Reverse Engineering Microsoft Patches in 20 Minutes

[This was originally published on the OSVDB blog.]

Halvar posted to the DailyDave mail list today showing a brief flash based demonstration of some of his reverse engineering tools. The presentation shows how one can reverse engineer a Microsoft patch using binary diff analysis, and figure out exactly what the vulnerability is, down to the function.

What will this technology and method do, when hundreds (thousands?) of people can reverse engineer a patch that fast, and offer full vulnerability details within minutes of a patch? That type of information would be incredibly valuable to some people, probably for more nefarious purposes. That type of information would be incredible for the security community and vulnerability databases who often have a difficult time separating issues due to lack of details.

Even more interesting, would this show a more concise history of vulnerabilities in a given vendor’s product that demonstrates the same programs, routines and even functions are found vulnerable repeatedly? Would this help companies identify who should be singled out for additional “secure coding” workshops?


Second-Order Symlink Vulnerabilities

[This was originally published on the OSVDB blog.]

While symlink vulnerabilities are not new, Steven Christey from CVE points out a recent trend in “second-order symlink” vulnerabilities. Based on the recent examples published, there is a strong chance many applications have been vulnerable to such attacks in the past.

Vulnerabilities and Stock Value

[This was originally published on the OSVDB blog.]

Study: Flaw disclosure hurts software maker’s stock
Robert Lemos, SecurityFocus 2005-06-06

The study analyzed the release of 146 vulnerabilities and found that a software company’s stock price decreased 0.63 percent compared to the tech-heavy NASDAQ on the day a flaw in the firm’s product is announced. The study assumed that the stock of a company would have the same trend as the stock index, and that any departure from the index would be due to the disclosure.

This exact research project has been on my ‘to-do’ list for years, glad to see someone has begun to analyze this. A few years back, Ted Bridis noted that Microsoft’s stock dropped several dollars the day or two after a world wide worm infestation that exploited MS products. There was also talk of Internet Security Systems’ (ISS) stock value taking a hit after the Witty worm (which exploited one of their products).

It will be extremely interesting to see this research carried further, noting details of the type of information disclosure (full, partial, vague), if the information is released in conjunction with vendors, etc.

Impact of Software Vulnerability Announcements on the Market Value of Software Vendors ~V an Empirical Investigation (pdf) (slides)

The Register Article – Study: Flaw disclosure hurts software makers’ stock