[AI] Mozilla Says It Can Patch Flaws in Ten Days
dl.vikas at gmail.com
Mon Aug 6 10:21:35 EDT 2007
Mozilla Says It Can Patch Flaws in Ten Days
Mozilla exec promises that his company will patch any critical vulnerability in its software within ten days, if notified before the issue is publicized.
Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service
Monday, August 06, 2007 6:00 AM PDT
critical vulnerability in its software within 10 days, a sign that Mozilla may intend
to step up its efforts to improve security.
Mozilla executive Mike Shaver backed up his claim by scrawling it on a business card at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas last week and handing
it to Robert Hansen, CEO of SecTheory.com, who also runs the ha.ckers.org Web site. Hansen
posted a photo
of Shaver's business card, including the claim "Ten [expletive] days."
"I told him I would post his card -- and he didn't flinch. No, he wasn't drunk. He's serious," Hansen wrote in his blog.
Web browser security has become increasingly important with the rise in use of Web-based applications, from Google Inc.'s Gmail to social networking sites
such as Facebook.com and enterprise software-as-a-service programs such as Salesforce.com. A security vulnerability within a Web browser can put a user's
data at risk and make a PC vulnerable to hackers.
Shaver's 10-day pledge applies to "critical" vulnerabilities, although there is no standard for such a rating, and different companies evaluate levels of
risk in different ways. Another condition is that the vulnerability is disclosed responsibly, meaning Mozilla is notified of the issue before it is publicized.
The pledge sparked some debate about whether Mozilla will be able to keep to it.
"I've always been a fan of Mozilla and Firefox, however, this is a pretty bold claim for a company of any shape or size," Hansen wrote.
Other commentators said keeping the 10-day promise might not be easy. Patches need to be of high quality and tested properly, which could take more time
depending on how severe the vulnerability is, said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos PLC.
"If that's what they're saying, then it is an audacious claim," Cluley said. "Some critical security vulnerabilities can reside deep in the bones of a complicated
software product like Firefox and may require extensive testing to ensure that the highest quality fix is being made available to the users."
Others had more confidence in Shaver's claim.
"Rome wasn't built in one day, but heck, Firefox isn't Rome," said a commentator on Hansen's blog. "And Mozilla has 10 whole days. I don't know, put 20
geeks in front of a computer for 10 days and just watch them go."
Mozilla security chief Window Snyder said via email late Sunday night from the U.S. that Mozilla would comment further on the matter later Monday.
Mozilla updated Firefox twice in July. The last update, which came out July 30, fixed two problems that Mozilla labeled "critical," although it took about
two weeks from when security researchers first posted exploit code for that update to be released.
Microsoft Corp. patches its OS and applications on the second Tuesday of each month. The company sticks to the schedule, but has released off-schedule patches
for particularly dangerous vulnerabilities.
Faster patching could help Mozilla gain a broader share of the browser market over Microsoft's Internet Explorer if administrators and users feel it's a
safer option for cruising the Web. Firefox had a 27.8 percent share of the European market but just 18.7 percent in North America, according to recent
statistics from XiTiMonitor, a French company that tracks browser market share.
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