have triggered the appearance of a swift patch, full fix to follow. According to eEye the flaw allows arbitrary code to be run on any web server running IIS 4.0, and by using a buffer overflow bug in the software attackers can remotely execute code to enable access to all data on the server." So it's a serious one, although Microsoft says it hasn't had any reports of the security hole being used so far. eEye accuses Microsoft of failing to give the problem the attention it deserved. The company claims to have hassled MS for days, but "after the fifth day of reporting the bug to Microsoft, they stopped responding to our emails." So the company went public with the problem three days later, as an attempt to force Microsoft's hand. Microsoft swiftly posted a patch, but accuses eEye of irresponsibility in publicising a problem before a fix had been found. There's some justification in that, but there's also some in the view that being able to announce "we've found a hole, but we fixed it" is better than having to confirm "Yike, there's a huge security hole in our product." ®

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