Feeds

YouTube 'riddled with 40-plus security vulnerabilities'

Faced with ultimatum, Google finally responds

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.