Legal goons threaten researcher for reporting security bug

When vuln disclosures are outlawed...


A German software company has threatened legal action against a security researcher who privately reported a critical vulnerability in one of its programs, Dark Reading reports.

Legal goons from Magix AG sent a nasty gram to a researcher who goes by “Acidgen” after he reported the stack buffer overflow in the company's Music Maker 16. According to the report, Acidgen alerted Magix representatives to the bug in several emails that also included proof-of-concept code that forced the Windows calculator to open, indicating the flaw could be exploited to execute malicious code on a victim's computer.

Acidgen also provided suggestions for fixing the flaw, Dark Reading said. He also told the representatives he planned to disclose vulnerability details publicly once a patch was released.

That's when things got ugly.

“MAGIX does not appreciate that you are intending to publicly release the Exploit and to cause irreparable harm,” a company attorney wrote. “As you maybe [sic] aware it is illegal to release software which is intended to commit computer sabotage (e.g. Sec. 202C I No. 2 German Criminal Law). In addition this announcement together with your offering to have the vulnerability fixed by your company may be considered as an attempted extortion.”

The letter said Magix would “enter into all necessary and appropriate legal steps” and to “inform manufacturers of antivirus software that there might be a new virus based on your code.”

Germany enacted a draconian hacker law in 2007 that also criminalizes the creation or possession of dual-use security tools. ®

Bootnote

Acidgen sent an email and asked to make the following points:

"I didn't ask them if they needed help with patching their vulnerability or creating any kind of fix. I asked if they wanted a fuzzing service. I didn't state 'what' company or how and when. They've just assumed as their strolled by my linkedin, and saw that i have a registred buisniess. Also, they asked me to create the PoC for them."


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