What ends with X and won't sue security researchers?

Netflix lures bounty-hunters, Dropbox offers vulnerability research safe harbour


If you listen carefully, you'll hear the sound of a very small ship coming in: Netflix has joined Bugcrowd, offering bounties of up to US$15,000 for vulnerabilities.

The bounty program covers a host of apps and platforms. Netflix Android and iOS mobile apps are included, the various APIs at netflix.com, nine other domains on netflix.com, its *.nflximg.net, nflxext.com, and nflximg.net domains.

Netflix's announcement explained that the Bugcrowd public launch follows a private program initiated in September 2016, which grew from 100 researchers at the start to more than 700 today.

Since the private launch, Netflix has “attempted to fine tune things like triage quality, response time and researcher interactions to build a quality program that researchers like to participate in”, the post said.

Behave, white hats: Netflix's rules state that if you access customer information, you have to stop testing and submit the bug. Researchers should also only launch attacks at their own accounts, and (naturally enough) not hose the Netflix servers.

Stay within the bounty's rules, and Netflix promises not to sue, which is an important consideration in a world where litigation is increasingly deployed to try and silence research rather than fix vulnerabilities.

The company's full vulnerability disclosure terms are here.

Dropbox also on the 'we won't sue' list

Dropbox has also promised it won't sue researchers that play nice. The company today published guidelines to give researchers safe harbour.

Dropbox's Chris Evans wrote that vulnerability researchers have “faced decades of abuse, threats, and bullying”.

Evans has seen it all, apparently, from legal threats, referrals to authorities, attacks on character, abuse of process to gag researchers, and more.

He says Dropbox realised its own disclosure program (at HackerOne) didn't offer enough protection, so it's been updated.

Particularly welcome are promises that America's Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Digital Millennium Copyright Act won't be deployed against good-faith security research; and if a third party tries to intervene to block research under the Dropbox project, the company will “will make it clear when a researcher was acting in compliance with the policy (and therefore authorised by us)”.

Researchers are instructed that Dropbox won't negotiate bounties under any kind of duress, and asked to give the company reasonable time to roll out fixes. ®


Other stories you might like

  • How refactoring code in Safari's WebKit resurrected 'zombie' security bug
    Fixed in 2013, reinstated in 2016, exploited in the wild this year

    A security flaw in Apple's Safari web browser that was patched nine years ago was exploited in the wild again some months ago – a perfect example of a "zombie" vulnerability.

    That's a bug that's been patched, but for whatever reason can be abused all over again on up-to-date systems and devices – or a bug closely related to a patched one.

    In a write-up this month, Maddie Stone, a top researcher on Google's Project Zero team, shared details of a Safari vulnerability that folks realized in January this year was being exploited in the wild. This remote-code-execution flaw could be abused by a specially crafted website, for example, to run spyware on someone's device when viewed in their browser.

    Continue reading
  • Cisco warns of security holes in its security appliances
    Bugs potentially useful for rogue insiders, admin account hijackers

    Cisco has alerted customers to another four vulnerabilities in its products, including a high-severity flaw in its email and web security appliances. 

    The networking giant has issued a patch for that bug, tracked as CVE-2022-20664. The flaw is present in the web management interface of Cisco's Secure Email and Web Manager and Email Security Appliance in both the virtual and hardware appliances. Some earlier versions of both products, we note, have reached end of life, and so the manufacturer won't release fixes; it instead told customers to migrate to a newer version and dump the old.

    This bug received a 7.7 out of 10 CVSS severity score, and Cisco noted that its security team is not aware of any in-the-wild exploitation, so far. That said, given the speed of reverse engineering, that day is likely to come. 

    Continue reading
  • Halfords suffers a puncture in the customer details department
    I like driving in my car, hope my data's not gone far

    UK automobile service and parts seller Halfords has shared the details of its customers a little too freely, according to the findings of a security researcher.

    Like many, cyber security consultant Chris Hatton used Halfords to keep his car in tip-top condition, from tires through to the annual safety checks required for many UK cars.

    In January, Hatton replaced a tire on his car using a service from Halfords. It's a simple enough process – pick a tire online, select a date, then wait. A helpful confirmation email arrived with a link for order tracking. A curious soul, Hatton looked at what was happening behind the scenes when clicking the link and "noticed some API calls that seemed ripe for an IDOR" [Insecure Direct Object Reference].

    Continue reading
  • For a few days earlier this year, rogue GitHub apps could have hijacked countless repos
    A bit of a near-hit for the software engineering world

    A GitHub bug could have been exploited earlier this year by connected third-party apps to hijack victims' source-code repositories.

    For almost a week in late February and early March, rogue applications could have generated scoped installation tokens with elevated permissions, allowing them to gain otherwise unauthorized write or administrative access to developers' repos. For example, if an app was granted read-only access to an organization or individual's code repo, the app could effortlessly escalate that to read-write access.

    This security blunder has since been addressed and before any miscreants abused the flaw to, for instance, alter code and steal secrets and credentials, according to Microsoft's GitHub, which assured The Register it's "committed to investigating reported security issues."

    Continue reading
  • CISA and friends raise alarm on critical flaws in industrial equipment, infrastructure
    Nearly 60 holes found affecting 'more than 30,000' machines worldwide

    Updated Fifty-six vulnerabilities – some deemed critical – have been found in industrial operational technology (OT) systems from ten global manufacturers including Honeywell, Ericsson, Motorola, and Siemens, putting more than 30,000 devices worldwide at risk, according to private security researchers. 

    Some of these vulnerabilities received CVSS severity scores as high as 9.8 out of 10. That is particularly bad, considering these devices are used in critical infrastructure across the oil and gas, chemical, nuclear, power generation and distribution, manufacturing, water treatment and distribution, mining and building and automation industries. 

    The most serious security flaws include remote code execution (RCE) and firmware vulnerabilities. If exploited, these holes could potentially allow miscreants to shut down electrical and water systems, disrupt the food supply, change the ratio of ingredients to result in toxic mixtures, and … OK, you get the idea.

    Continue reading
  • Indian government issues confidential infosec guidance to staff – who leak it
    Bans VPNs, Dropbox, and more

    India's government last week issued confidential information security guidelines that calls on the 30 million plus workers it employs to adopt better work practices – and as if to prove a point, the document quickly leaked on a government website.

    The document, and the measures it contains, suggest infosec could be somewhat loose across India's government sector.

    "The increasing adoption and use of ICT has increased the attack surface and threat perception to government, due to lack of proper cyber security practices followed on the ground," the document opens.

    Continue reading
  • DeadBolt ransomware takes another shot at QNAP storage
    Keep boxes updated and protected to avoid a NAS-ty shock

    QNAP is warning users about another wave of DeadBolt ransomware attacks against its network-attached storage (NAS) devices – and urged customers to update their devices' QTS or QuTS hero operating systems to the latest versions.

    The latest outbreak – detailed in a Friday advisory – is at least the fourth campaign by the DeadBolt gang against the vendor's users this year. According to QNAP officials, this particular run is encrypting files on NAS devices running outdated versions of Linux-based QTS 4.x, which presumably have some sort of exploitable weakness.

    The previous attacks occurred in January, March, and May.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022