Holy 0day Batman!

What started as a quiet week definitely got a little more interesting yesterday as Microsoft released an out-of-band patch for a critical vulnerability affecting most versions of Windows. It’s been a while since MS had to push out an emergency fix like this, and boy was it a whacky vulnerability. For those of you who haven’t kept up on it, it is a flaw in the RPC service that allows remote code execution without authentication. What’s really interesting is that this flaw is in a part of the code base that was patched already for a very similar problem.

What’s even more interesting is that this was discovered due to active exploits in the wild. I’ve been known to be a little persnickety about definitions, and I’ve never liked that we call all unpatched vulnerabilities zero-days. In my book, a true 0day is a vulnerability that is being actively exploited but we don’t know about it. The bad guys have information we don’t and are using it against us. When the details are public, but no patch is available, I just consider that an unpatched vulnerability. But who am I to say- I still consider hackers good guys.

On a totally different note, I think I found a minor security flaw in the RSA Conference session submission system. It appears that if you submit a session and add a speaker, you can overwrite some of the attributes of that speaker if they are already in the system. Minor, but annoying since I was submitted for something like 10 sessions and part of my bio kept changing while I was submitting my own stuff.

On that note, it’s time to head off and start decorating for our annual Evilsquirrel Halloween Party. We have about 13 tubs of decorations we’ve collected since my old roommates and I started holding parties around 1995 or so. I even have homemade animatronics I built using microcontrollers and other geeky stuff.

Yeah, I fear for my impending children too, but the neighborhood kids love us. At least the ones who don’t pee themselves when the motion sensor kicks off. Webcasts, Podcasts, and Conferences:

Favorite Securosis Posts:

  • Rich: Your Simple Guide to Endpoint Encryption. I’ve been writing a lot about market issues lately, and I really enjoy it when I can give out practical advice.
  • Adrian: WAF vs. Secure Code vs. Dead Fish. Look folks, we’re far too polarized politically in this country to fight out over which of these things solves our problem better, when both are equally good and bad.

Favorite Outside Posts:

  • Adrian: Rsnake captures the everyman experience and puts the fun back into Internet browsing. I mean, can’t we all just get along?
  • Rich: Andy reminds us what it’s like to work in the real world. Researchers, analysts, and vendors often forget what it’s like to be in the trenches, even though most of us have been there. I think it’s refreshing to read about Andy’s pain. Er… maybe that wasn’t the best way to say that.

Top News:

Blog Comment of the Week:

Windexh8er’s comment on the Microsoft vulnerability post:

So even though this sort of thing is less common as SDLs mature further (honestly Microsoft is doing a much better job in this space — but legacy code that’s in the OS is still there). This just goes back to the position wherein do corporations really need client side processing? Some may have valid reasoning (i.e. graphics / architecture / modeling / etc), but for the majority of the end users out there in corporate America they really don’t need a fully functional end system. In a Microsoft environment I’d like to see the next iteration of OS go to stripped down systems like you can leverage in Server2k8 – obviously most “work” today from a variety of different locations and the laptop has overwhelmingly displaced the standard desktop workstation for day to day business. With that respect the standard installation should be minimalistic at best. Stripped stack, host based filtering (in and out), no user rights with the exception of approved applications and then strictly managed socket / protocol connections to approved devices. Give them what they need through established connections. At that rate client processing goes way down and visibility and control sky rockets. It’s far too much for any given internal IT / IS departments to manage numerous deployed apps and multiple desktop configurations in the state business as usual is running today. Everyone I know has a corporate laptop (these are big businesses right) but all of these users can pretty much all connect to outside networks and do casual computing – even if it’s restricted, it’s still wide open enough to let the user infect themselves unknowingly. I’d love to do a formal PoC, like this, with one of my large clients. Cost savings alone over the course of 5 years after implementation would be reason enough to justify a path like this. I realize it’s nothing ground breaking, but the design and architecture down to the n-th degree would make it truly stand out as unique and original in today’s networks.