Feeds

Legal goons threaten researcher for reporting security bug

When vuln disclosures are outlawed...

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A German software company has threatened legal action against a security researcher who privately reported a critical vulnerability in one of its programs, Dark Reading reports.

Legal goons from Magix AG sent a nasty gram to a researcher who goes by “Acidgen” after he reported the stack buffer overflow in the company's Music Maker 16. According to the report, Acidgen alerted Magix representatives to the bug in several emails that also included proof-of-concept code that forced the Windows calculator to open, indicating the flaw could be exploited to execute malicious code on a victim's computer.

Acidgen also provided suggestions for fixing the flaw, Dark Reading said. He also told the representatives he planned to disclose vulnerability details publicly once a patch was released.

That's when things got ugly.

“MAGIX does not appreciate that you are intending to publicly release the Exploit and to cause irreparable harm,” a company attorney wrote. “As you maybe [sic] aware it is illegal to release software which is intended to commit computer sabotage (e.g. Sec. 202C I No. 2 German Criminal Law). In addition this announcement together with your offering to have the vulnerability fixed by your company may be considered as an attempted extortion.”

The letter said Magix would “enter into all necessary and appropriate legal steps” and to “inform manufacturers of antivirus software that there might be a new virus based on your code.”

Germany enacted a draconian hacker law in 2007 that also criminalizes the creation or possession of dual-use security tools. ®

Bootnote

Acidgen sent an email and asked to make the following points:

"I didn't ask them if they needed help with patching their vulnerability or creating any kind of fix. I asked if they wanted a fuzzing service. I didn't state 'what' company or how and when. They've just assumed as their strolled by my linkedin, and saw that i have a registred buisniess. Also, they asked me to create the PoC for them."

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
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
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
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
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
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.