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Security notifications

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The common practice among security firms is to delay public announcement of vulnerabilities until they’ve notified the software developer first. This lets the software developer get to work on a fix before the information about how to exploit a problem is broadcast to the world.

But for the second time in a week, Secunia has found a vulnerability and released it publicly without bothering to even tell the developers about it. Not only have they not given sufficient time to get a fix ready, but the developers had to find out about the problem through the news reports.

This is an extreme departure from how security companies operate and is a dangerous practice. By publishing vulnerabilities complete with descriptions for accomplishing the exploit, they are providing wannabe crackers with the means to attack systems. Secunia is also causing public alarm without giving the public a way to patch their systems. People see news of the security problem and then go to the vendor looking for a solution but the vendor just found our about the problem as well and can’t provide a fix. I’ll bet that many of these people forget to later check back for updates and continue to run vulnerable software.

See Flaw found in older Office versions (News.com) and WordPress 1.2.1 (WordPress Dev Blog) for complete stories.

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