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Weak security taints directory
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 03:44:56 -0500 (CDT)


[Not to encourge the masses, but I was able to register C4I.org rather
easily through the Microsoft Passport side of the UDDI service and I
should also note that the U.S.M.C. Department Headquarters C4I command
is also listed by (hopefully) the U.S.M.C.  - WK]

June 18, 2001

A major industry effort to build an online directory of Web services
for business is riddled with embarrassing security problems that have
marred its arrival.

Last month's launch of the Universal Description, Discovery and
Integration directory, a Yellow Pages-style directory that lets
businesses register their Internet services and capabilities online,
was intended to drive support for Web services (see story). But lax
security by UDDI founders IBM and Microsoft Corp. has permitted the
Web-based directory to be populated with fake firms, false links and
uninformed participants.

For example, "Loud Speakers Inc." is registered as a Mountain View,
Calif.-based firm run by John McLoud, whose public speakers talk at a
level higher than 100 decibels. The UDDI also describes Loud Speaker's
Web service as juju beads for "warding off evil spirits." The company
isn't listed with directory assistance and can't be found on the Web.

As for bad links, the UDDI listing for Oracle Corp. links to a
pornography site, not a Web service.

"Microsoft is aware that security is an issue," said Darryl Plummer,
an analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. "As you open things
up, you open up the door for security holes. They're trying to come up
to speed in a public forum, and if large controls were in place, it
wouldn't take off."

Microsoft officials said controls for vetting companies that register
in the UDDI directory would be discussed at a private conference for
the registry's adviser group in Atlanta this week.

But beyond the challenge of vetting registrants, the sponsors of the
UDDI directory also appear to be facing another problem: uninformed
directory members.

Markle Stuckey Hardesty & Bott is listed in the UDDI directory. But
David Hardesty, vice president of the Larkspur, Calif.-based
e-commerce accounting firm, said he has no idea what the directory is
and has no plans to introduce Web services at his company.

"I have no recollection of registering," said Hardesty. "We haven't
used it, and we don't know anything about it, but that's not to say
that we didn't sign up for it. There are lots of things out there on
the Web, but you just can't remember everything."

Bob Gill, owner of Shrimp Landing, a seafood wholesaler in Crystal
River, Fla., said he agreed to register after responding to an e-mail
solicitation from IBM.

But Gill said he doesn't see himself using or offering Web services
from the company's one-page Web site.

"I'm sticking my neck into an area for which I know nothing about,"
said Gill. "First, I need to get my site up and running. Then I'll
think about it."

It may take years before the UDDI has much impact, but its proponents
will need to demonstrate that it has value to end-user companies and
not just technology vendors, said Ted Schadler, an analyst at
Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc.

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