OS Security, Old Debate, New Info

[This was originally published on the OSVDB blog.]

Check out this article/report by OmniNerd, which tested various operating systems for security. They performed a base line vulnerability scan during installation, after installation and after patches had been applied. Each installation was done to mimick as close to a ‘default install’ by clicking ‘next’ when possible. While one can argue various points of this test, they did a good job defining the operating system, configuration and resulting open ports, along with corresponding vulnerabilities. The only questions that immediately come to mind are if the Solaris install included Update 3 and why they didn’t have any charts or graphs summarizing the information.

This is hands down one of the most fair and unbiased tests I have seen in a while, based on the information in the article.

OSVDB Chosen for Google Summer of Code 2007

[This was originally published on the OSVDB blog.]

For the second year now, OSVDB has been selected to participate in the Google Summer of Code program. It’s pretty neat to be in this program along with other relatively unheard of projects like Debian, FreeBSD, GNU, KDE, NetBSD, OpenSolaris, PHP, PostgreSQL, Python, Samba, Apache, EFF, Fedora and X.org. =)

As always, Google continues to give back to the community in ways most companies will never understand or appreciate.

Month of MySpace Bugs (MOMSB)

[This was originally published on the OSVDB blog.]

Yes, the trend continues and gets more .. odd.

The Washington Post decided to cover this story giving it more attention than it probably deserves. From the home page of the effort:

The purpose of the exercise is not so much to expose Myspace as a hive of spam and villainy (since everyone knows that already), but to highlight the monoculture-style danger of extremely popular websites populated by users of various levels of sophistication. We could have just as easily gone after Google or Yahoo or MSN or ZDNet or whatever. Myspace is just more fun, and is becoming notoriously dickish about responding to security issues.

I’m not exactly sure how MySpace deserves a “monoculture-style” designation since it is a single social web site and the vulnerabilities (presumably) aren’t specific to one web browser or operating system.

Month of PHP Bugs

[This was originally published on the OSVDB blog.]

Hell hath no fury like a PHP developer scorned…


During the last months there have been the Month of the Browser bugs and the Month of the Kernel bugs projects that tried to raise awareness for security vulnerabilities in browsers and kernels.

After thinking a bit about this I started to wonder if I should not start a Month of PHP bugs somewhen in the first half of 2007. At the PHP conference it was once again claimed that it is not PHP that is insecure but the applications written by novice programmers. While it is true that many PHP applications are written by people with no clue about security it is absolutely not true that PHP is a secure programming language.

I think it is necessary to make ALL people aware of this. The plan is therefore to choose one of the 31 day months after January and release everyday a vulnerability in PHP itself. I would like to hear comments from the PHP community about this plan. (Be warned that anonymous rants will be deleted)

To check out the bugs, visit www.php-security.org/. I will also be adding comments to this entry pointing out some of the interesting commentary and underlying message behind this effort.