Feeds

Google geek slammed over XP exploit

Impatient engineer called, but you were out, you f**ker

The essential guide to IT transformation

Google engineer Tavis Ormandy is under fierce fire on security lists this afternoon for releasing code to exploit an unpatched hole in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

The flaw is in XP's Windows Help Centre. In simple terms, Help uses a white list of approved web pages to go to in order to get help information. But a problem with this white list means it is possible to add unsafe URLs to it.

The attack exploits Internet Explorer but will work with other browsers too. It is even easier if Windows Media Player is also in use.

But far more controversial is how this information has been released by Ormandy. The usual protocol is that you tell the company and wait for a fix to be ready for download before telling the world, and hackers, about the existence of the weakness.

Ormandy chose to post the code needed to exploit the hole to an open security mailing list just five days after informing Microsoft.

His action was immediately criticised by Susan Bradley - "not an enterprise customer, but I am a mouthy female"- who wanted to know what he had heard back from Microsoft since 5 June. She suggested he should have spent a little more time getting angry with Microsoft and emailing them before posting the exploit.

Ormandy left a snotty reply explaining he didn't have time to explain disclosure to Bradley but she could research it for herself. The full post is on FullDisclosure here.

Ormandy seems to believe Microsoft, which is not exactly known for the speed of its responses to security (and many other) issues, would never have acted to patch this hole unless he, or someone else, had also provided code to exploit it.

Other observers suggested Ormandy was acting on behalf of his employer to fuel the row between Google and Microsoft. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.