Feeds

YouTube 'riddled with 40-plus security vulnerabilities'

Faced with ultimatum, Google finally responds

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Google researchers have at last responded to a hacker who says he's uncovered more than 40 YouTube flaws that put users at risk.

Christian Matthies, says he's been trying to get the attention of Google bug squashers for the past several months, but was unsuccessful in getting a single reply to his emails warning of the vulnerabilities. That changed this week, a few days after he posted an ultimatum effectively vowing to disclose the bugs publicly if Google didn't give him some acknowledgment of the problems.

The vast majority of the vulnerabilities are of the cross site scripting (XSS) variety, in which hackers are able to inject unauthorized code by making it appear as if it's hosted by the website being targeted. Many of the flaws make it possible for an attacker to infect a user's profile with a quick-spreading worm that could also steal login credentials. In recent weeks, both Googleand Yahoo! have been tripped up by serious XSS errors that put the privacy of millions of their users at risk.

And XSS errors aren't the only threat lurking on YouTube, according to California firm Secure Computing. It is warning that a fake video file containing the Zlob Trojan has been planted on the video-sharing site that, if selected, bombards infected users with ads and could also be used to upload other forms of malware onto compromised PCs.

"Having security holes is one thing but not responding to vulnerability reports is totally unacceptable and certainly not conform to your Commitment to data security," Matthies wrote late last week. "Taking that into account I'm going to have one last try and give you two weeks from now to contact me. If you don't, I am obliged to disclose all vulnerabilities in public."

Sure enough, Google responded earlier this week, leaving Matthies confident that the security team plans to address the issues in the near future, the hacker said in an email.

Google declined to comment on any discussions it has had with Matthies except to say, very generally, that the search king encourages "responsible disclosure practices". We wanted to know how Google's purported delay of several months in responding to Matthies helped to foster such disclosure. After all, aren't researchers more likely to go public if they feel like their private communications are being blown off? Google wouldn't say, nor would it discuss the channels it has in place for allowing researchers to report vulnerabilities.

Matthies wanted to emphasize he was never out to harm YouTube's reputation with his campaign. "However putting a little bit of pressure on them (and by that all other companies who read it) is a good idea," he said. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
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?
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
'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
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
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.