[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 7:58 AM: Although I am in favor of languages that help prevent such nasties as input buffer overruns, this is an excellent point. A sloppy programmer will write sloppy code. Reminds me of an old saying that I heard years ago while studying mechanical engineering: a determined programmer can write a FORTRAN program in ANY language. :-) (Well, notwithstanding FORTRAN's built-in ability of handling complex numbers, but I digress...) Going back over some of my old FORTRAN code, I find that I was writing object-oriented code in FORTRAN. Going over other people's C++ code, I can see that they're trying to make it work like FORTRAN, or QuickBASIC, or something like that. I did some work recently on .NET Security, trying to come up with some examples that would demonstrate how you'd screw it up in code. It's certainly difficult to come up with bad examples that aren't needlessly bone-headed, but when you look at other people's code, you realise that an awful lot of programmers are bone-headed. Buffer overflows can happen in any language, no matter what those languages do to prevent them. Okay, that's a bold statement. I'd better back it up. If you have a string-handling library of any kind, someone's going to come up with a program design that builds a twenty character string for a person's name, putting first name in the first ten characters, and last name in the last ten characters. Eric Smith changes his first name to Navratilova, and he's suddenly listed by the program as Navratilovamith amith - buffer overflow. Sure, it doesn't overflow into the stack, but it overflows into important data. And if you want to go further into insanity, you can manufacture a case where character 11 being lower case causes unwanted code to be executed (no default condition in a 'case' statement, no good error handling, etc). IMHO, the bottom line is that there's no excuse for sloppiness and a strong language can only do so much to prevent the programmer from his/her own sloppiness. The first defence against unsecure coding is to hire and educate your developers in such a way as to exclude the unsecure coding practices. It's not the only defence - but it's the first you're going to need, because if you don't have that, you've got programmers who will flout security prevention measures _because_ they don't understand how to do it properly, or why they're being strong-armed in a particular direction. And on the topic of hiring better programmers, I'm now in my third week as [EMAIL PROTECTED] [But my personal address remains this one] Alun.
[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote: Michael A. Davis wrote: Isn't she missing the point? It is not the source code that is the problem -- it is the developer. Well ofcause you can improve the quality of your code by educating your developers, but you cannot avoid doing code review. Developers are lazy and they will commit errors. More to the point, they are human, and even developers that are not lazy will occasionally make mistakes. Simply finding a committed programmer who understands security will not produce a secure product. Alun. -- Texas Imperial Software | Find us at http://www.wftpd.com or email 1602 Harvest Moon Place | [EMAIL PROTECTED] Cedar Park TX 78613-1419 | WFTPD, WFTPD Pro are Windows FTP servers. Fax/Voice +1(512)258-9858 | Try our NEW client software, WFTPD Explorer.
-Original Message- From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Michal Zalewski Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2004 1:16 PM Uhh, with some new worms, you not only can't execute the rogue directly by just clicking on an attachment, but you need to enter a password to get access to it... you just need a userbase clueless enough to carry out even a fairly complicated action out of curiosity, and some social engineering. As ever, the chief flaw that is exploited by the most successful (in terms of wide spread) viruses is that of human naivete / stupidity. I reckon you'd get a fairly good spread of virus even if you asked people to type the virus code into debug (a tool which, among other things, allows you to directly enter hex codes). The only thing that might slow such a virus down is that many of the people typing it in would get a digit or two wrong. I've long maintained that Unix, Linux et al are not protected so much by technical superiority as by a lack of users - particularly a lack of technically uninformed users. In some cases, too, the protection is that there are less dumb developers. To truly bring Linux down, what's needed is a Visual Basic 1.0 for Linux :-) Alun. -- Texas Imperial Software | Find us at http://www.wftpd.com or email 1602 Harvest Moon Place | [EMAIL PROTECTED] Cedar Park TX 78613-1419 | WFTPD, WFTPD Pro are Windows FTP servers. Fax/Voice +1(512)258-9858 | Try our NEW client software, WFTPD Explorer. [Ed. Let's please keep this to a discussion of design features and NOT a mudslinging contest (which no one can possibly win). Thanks. KRvW]
-Original Message- From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of ljknews Sent: Friday, February 27, 2004 9:51 AM You must be thinking of a different Bill Gates than the one familiar to me. I am thinking of the one who announced a few years ago that Microsoft would stop other activities for a month and fix their security. I wonder if this is the same Bill Gates who then doubled that time off new development (note - he doesn't talk about security as a finished job), and mandates the reading of the book Writing Secure Code, amongst other things. But Bill isn't the only person at Microsoft, and it's really important that a large number of people at Microsoft get it. Bill's job, when he turns up to these things, is essentially to say whatever Microsoft's game plan is, currently, not to impress us that he has found religion. What's key is the number of other people within Microsoft that get security. As a Security MVP, I get to spend time with some of these people, and they really do seem to have a clue - I should know, I fill their inboxes with whatever my latest pontifications on security are, and I read the responses I get back very carefully. Microsoft has a lot of code to contend with, and much of it is old - so a lot of it has had to be scrubbed clean of imperfections, and some has had to be re-written. And yet, they're actually _doing_ it. How many people are howling about the decision to remove the non-RFC http format that's used by so many scammers and spammers? How many people are going to howl that enabling the firewall by default in SP2 makes life harder for them? There are some very tough decisions being made in the right direction here, I think. Alun. -- Texas Imperial Software | Find us at http://www.wftpd.com or email 1602 Harvest Moon Place | [EMAIL PROTECTED] Cedar Park TX 78613-1419 | WFTPD, WFTPD Pro are Windows FTP servers. Fax/Voice +1(512)258-9858 | Try our NEW client software, WFTPD Explorer.