Introduction To Ubuntu Linux - InformationWeek

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Software // Operating Systems

Introduction To Ubuntu Linux

Information Week
InformationWeek Daily - Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Editor's Note

On The Internet, There Are No Secrets

One thing is true about the security research community; it is populated by people that don't like to be told what to do or how to act. Halvar Flake thought the way the DNS disclosure was handled was OK, but didn't think the discussion blackout would be useful. So setting off as a DNS novice, he spent a few hours figuring out the problem. He got pretty close, too. So then Matasano Security disclosed and then pulled the details. By then it was too late.

There has been this creeping silence in movement in responsible disclosure to keep information from the folks who need it. I have never been a fan of responsible disclosure, but I understand the arguments. Notify vendors about problems and allow them time to fix it, then when the patch is released, publish the details. The hope is that vendors will patch problems in a reasonable time frame and that IT administrators will patch. If they want, they also can review the technical details and maybe even develop a check.

That's all well and good, but Dan Kaminsky's recent advisory took the unusual step in that 1) the details weren't released at the time of the advisory/patch and 2) he asked others to keep the details quiet if they figured it out. The question is why? The stated reason is to give organizations the time to patch their DNS servers before the bad guys figured out the exploit. Well, that's just wishful thinking.

Read the rest of my post find out what other common missteps you can avoid and post your thoughts in the comment section.

Mike Fratto
[email protected]

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