Feeds

YouTube 'riddled with 40-plus security vulnerabilities'

Faced with ultimatum, Google finally responds

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
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
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.