Feeds

McAfee website visited by plague of security locusts

Eradication proves difficult

Remote control for virtualized desktops

McAfee's website has been has been hit by at least three nasty bugs that left its customers susceptible to phishing and other types of scams. At least one remained unfixed at time of writing, more than 24 hours after it was first disclosed.

The most serious vulnerability, ironically enough, affected McAfee Secure, a service that certifies the security of sites that conduct ecommerce and other sensitive transactions. Mike Bailey of the Skeptikal.org blog found the site suffered from a CSRF, or cross-site request forgery, that could have allowed attackers to take control of customer accounts.

McAfee has already fixed the bug, but during the five weeks that Bailey monitored it, the site continued to bear the McAfee Security logo, raising questions about just how valuable such a mark is. McAfee Secure, after all, is designed to pinpoint precisely these types of vulnerabilities.

It also shines a bright light on the processes McAfee takes to ensure its websites are free of such hazards. According to Bailey, the vulnerable application was not designed with the benefit of an SDL, or secure development lifecycle, which builds products from scratch to make sure they follow security best practices. He also said that prior to the bug being reported, McAfee "had never performed a full code review for web vulnerabilities."

McAfee spokesman Joris Evers said he didn't know whether the application followed an SDL, but in any event, he said the company follows strict practices to make sure its sites are safe.

"Obviously, we have processes in place that check our websites for vulnerabilities, and unfortunately, it appears a couple slipped through. We will look at the processes we have to make sure that if they're broken, they get fixed."

Bailey's report coincided with the discovery of a separate vulnerability on a part of McAfee's website that handles customer rebates. Lance James, co-founder of Secure Science Corporation and author of Phishing Exposed, created a proof-of-concept link that showed how phishers could use the vulnerability to create authentic-looking spoof pages that bear McAfee's domain name and secure sockets layer certificate while directing visitors to pages that try to steal their personal information.

The vulnerability was publicly disclosed on Monday, but at time of writing, more than 24 hours later, the hole remained unpatched.

Evers, the McAfee spokesman, said the company was "very close" to squashing the bug.

A separate batch of bugs in McAfee's website were reported late last week by an independent security group that goes by the name Team Elite.

Of course, no website or software is free of security bugs, but the issue here goes beyond that. First, consider the sheer number and then remember that McAfee is a security company, so the bar for the company is higher. Second, it's time McAfee adopted comprehensive SDLs for its products. That would go a lot farther than a logo in ensuring its considerable base of customers is secure. ®

Update

On late Tuesday, McAfee took the unfixed part of its website offline while the vulnerability was being repaired.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.