Feeds

Spurned security researchers form anti-MS collective

There's power in a union

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Updated Security researchers irked by how Microsoft responded to Google engineer Tavis Ormany's public disclosure of a zero-day Windows XP Help Center security bug have banded together to form a group called the Microsoft Spurned Researcher Collective*.

The group is forming a "union" in the belief that together they will be better placed to handle flak from Redmond and elsewhere following the publication of security flaws. A statement, published by The Windows Club blog, explains the Collective's stance.

“Due to hostility toward security researchers, the most recent example being of Tavis Ormandy, a number of us from the industry (and some not from the industry) have come together to form MSRC: the Microsoft-Spurned Researcher Collective," it said. "MSRC will fully disclose vulnerability information discovered in our free time, free from retaliation against us or any inferred employer.”

Last week the researcher published a zero day flaw affecting Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. The unpatched security bug creates a means for hackers to crash affected systems and stems from a security bug in the Windows kernel. Vupen Security, which published an advisory on the flaw but is not part of the collective (Contrary to early versions of this story, Vupen rates the vulnerability only as a moderate risk bug because it doesn't lend itself to remote execution.)

The debate about responsible disclosure of security vulnerabilities is as old as software development. Security researchers argue that by disclosing problems they give end-users a chance to act and put pressure to act on software developers, who might otherwise be tempted to ignore the problem. Software developers (including Oracle, Adobe and many others as well as MS) argue that disclosing vulnerabilities in the absence of a fix imperils users.

To some outside either camp the argument hinges on whether a vulnerability is been actively exploited. The length of time a vendor has had to fix a bug - a period that can sometimes run into months - is also an important factor. ®

* The name of the group is an obvious send-up of Redmond's own Microsoft Security Response Centre.

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
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.