Feeds

McAfee website visited by plague of security locusts

Eradication proves difficult

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.