Feeds

Microsoft charts security vuln MAPP

More transparency, better protection

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Microsoft has announced plans to share additional details about security vulnerabilities in its products in an attempt to prevent attackers from exploiting them before patches are released to its customers.

Under one initiative dubbed the Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP), Redmond will provide security providers with detailed information about upcoming updates. The disclosures will include instructions on how to reproduce and exploit the vulnerabilities, and are designed to help partners craft signatures for antivirus and intrusion prevention systems.

Microsoft also unveiled a new exploitability index, which will help customers gauge the likelihood of a vulnerability actually harming them. The idea is to help customers decide which patches should be installed right away and which ones can be applied later. It will be included with Microsoft's monthly security bulletin release, which comes out the second Tuesday of each month. Both MAPP and the exploitability index will debut in October.

After years spent as the poster child for lax security practices, Microsoft began getting serious about security about six years ago. The new disclosure programs are designed to respond to a changing threat landscape, in which exploits spread quicker. Most companies - and Apple is as good an example as any - are reluctant to discuss details about vulnerabilities in their products beyond a canned release. Some argue that providing sensitive information only makes it easier for black hat hackers to exploit the weaknesses. Microsoft seems to recognize that the bad guys already have plenty of insight into the vulnerabilities and the only way to level the field is to make sure the good guys have them as well.

MAPP is only open to companies that offer a commercial product to Microsoft customers against network- or host-based attacks. Authors of attack kits are not eligible. Companies interested in participating in MAPP will have to enroll by emailing mapp@microsoft.com. The restrictions on who gets the information makes sense, given the potential for abuse should it fall into the wrong hands.

The exploitability index will contain labels assigned to each vulnerability, including "consistent exploit code likely," "inconsistent exploit code likely" and "functioning exploit code unlikely," which would translate into higher, medium and lower priority. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.