Feeds

HP withdraws DMCA threat

Wiser counsel prevails

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Hewlett Packard has climbed down from its threats to use the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to silence a group of security researchers which unearthed a flaw in its Tru64 operating system.

In a statement released yesterday, the firm withdrew threats of using the Act against Snosoft, a loose confederation of security researchers who publicised a serious, and as yet unfixed, buffer overflow bug within the su utility of Tru 64.

HP states that it has verified the vulnerability, details of which, it says, was brought to its attention on July 18 (a date disputed by Snosoft, incidentally), and promises to release a fix for the problem within the next 48 hours.

The computer giant is reluctant to be drawn on its discussion with SnoSoft, however it does say that the reported letter to SnoSoft threatening use of the DMCA against the firm "was not consistent or indicative of HP's policy".

"We can say emphatically that HP will not use the DMCA to stifle research or impede the flow of information that would benefit our customers and improve their system security," the statement, obtained by CNet in response to its earlier exclusive on the story, states.

HP threatened Snosoft with the DMCA and criminal charges earlier this week after one of its members, Phased, posted an exploit for the vulnerability (without permission from the rest of the group). In response to the posting, this Monday HP Veep Kent Ferson fired off a letter warning that the security researchers "could be fined up to $500,000 and imprisoned for up to five years" for its actions.

The warning letter from HP bears out the worst fears of the security industry that the DMCA will be used to stifle legitimate research, following on from the controversial prosecution of Russian programmer Dimitry Sklyarov and ElcomSoft.

Faced with a backlash from developers and activists - and the prospect of plunging itself into a public relations nightmare - HP has backed down, like Adobe before it. At least in this case HP acted swiftly to withdraw its threats, before the Feds got involved... ®

Related Stories

HP invokes DMCA to quash Tru64 bug report

External Links

HP backs off from DMCA threat
Snosoft's response

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.