MS firewall is holier than the Pope

Easy DoS it for hackers

Updated Microsoft's much vaunted first security product has become the subject of three separate security problems.

Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) server 2000, which was positioned by Microsoft as a credible alternative to corporate firewalls, has become the subject of two denial of service and one cross site scripting flaws.

First up, it's been discovered that a memory leak flaw in the H.323 service, which supports the transmission of voice-over-IP traffic through the firewall, can be used to disrupt communication across an ISA server if a particular type of malformed H.323 data is repeatedly sent.

Another route to a denial of service is through a memory leak bug with the proxy service ISA server supports. Only a user within a firm's own trusted network can exploit the problem, but it's probably the easiest bug to exploit.

Lastly it's been discovered that the error page ISA server generates in response to a failed request for a Web page can in certain circumstances give up any cookies that a site has written to the user's machine. This problem, which looks to us to require a great deal of guesswork on the point of a hacker to exploit, arises because of a cross site scripting bug.

Microsoft has issued an alert, which explains these problems in detail and how to get a single patch which we're told addresses all three of these flaws.

Along with almost everybody else who takes an interest in the security market we've long lamented Microsoft's consistent failure to build security into its products. Microsoft's security gurus are voices in the wilderness and their arguments will not be taken on board until Microsoft's woeful security efforts affect sales.

In short, Microsoft is no more able to build secure products than England's cricket team is able to withstand the bowling of Australia's bowlers.

If you think that's unfair to Microsoft then bear in mind that its had to pull back claims that features in its upcoming Windows XP OS match the protection offered by corporate firewalls.

Associated Press reports that Microsoft pulled a promotional Web site after Redmond realised its architecture couldn't support the claims in its marketecture. ®

Update

Offered odds of 25-1 against this morning, England's cricketers scored 315 runs in their second innings at Headingley today to clinch a morale-boosting victory. They still trail Australia 3-1 and have already lost the Ashes series but their performance does make by metaphor between Microsoft's security and English cricketers look a bit silly. I guess I've been hit by the curse of the commentators.

External Links

ISA Server memory leak and DoS problems
Microsoft withdraws Windows XP security claim

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