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Re: Should I Be Worried?
From: bkfsec <bkfsec () sdf lonestar org>
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2006 15:04:04 -0400

CrYpTiC MauleR wrote:

After reading http://www.securityfocus.com/news/11389 it made me think twice about actually going public with my 
school's security hole by having school notify students, parents and/or faculty at risk due to it.

I mean I didnt access any records, just knew that it was possible for someone to access my account or anyone elses. I 
did not even exploit the hole to steal, modify etc any records. Does this still put me in the same boat at the USC guy? 
If so I am really not wanting to butt heads with the school in case they try to turn around and bite the hand that 
tried to help them. Even if my intentions were good, they might even make something up saying I accessed entire 
database or something. I have nothing to prove me otherwise since they have access to the logs. Already it seems like 
the school is trying to sweep the incident under the rug, so very wary as to what they might do if they were pushed 
into a corner and forced to go public. Anyone has any idea what I can do or should I just let this slide? I am already 
putting my credit report and such on fraud alert just in case, and definelty do not plan on attending this school after 
my degree or school year is over. A transfer is better than having me risk my data.


I think you're probably jumping the gun a little bit here.

From what I gather, you approached people about the issue, you got some resolution on it. Switching schools is not necessarily going to help you because, believe me, every institution has problems with regard to information leakage. If it's not technical, it's social leakage. If you're concerned about possible problems to yourself, then maybe full disclosure may not be appropriate. Think about it for a second. Holes in both software and procedures are fixed daily in any given institution. The *vast* majority of it is never reported. And what would we really gain if it was? School A fixes an XSS bug in their web app. Woopty freaking doooo... School B patches their servers 2 months late, but are now up to date... School C fires a registrar for giving out SS numbers over the phone to unknown contacts, but not necessarily known to be malicious... etc

Without proof of a violation of security or privacy, it doesn't really mean much. Just having a social security number these days is grounds for people to be concerned. This is why it was originally against mandate for it to be used as a national ID system.

In fact, let's take that one step further and look at the whole financial infrastructure. It's a shambles. Not secure at all. Anyone with the right contract can pull your credit report and start adding accounts to your name. Be afraid, be very afraid. But, be afraid for the right reasons. Really, the only reason you should be thinking full disclosure now is if they didn't fix the bug, which IIRC they did. If you're really concerned about your privacy, that should be where it stops. Full disclosure after fixes works with software components, not necessarily organizations. Society as a whole is not necessarily going to learn anything from relatively generic examples of institutions having a security issue (which we don't even have proof of any exploit of those issues). So best thing to do is back off for a bit, lay low... you got a response, why keep putting yourself in the spotlight and drawing them to you? Organizations threaten legal action, more often than not, to shut people up. Just consider that if that's what you're concerned about. Be subtle.

               -bkfsec



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