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$16,000 Bounty for Sendmail, Apache Zero-Day Flaws 173

Posted by Zonk
from the step-right-up-rilly-big-shew dept.
Famestay writes "Verisign's iDefense is putting up a $16,000 prize for any hacker who can find a remotely exploitable vulnerability in six critical Internet infrastructure applications. The bounty is for a zero-day code execution hole on the following Internet infrastructure technologies: Apache httpd, Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND) daemon, Sendmail SMTP daemon, OpenSSH sshd, Microsoft Internet Information (IIS) Server and Microsoft Exchange Server. 'Immunity founder Dave Aitel, who also purchases flaws and exploits for use in the CANVAS pen testing tool, says its doubtful iDefense will get any submissions from hackers. "It's very hard to exploit [those listed applications]," Aitel said. "IIS 6 hasn't had a public remotely exploitable bug in it. Ever." Several other hackers I spoke to had very much the same message, arguing that $16,000 can never equate to the amount of work/expertise required to find and exploit a hole in the six targeted technologies.'"
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$16,000 Bounty for Sendmail, Apache Zero-Day Flaws

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Easy money....easy money.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      If you want to talk easy money think Sendmail.
      • by grub (11606)

        The article says Sendmail has had only 4 remote holes since 2003... Why not lead by example and dig up a fresh one?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Ummmm, try BIND.

        BTW -- TFA says that IIS 6 hasn't had a single public remotely-exploitable hole. That means essentially nothing to me, because most serious 'hackers' aren't using public exploits.
        • by icepick72 (834363) on Friday May 18, 2007 @04:15PM (#19183999)
          Yes because we all know the public exploits just sitting out there are totally ignored by hackers in favour of the um non-public ones. Ummmm .... so ..... IIS must therefore be insecure because surely we can't say anything good about it here. I mean it's a piece of shit because we can hypothesize unstated scenarios about it.
          I think it does means a lot to many people when a piece of software has never had a publicly exploitable hole.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            By 'serious hackers' I mean the ones who are truly dangerous because they know what they're doing, unlike 31337 skR1p7 k1dd13z and your run-of-the-mill botnet creator looking for nothing more than a big spam relay. Those who actually know what they're doing won't use publicly-announced holes because that would allow them to be caught more easily.

            Put the fanboi attitude away and think about logically and you'll know what I'm talking about. This applies to all applications and operating systems, not just II
            • by icepick72 (834363)
              Those who actually know what they're doing won't use publicly-announced holes


              In this case there were no publicly-announced holes. Now your argument has veered off into left field for a last chance save. No dice. You even tried to pull out the fanboy argument which always evidences a final crash and burn when used out of context.

    • Re:Exchange (Score:1, Funny)

      by DrLov3 (1025033)
      Pfff.... Ms. Echange ....

      No need to find a flaw, Ms exchange will crash on it's own. :P
  • start here! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wwmedia (950346)
  • $16,000 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:08PM (#19182967)
    arguing that $16,000 can never equate to the amount of work/expertise required to find and exploit a hole in the six targeted technologies. Clearly, the so called experts aren't aware of the multitudes of enterprising folks living outside the inflated Western wage spectrum. For someone a little more eastbound, that's a nice chunk of change.
    • Re:$16,000 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:17PM (#19183089)

      arguing that $16,000 can never equate to the amount of work/expertise required to find and exploit a hole in the six targeted technologies. Clearly, the so called experts aren't aware of the multitudes of enterprising folks living outside the inflated Western wage spectrum. For someone a little more eastbound, that's a nice chunk of change.

      Not only that, but I'm assuming that claiming the prize and the advertising that goes with it - advertising your skills, that is - is the more valuable part. I'm imagining that the type of person who could claim the prize is interested in doing this sort of thing anyway. The prize would be a nice cash reward and a fantastic thing to put on a resume.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by networkBoy (774728)
        Well I have one exploit for each platform.
        It is remote, and it is foolproof.
        I want the money.
        -nB

        The exploit is to take the admins family hostage, demanding whatever code you want to be run in exchange for the family's safety.
        Since you are using a phone to control the admin it is a remote exploit.
        Have a nice day.
      • by Nevyn (5505) *

        In my opinion the problem isn't really that it doesn't pay for someone to do the work to find the exploit that's there, it's that it's not enough to be painful if there is one there.

        For instance if I put a "security exploit bounty" on my code of $1 (probably less than I pay for donuts weekly) ... how secure does that say the code is? Now if I put the same bounty on it of $2,000 [and.org] (yes I'm not amazingly rich, so that's a very painful amount), this is a very different equation.

        It's the difference betwe

    • Bidding war. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by khasim (1285)
      Suppose you know an exploit in IIS or Exchange.

      Do you sell it to those guys for $16K ... or do you see what Microsoft will pay you NOT to sell it to them?
    • Re:$16,000 (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:38PM (#19183371)
      Indeed, $16K is exactly 2.5 times the annual salary I used to make when I worked as a software engineer in Egypt.
    • by operagost (62405)

      For someone a little more eastbound, that's a nice chunk of change.
      Bullcrap. I live in Pennsylvania and that's still chump change!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by XenoPhage (242134)
        Bullcrap. I live in Pennsylvania and that's still chump change!

        Must be nice.. I live in Pa and I'd love to have a extra $16k ...
    • by demachina (71715)
      $16K IS chump change compared to what you could make exploiting a flaw in this critical infrastructure or selling it to people who would. Of course maybe you would prefer the $16K over the much higher return and a potential criminal record.
  • hMMM (Score:3, Funny)

    by multipartmixed (163409) on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:08PM (#19182969) Homepage
    Does it count if we "find" a "hole" in the current CVS snapshot?
    • # # 'RC' (Release candidate), 'Beta', 'Technology Preview' and similar versions of the listed technologies are not included in this challenge

      So, it would be reasonable to assume that any development branch stuff including current CVS snapshot would be inadmissible.

      • by xenocide2 (231786)
        But it's a good question: how much do you trust the CVS authors? 16 thousand might be chump change, but how bout a couple million?
  • No, but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:09PM (#19182985) Homepage
    It's a great reward if you've stumbled across a hole. Also, you may be able to collect multiple bounties from different organizations for the same hole. I think the bounty system has plenty of merit.
  • Triple that amount of cash. Or more. Or your life. Or, the well being of those you love.

    You get the point.

  • IIS 6 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:10PM (#19183005)

    IIS 6 hasn't had a public remotely exploitable bug in it. Ever.

    How can that be? IIS is crap! Slashdot tells me so!

    • Re:IIS 6 (Score:5, Funny)

      by eln (21727) on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:14PM (#19183053) Homepage
      No one has ever found a hole in it because no one has ever managed to keep it up and running for long enough to find one without it crashing first.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by wwmedia (950346)
        now now no need to get nasty about IIS6 just beacause its a microsoft product!

        IIS6 is very good and new IIS7 is even better, also to note on all the 11 Suse dedicated servers i run i switched from Apache 2 to a lighter, less resource hoging alternative

        Btw IIS6 has less unpatched vulnerabilities [secunia.com] than apache [secunia.com]

        so there
        • by grub (11606)
          What did you switch to?
          • oops LIGHTTPD cant edit damned comments, it was meant to have a hyperlink to lighttpd.net
          • Re:IIS 6 (Score:4, Interesting)

            by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday May 18, 2007 @04:24PM (#19184135) Journal
            I'd like to second the grandparent's plug of Lighttpd. It's very light-weight and easy to configure. Apache has some features it doesn't, but those are all module that I don't use, which just add to the amount of code that's running on my system and could be responsible for an exploit. Lighttpd seems to have been built with security in mind; it drops privileges and chroots itself at system start. If you want scripting language support, it talks to fastcgi servers, and those can run in their own chroots if you want even more paranoia.
            • Re:IIS 6 (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Bishop (4500) on Friday May 18, 2007 @04:48PM (#19184471)
              Lighttpd may seem to have been built with security in mind, but it hasn't. Superficially Lighttpd does all the right security things, but search for "lighttpd memory leak." Secure software does not leak memory.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by krenshala (178676)
              But if you don't run the modules you don't use Apache doesn't use the resources those modules would require.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Viraptor (898832)
      > IIS 6 hasn't had a public remotely exploitable bug in it. Ever.

      "Microsoft Internet Information Services ASP Code Buffer Overflow"
      http://secunia.com/advisories/21006/ [secunia.com]

      Software:
      - Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.x
      - Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 6

      Impact:
      - System access
      - Security Bypass

      Where:
      - From remote

      "hasn't had a public remotely exploitable bug"? Ever? Yes, of course - ever ;)
      • Re:IIS 6 (Score:5, Informative)

        by EraserMouseMan (847479) on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:33PM (#19183307)
        From your link, "Successful exploitation allows bypassing any security restrictions enforced by ASP or execution of API's with no ASP equivalent, but requires permissions to upload ASP code to a web folder."

        This is not a remotely exploitable bug. Nice try though.
        • by guruevi (827432)
          Oh really, you don't think there are hundreds of apps out there that allow you to upload any type of file out there?

          It's remotely exploitable, if the programmer is dumb enough. Then again, so is Apache + PHP.

          Most server-related exploits are not through visible and administrated or configured services but rather through side-services like RPC in combination with ineptness of programmers and admins. That's what makes the Microsoft platform so darn insecure, there's by default hundreds of services running that
          • It's remotely exploitable, if the programmer is dumb enough. Then again, so is Apache + PHP.
            Doesn't PHP stand for Pretty Hopeless Privacy? I remember it used to be pretty trivial to do SQL injection attacks against a pretty wide spectrum of PHP sites back in the dot-bomb days. Hopefully it's gotten better as security has gotten more press, but even if it's gotten twice as good as it was, that's still pretty bad...
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Viraptor (898832)
              SQL injection doesn't have anything to do with PHP. You can create query ("DELETE FROM "+user_supplied_var) and run it in any language - PHP, ASP, ASP.NET, perl, etc. If you want to shoot yourself in the leg, noone will stop you.
              PHP was just easy and very popular. Usually unexperienced developers create security problems, not the language itself.
        • by jimicus (737525)
          I suspect you'll find that most web exploits today rely more on the application than the web server. There's only a handful of web servers in common use today and the core developers all understand the potential security issues that surround them. I'd argue that this is not the case for web applications and frameworks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:11PM (#19183023)
    $16000 is not worth the time to make the internet safer. Now stop bothering me while I spend my time trying to figure out how to save $15 by cracking DVDs. After that, I'm off to steal some music.
    • by grub (11606)
      Thanks for the laugh, that was great! :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by int14 (559258)
      Breaking DVD encryption is important for fair use IMHO, and I doubt the guys who have worked on this are completely motivated by saving money buying DVDs.
    • Cracking DVDs is easy, and it helps fair use (playback on Linux, etc).

      Cracking most of this stuff is, I'd imagine, significantly harder -- after all, it is possible for Apache to be secure, whereas it's not even close to possible for DVDs to be uncrackable.

      That's ignoring the economics of it -- $15 per DVD? Fine, you just need to sell 1,067 copies and you've made $16k. That's assuming money was ever the point.
  • Entrapment? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anarchysoft (1100393) <anarchy.anarchysoft@com> on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:13PM (#19183035) Homepage
    Considering that creating exploits and/or publishing them is considered a criminal offense in some jurisdictions, I wonder how many submissions they'll get. Especially when a good unknown exploit could be worth far more than 16,000.
  • by Joebert (946227)
    $16,000 ?
    That's it ?

    That type of exploit is worth at least a brand new BMW.
    • by ewhac (5844)

      That type of exploit is worth at least a brand new BMW.
      Here ya go... [bmwmotorcycles.com]

      Schwab

  • Free money (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ThanatosMinor (1046978) on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:26PM (#19183201)
    I wonder if the current rise in prizes being offered for discovering vulnerabilities in code might lead to some sneaky behavior.

    1. Leave subtle flaw in your code
    2. Share information with distant acquaintance
    3. Profit!
    • Somewhere, I believe in one of Scott Adam's (the Dilbert creator) books he has a (purportedly) true story about a company where the testers were paid $100 per bug they found. According to him, the program was scrapped after a week, but not before quite a few expensive gifts went from testers to programmers.

      It seemed like the an urban legend ala the Woz getting $100 for each chip he got off a board, but I've heard that that one is actually true, so maybe both are??

      Yes, it's the fallacy of assuming the who

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Bishop (4500)
        I can't speak to Scott Adam's story, but I do know of a large shop that thought a bug bounty like that was a good idea. A rising star in management with little technical knowledge but lots of new ideas thought that a bug bounty would be a good motivator for QA. Fortunately for the company the idea was squashed by a number of experienced software engineers before it was implemented.

        Along a similar vein one of the companies I worked for had an idea for spurring innovation and lateral thinking. The program was
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nos. (179609)

      From Anton Chuvakin's Blog [blogspot.com]:
      ...most scary cyber-criminal of the future is not a spammer, a scammer, a phisher or a pharmer, and not even a good ole "cracker" - it is an unethical software engineer, who changes the code slightly to introduce a weakness (or a full-blown backdoor or a logic bomb) and later uses or sells this knowledge

    • by geekoid (135745)
      I'm going to write me a winnabago!
  • >the following Internet infrastructure technologies:
    Since when are we using marketing speak here? Can we please call them programs or program systems?

  • by 7-Vodka (195504) on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:33PM (#19183297) Journal

    ...arguing that $16,000 can never equate to the amount of work/expertise required to find and exploit a hole in the six targeted technologies.

    Maybe there are people out there who already have more than one exploit for these and wouldn't mind trading one in for a legal source of quick cash. Who knows? 16k buys very a nice chunk of electronics for people who don't need the money for anything else.

  • by queenb**ch (446380) on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:46PM (#19183503) Homepage Journal

    Here are the terms of the challenge -

    * The vulnerability must be remotely exploitable and must allow arbitrary code execution in a typical installation of one of the technologies listed above

    Ok, so you pick some of the oldest and most robust technologies around - things that have had a LOT of the bugs worked out of them already and things are you're not that likely to have to pay out on.

    * The vulnerability must exist in the latest version of the affected technology with all available patches and/or upgrades applied
    * 'RC' (Release candidate), 'Beta', 'Technology Preview' and similar versions of the listed technologies are not included in this challenge

    So you eliminate any upcoming versions, but you forget to exclude the previous versions....

    * The vulnerability must be original and not previously disclosed to any party

    So if I've already informed the software maker, it's out, further reducing the likelihood of any kind of a payment having to be made.

    * The vulnerability cannot be caused by or require any additional third party software installed on the target system

    Reasonable, but...and this is a big but....many things are quite secure on their own, but not so much so when you actually start using them. Prime example, Apache. Apache on it's own is fine. Install one of the open source PHP web apps and then see how secure it is. How many people run Apache serving up hand coded HTML?

    * The vulnerability must not require any social engineering

    This is because we all know that there is no patch for human stupidity...though I've never seen it admitted quite so blatantly.

    PHOOEY ON YOUR CHALLENGE

    It would take me a lot of man hours to come up with something, more to code an exploit for it and by the time I'm done...I'd be better off financially if I had worked at Wal-Mart for those hours. $16,000 divided by 4 (people on my team) = $4000 each. Let's say we spend 5 weeks on this. That's 200 hours each. That works out to having a chance to get $20/hr. And frankly, I think that 200 hours each is pretty optimistic. We're talking about pouring over their code base, becoming familiar with it, and looking for places that we can try to break it. That's in excess of 89,000 lines of code just for Apache and more than another 70,000 for Sendmail. Then we have to load it up, write some code to test the exploit, and run it to see if works. If it doesn't on the first try, it's rinse and repeat until we give up on that possible exploit and try a different one.

    I'm guessing that this is more of a publicity stunt than anything else. Anyone in the industry should know better. This has to be something that the marketing poohbah's have dreamed up. Just more marketing hype so that they can say, "We're more secure than those other guys. We ran our challenge and we didn't get anything. These apps are safe to use."

    2 cents,

    Queen B.

    • by jimicus (737525)
      The vulnerability cannot be caused by or require any additional third party software installed on the target system

      Exactly. Apache without any extra modules, just the core? There's not much to exploit, and that which there is has been worked over and over for years.
  • Tried Google? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anarchysoft (1100393) <anarchy.anarchysoft@com> on Friday May 18, 2007 @03:47PM (#19183509) Homepage

    "IIS 6 hasn't had a public remotely exploitable bug in it. Ever."
    That's funny. A quick search [google.com] seems to reveal many!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2007 @04:14PM (#19183963)

      Just to narrow it down, I redid your search with quotes and found 67. But the first one's a blast. It goes to the "w4ck1ng" forum where the thread goes...

      "Hello found this exploit: http://www.derkeiler.com/Mailing-Lis...5-04/0436.h tml [derkeiler.com] I have compiled it. And when i run it under linux, it gives me this error! [cut for brevity] ./iis.exe: 3: Syntax error: word unexpected (expecting ")") Anyone ?"

      ...and the response goes:

      "you can not use exe files under unix y0u have to compile it with GCC..."

      I *think* IIS is safe from *this* guy...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Otter (3800)
        Warning up front: DO NOT RUN THE CODE IN THE BELOW LINK, YOU HALFWITS!!!

        Ok, now a clarification: the code [derkeiler.com] I think you meant to link to is not an exploit for IIS, it deletes the 1337 h4x0r's files. The exchange is a good way to run out the clock on a Friday, at least through:

        You are wrong again, it's "Smashing the Stick" you moron. Not smashing the stack. Ask anyone here!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ad0gg (594412)
      I like how the second result listed is actually trojan program that runs rm -rf /. There aren't any remote exploits for IIS6 which is a 4 year old product.
      • There aren't any remote exploits for IIS6 which is a 4 year old product.
        Do you mean like these? [secunia.com]
        • by ad0gg (594412)
          I don't consider a DOS an exploit. Like the article, we're talking about being able access the system. As it still stands per the article definition, there are no remote exploits for IIS6.0. Can the same be said about apache?
          • I don't consider a DOS an exploit. Like the article, we're talking about being able access the system. As it still stands per the article definition, there are no remote exploits for IIS6.0.

            Does this [secunia.com] look like a DoS to you?

            Can the same be said about apache?

            This is not about httpd versus IIS 6. The statement was that there were no remote exploits for IIS 6 and it appears that there is evidence to the contrary.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Shados (741919)
              As pointed by many, the thing you showed isn't remotely exploitable. You need another mean of access to the machine, with freagin write access, to put code in a folder where it has script execute permission. Basically, you need a freagin account on the box. Not quite it.
              • As pointed by many, the thing you showed isn't remotely exploitable. You need another mean of access to the machine, with freagin write access, to put code in a folder where it has script execute permission. Basically, you need a freagin account on the box. Not quite it.
                So then a poorly designed ASP upload page that is exploitable (as many upload forms are) would or would not then allow wider access to the box?
                • by Shados (741919)
                  Yup, but its a local exploit. Otherwise, that would be like saying that if there's such an exploit in, let say, Open Office that could somehow in an alternate dimention allow you to get root, that its a remote exploit because a poorly managed VNC access would let you do it remotly.
                • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                  by weicco (645927)

                  Yes. Just like this would:

                  <?php eval($_GET['code']); ?>

                  Or like this:

                  <?php include($_GET['url]); ?>

                  Comes to mind... That last one was used when some people I know from IRC cracked open one TV company's web site here in Finland.

                  But above examples doesn't work in IIS6/ASP.NET since framework doesn't let you shoot yourself in the foot so easily. ASP.NET checks input and prevents submitting suspicous data unless you specifically tell it to let it through. Also you would have to write something

  • by Stormx2 (1003260)

    The bounty is for a zero-day code execution hole on the following Internet infrastructure technologies: ... Microsoft Internet Information (IIS) Server and Microsoft Exchange Server
    How do they expect to find $16,000 a day? Bank robberies?
  • The criminal underground (russian mafia etc.) supposedly pay $50k-$100k for zero-days, if you're after the money might as well sell your exploit to them.

    If you're after fame, you report it through the proper channels (CERT or the vendor directly). You get credited in the bugfix, but gain no money at all.

    Selling to one of these guys just goes into the pockets of these zero-day vendors, who then get more customers paying them $$$ to be a few days ahead of everyone else (but they'll get the patches at the same
  • Is that legal? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HalAtWork (926717) on Friday May 18, 2007 @04:14PM (#19183965)
    Could I just offer up a $16,000 bounty as well? 'Cause there's plenty of money to be made with 0day flaws.

    Anyone can discover them, so it's plausible that two people can know the same flaw. So one party gets the flaw and gives the $16,000, then communicates the exploit to a third party who hacks in and gets trade secrets (or teh g0ld) and sells those, or whatever.
    • by glwtta (532858)
      I don't think even the most overzealous MPAA sponsored digital security legislation covers knowing about an exploit, yet. In your situation the third party would be breaking the law, those who discovered the flaw would likely be breaking the law (under the aforementioned overzealous legislation), but I don't see what you could pin on those who paid for the information.
  • FYI (Score:5, Funny)

    by Slashcrap (869349) on Friday May 18, 2007 @04:44PM (#19184411)
    I guess some people reading this may be more used to Windows and therefore not entirely familiar with the functionality of the Unix packages that were mentioned. Allow me to summarise :

    OpenSSH - A service you can install on a Unix system to enable remote admin access for known users.

    Sendmail - A service you can install on a Unix system to enable remote admin access for complete strangers.

    Hope this helps.....

  • ...for creating a 'busy work' distraction for the geek students who would normally spend the summer holidays writing this year's worm.
  • I'm surprised to see Microsoft's server software in there. I'm not surprised because I thought IIS was insecure, I'm surprised because I didn't realize it wasn't secure, I just assume it was, and buggy generally, like all other Microsoft software. Certainly, the few MS programs I've used were buggy (XP, Word, Vis Stu, SQL Server) so I assumed they all were. If Microsoft has the institutional ability to make bug free software, then why don't they make more of it? Why don't they share the magic team of wizard
    • by Darby (84953)

      Maybe I should ask for corroboration. Is IIS really bug free software? I mean, at lease for security bugs?


      Bug free? No, it's a fucking joke in that respect. Security bugs? There don't seem to be many.
      Of course with a brand new install being hit only with HEAD requests from the Load Balancer it goes down faster than a Tijuana hooker. Presumably, MS would call that a feature, but it's quite obviously a very badly broken piece of software.

  • ...for any developer of Sendmail or Apache or BIND sneaky enough to slip in a new security hole.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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