Internet Explorer Security, In Perspective

    Date22 May 2002
    3178
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    Recently Patrick Mueller from famed security firm Neohapsis sat down with Thor for a very frank discussion on the state of security with Internet Explorer, which we're pleased to recount for you here. Please note that this discussion took place shortly before Thor's recent postings to Bugtraq, outlining a number of patched and thought-to-be patched security holes. Enjoy.. . . Recently Patrick Mueller from famed security firm Neohapsis sat down with Thor for a very frank discussion on the state of security with Internet Explorer, which we're pleased to recount for you here. Please note that this discussion took place shortly before Thor's recent postings to Bugtraq, outlining a number of patched and thought-to-be patched security holes. Enjoy.

    Patrick Mueller: The debate in the security community surrounding full-disclosure, while somewhat abated in recent months, is still a source of strong opinions. Meanwhile the possibility of consensus on the issue among leading analysts seems nearly impossible. You seem to follow what most would call a policy of "responsible disclosure" by notifying the vendor and allowing them time to produce a patch. Do you follow specific "rules of engagement" for disclosure, such as Rain Forest Puppy's RFPolicy? How did you derive your rules, or are they dynamic based on the situation?

    Thor Larholm: My own approach to disclosure is very fluid and depends largely on the severity of the vulnerability as well as the vendor response, though I much prefer to act "responsibly." Ideally, I would like to follow the guidelines in RFPolicy, with clear and agreed responsibilities by both parties. In the past I have tried both delayed disclosure, while the vendor was fixing the vulnerability, as well as premature disclosure, in particular when Netscape conned GreyMagic Software and I disclosed 2 additional holes. In the latter case, a vendor notification would have been futile. I decide on a set of rules in the days following vendor notification, based on their preliminary response.

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