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Showing posts from May, 2005

Device Drivers: a hidden worm threat?

One of the more interesting security articles of late, from Security Focus, discusses the potential for device drivers to be exploited, due to many lurking buffer overflow defects. The article discusses Windows and Linux as examples, although presumably any platform which depends upon many 3rd party device drivers could be subject to the same issues. Drivers that listen on a network, such as network card drivers, would of course be vulnerable to remote exploits. People tend to think of device drivers as part of "the system", and the article points out that many if not most of the drivers people use are created by 3rd parties, not by the vendor of the operating system, and typically not by the core kernel developers. The article mentions that the authors of device drivers tend to have wildly varying skill levels, and that many drivers amongst a sample inspected appear not to be properly reviewed for security implicati…

The Next Big Worm

A systems administrator at a University pondered today, "We haven't seen a really big outbreak for a few months, where are the big worms these days, like Sasser and Blaster? Aren't there any big security holes left to exploit?" Oh, yes. Microsoft releases patches about once a month, and at any given time there are usually a few serious defects that are known, not widely patched, and remotely exploitable. So what's the deal? Worm authorship seems to be more about building and maintaining botnets for revenue generating spam networks, and mining for various data like email addresses, account names and passwords, and the like. Giant worm outbreaks that infect millions of machines work against the aims of this organized criminal activity. Widespread outbreaks get the instant attention of company management, systems administrators, and AntiVirus vendors worldwide. Many small outbreaks, exploiting older known defects don't attract so much attention and serve…