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Pete Finnigan's Oracle Security Weblog

This is the weblog for Pete Finnigan. Pete works in the area of Oracle security and he specialises in auditing Oracle databases for security issues. This weblog is aimed squarely at those interested in the security of their Oracle databases.

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iDefense ups the bidding for bugs

When reading the article written by Mary Ann Davidson last night I made a note of a link in it about idefense. The news report is written by Joris Evers and is titled "iDefense ups the bidding for bugs". This is an interesting article for a number of reasons. Firstly iDefense has offered money for details of security bugs that it can then pass on details of to its clients and also break the news to the public when the bugs are fixed. This is not just about bugs in Oracle of course but security bugs in any software product.

iDefense have increased the money they are willing to offer because their rival Tipping point started to offer rewards for pinpointing bugs. This means that hackers can legally earn money for their efforts in finding bugs. Mary Ann talks about researchers threatening to sell details of unfixed bugs to iDefense if Oracle did not provide a fix in a certain time scale. If the market for selling details of bugs evolves then hackers and researchers are likely to report bugs to the vendor (or not!) and simply sell them on to companies like iDefense anyway simply to earn money. This could happen more and more regularly. This could be a worrying trend for software manufacturers. Potentially a lot of their customers (and rivals?) could become aware of the details of vulnerabilities that vendors are not fixing fast enough. We could end up with a two tier society of a software vendors customers, those that know about the bugs (because they subscribe to companies such as iDefense) and those that do not know about the bugs. If companies have outstanding lists of bugs that need to be fixed and if more and more researchers sell details of bugs would we end up in a situation where vendors would recommend their customers to subscribe to companies such as iDefense even if they themselves do not give out advance details of bugs?