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The FBI has teamed up with the industry experts to formulate a list of the 20 most important Internet security vulnerabilities.

Acting as a resource to show which security holes of common platforms should be prioritised, the list covers general vulnerabilities, as well as bugs specifically affecting Windows and Unix boxes. A previous chart covered 10 vulnerabilities and the latest run-down expands and updates that list, which is now over a year old.

The rational for producing a check list is that system administrators have reported they had not corrected many known security flaws because they simply did not know which vulnerabilities were most dangerous, and were too busy to correct them all. Vulnerability scanners search for up to 800 vulnerabilities "blunting the focus" of sys admins.

The FBI say its list, compiled with the help of the System Administration, Networking, and Security (SANS) Institute, is valuable because the majority of successful hack attacks can be traced back to exploiting problems highlighted by its list.

"For instance, system compromises in the Solar Sunrise Pentagon hacking incident and the easy and rapid spread of the Code Red and Nimda worms can be traced to exploitation of unpatched vulnerabilities on this list," SANS said in a statement on the subject.

"These few software vulnerabilities account for the majority of successful attacks, simply because attackers are opportunistic – taking the easiest and most convenient route." ®

  1. Top general vulnerabilities
  2. Default installs of operating systems and applications
  3. Accounts with No Passwords or Weak Passwords
  4. Non-existent or Incomplete Backups
  5. Large number of open ports
  6. Not filtering packets for correct incoming and outgoing addresses
  7. Non-existent or incomplete logging
  8. Vulnerable CGI Programs
  1. Top Windows vulnerabilities
  2. Unicode Vulnerability (Web Server folder traversal)
  3. ISAPI extension buffer overflows
  4. IIS RDS exploit (Microsoft Remote Data Services)
  5. NETBIOS - unprotected Windows networking shares
  6. Information leakage via null session connections
  7. Weak hashing in SAM (LAN Manager hash)
  1. Top Unix system vulnerabilities
  2. Buffer overflows in RPC services
  3. Sendmail vulnerabilities
  4. BIND weaknesses
  5. Remote commands
  6. LPD (remote print protocol daemon)
  7. sadmind and mountd
  8. Default Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) strings

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Top 20 security vulnerabilities

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