Kaminsky: DNS bug tattler not the first to guess flaw details
Two weeks of silence helped, says researcher who found critical flaw
Computerworld - The researcher whose speculation led to an early disclosure of information about a critical flaw in the Domain Name System (DNS), the Internet's traffic cop, wasn't the first to come close to the truth, said the security expert who found the bug and organized a massive patching effort.
"'Halvar [Flake]' was not the first, not even the tenth," said Dan Kaminsky, director of penetration testing at Seattle-based IOActive Inc. and the researcher who uncovered the DNS flaw early this year. He also helped coordinate a multivendor patching process that kicked off two weeks ago. "A lot of other people figured this out first," Kaminsky said.
On Monday, Flake, the hacker moniker of Thomas Dullien, CEO of the German security company Zynamics GmbH, took a stab at the flaw and posted his best guesses about its details and how it might be exploited. Later on Monday, Flake's speculations were confirmed by Matasano Security, a consultancy that included at least one researcher who had been briefed on the bug by Kaminsky several days later.
"I asked [others who had guessed the details] to hold off until Black Hat," said Kaminsky late Tuesday. "I really have to express my appreciation to them. The security community did not speak with one voice. Many [researchers] realized the importance of this."
When Kaminsky first announced the bug, he said he would provide technical details on Aug. 7 at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. At the time, he said he wanted to give administrators a month to patch before he got specific about the bug.
Kaminsky seemed to bear no ill will toward Flake for posting details of the DNS flaw. "I'm not going to say it was irresponsible," said Kaminsky of Flake. "It's his blog, and he can say what he wants on it. I can only ask [that others hold information]; I can't demand. My only regret is that I didn't have more of an opportunity to talk to him before he posted."
Kaminsky said he and Flake had traded e-mails before Flake went public.
Immediately after Flake's post and Matasano's confirmation, Kaminsky urged administrators responsible for DNS servers to patch immediately, a recommendation he repeated Tuesday. "There's definitely [more of] an increased risk than there was two days ago," he said. "I would advocate doing what you can [to patch now]. I tried to give you as much time as I could. I knew that 30 days was not going to be enough, but we didn't get them. But 13 was better than zero."
- Top 10 Reasons to Strengthen Information Security with Desktop Virtualization Regain control and reduce risk without sacrificing business productivity and growth
- Preventing Sophisticated Attacks: Anti-Evasion & Advanced Evasion Techniques McAfee Next Generation Firewall applies sophisticated analysis techniques specifically to detect advanced evasion techniques (AET).
- The Security Industry's Dirty Little Secret The debate over advanced evasion techniques (AETs) This report summarizes the findings of a McAfee commissioned research group to determine the level of understanding IT security professionals have about AETs...
- Demand More, Get the Most from the Move to a Next-Generation Firewall Beyond the basics in a next generation firewall, to protect your investment you should demand other valuable features: intrusion prevention, contextual rules, advanced...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!