MCPMag.com

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.

Security Advisor

Microsoft Kicks Chinese Security Firm Out of Friendship Club

Plus: PHP script error gets a security update for faulty security update, 10 security mistakes you're still making.

Microsoft doesn't like it when you divulge information that you shouldn't be divulging. Especially if it puts millions of users in harm's way of hackers' nasty tricks.

Remember when Microsoft proof-of-concept code on a nasty RDP exploit made it online ahead of the fix? If not, here's the original story from March.

Microsoft wasn't going to take this breach of trust laying down and vowed to find the culprit responsible. Apparently, it has.

In a Microsoft Security Response Center blog, the company announced that the leak came from China-based Hangzhou DPTech Technologies Co., and that the guilty company's services would no longer be needed in the Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP).

Also, Microsoft will be changing the secret handshake that allows entry into the clubhouse.

"Additionally, starting with our May release, we strengthened existing controls and took actions to better protect our information," said Yunsun Wee, director of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing. "We believe that these enhancements will better protect our information, while furthering customer protection by aiding partners developing active protections."

I guess that means little information was provided to Hangzhou DPTech Technologies on May's seven security bulletin items (that's how you do a seamless transition!).

And since someone brought it up, this month's security update, released yesterday, combats quite a few remote code execution flaws -- five of the seven bulletins battle this type of exploit.

PHP Scripting Flaw Shines Light on Other Flaws
PHP scripting language can be found in just about every Web site out there. So it's a big deal when an exploit is discovered that could allow attackers to steal site source code and load up a target with malware.

A big deal, but not the end of the world. As long as there's software, hardware and the like designed by humans, there's going to be the occasional hole. However, there are a couple of factors surrounding this specific hole that's a bit troublesome.

First is on the nature of how this hole was discovered. Not by a cunning code genius, but straight from the source: the PHP Group. Apparently there was an error with the group's disclosure process, and the reported vulnerability, which was suppose to stay hidden, was automatically published to its online comment section. 

The group then rushed to get a fix out as quickly as possible, and on May 3 an update was released. End of problem, right?

"The security emergency release to fix the PHP CGI RCE (that was tested for days...) does not fix anything at all," wrote Stefan Esser, creator of the Suhosin PHP security extension.

Guess not.

The group did release a fix for its fix late yesterday evening. I have a feeling that the PHP Group is crossing its fingers that this stops the recent string of bad news.

Does it worry anybody else that for a scripting language that is found under the hood of millions of Web sites out there, its creators are sure having a lot of code and scripting errors?

Goofus Uses Simple Passwords, Gallant Uses a Complex Mix of Letters and Numbers
Redmond's Brien Posey has a great feature in this month's issue of the magazine in which he presents 10 common security mistakes made by IT pros. Some of them include weak password policy, overly restrictive admin account access and forgetting when security certificates expire.

Looking over his list, nothing here is earth shattering, and it's a list of errors we've all been warned about on numerous occasions. However, if these security blunders weren't still taking place, there would be no purpose for the reminder.

Take a few minutes to brush up on some security basics that you should always be doing (but still don't). And got any basic goofs that didn't make Posey's list? Send them my way at cpaoli@1105media.com.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

comments powered by Disqus