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Re: Do world's famous companies take care of their security?
From: "Steven M. Christey" <coley () mitre org>
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2006 15:43:57 -0400 (EDT)


There was discussion last week in the Full-Disclosure about XSS
vulnerabilities in reply to XSS vulns in PayPal and Gadi Evron
suggested creation of a separate mailing list for just XSS
vulnerabilities.

This is definitely a growing gap in our current knowledge.  I don't
think it's being tracked very well, although I thought Jeremiah
Grossman started tracking the more serious issues.

Vulnerability databases (CVE included) historically have NOT recorded
site-specific XSS and other issues like sensitive data disclosure.
The primary reason is that most vuln DBs are focused on issues in
software that a system administrator would be directly responsible
for.  Software services, which is basically what you're talking about
with PayPal, Google, and the like, are not under direct control of the
sysadmin - plus, the vendor merely needs to flip a switch (i.e. patch
the bug) and the problem is instantly fixed for all customers.  The
lines between "site-specific" and "distributable" software are
becoming more blurry however, e.g. with hosted solutions.

Another issue might arise with respect to disclosure, in that if you
publish a site-specific security issue, you're highlighting how to
attack a specific site.  I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it,
this gets into more dangerous legal waters than disclosure of regular
software.

XSS bugs are easy to discover and easy to fix, so what's the problem?

This is a common misconception.  The basic XSS issues are easy to
discover and fix, and there are still far too many of them in
software.  That's partially because with XSS, every single
input/output is suspect, and you simply don't get that large of an
attack surface with other vuln types.  Over the years, XSS has
demonstrated a rich set of attack variants, such as the recent 8-bit
XSS bypass discussed by Kurt Huwig
(http://seclists.org/lists/bugtraq/2006/Jun/0549.html)


- Steve


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