Saturday, January 23, 2010

Perhaps it's time to regulate Microsoft as critical infrastructure?

Microsoft has put a lot into securing its code, and is very good at doing so. However, is it doing enough?

My main argument is about the policy of handling vulnerabilities for 6 months without patching (such as the Google attacks 0day apparently was) and the policy of waiting a whole month before patching this very same vulnerability when it first became an in-the-wild 0day exploit (it has now been patched, ahead of schedule).

Microsoft is the main proponent of responsible disclosure, and has shown it is a responsible vendor. Also, patching vulnerabilities is far from easy, and Microsoft has done a tremendous job at getting it done. I simply call on it to stay responsible and amend its faulty and dangerous policies. A whole month as the default response to patching a 0day? Really?

With their practical monopoly, and the resulting monoculture, perhaps their policies ought to be examined for regulation as critical infrastructure, if they can't bring themselves to be more responsible on their own.

This is the first time in a long while that I find it fit to criticize Microsoft on security. Perhaps they have grown complacent with the PR nightmare of full disclosure a decade behind them, with most vulnerabilities now "sold" to them directly or indirectly by the security industry.

Gadi Evron,

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1 comment:

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