Forwarded from: "Junkmail Rosenberger" <junkmailat_private> [This is a parody of a recent op-ed by Richard Forno (Infowarrior.org) that appeared here on ISN. The parody is directed at the antivirus industry, not Forno.] Message To Antivirus Industry: Only The Truth Shall Set You Free News flash! Judge Kollar-Kotelly has granted the states access to antivirus software source code as part of this phase of the anti-trust ruling. Of course, the antivirus giant is against this action, and we can only hope her decision stands. If so, not only will this level the legal playing field in the case, as Kollar-Kotelly says (by allowing the states to verify the antivirus industry's claims about its products) but more importantly, allow IT professionals to see exactly how secure (or insecure) antivirus software really is, something that many security professionals have been calling for a long time as the ONLY true way to verify and validate the antivirus industry's claims about the stability, security, and reliability of its pervasive antivirus systems. In the industry's defense, releasing the code will go a long way in curtailing the growing negative press and public sentiment about their firms and their products, and could be an action that actually generates business for them over the long-term. Considering that nobody outside of the antivirus industry knows what evil lurks in the millions of lines of code compromising antivirus software, by granting external access to source, Kollar-Kotelly has established the basis for what some would call the "ultimate vulnerability disclosure" -- namely, finally discovering the truth about an antivirus product's features, both documented and undocumented, that are the scourge of the IT world yet the subject of oddly few IT-security news stories over the past five years. This is a long-overdue action, and I pray the decision stands. (Actually, one could argue that this is the penultimate example of what "responsible vulnerability disclosure" is all about...) Releasing antivirus source code to the states (parties outside of the industry with (hopefully) non-profit interests in justice and not market dominance) would be one government-initiated action that actually improves the security and assurance of America's critical infrastructures and (by extension) the world's IT sector. This would be a real, tangible, action that actually increases security, unlike the FAA prohibitions on carrying Swiss knives, knitting needles, or razors onboard a civil airliner. As such, given that antivirus software protects some pretty significant, critical systems in our financial, utilities, medical, and defense sectors, releasing the source code for external evaluation is not just a 'nice-to-have' but a MUST-HAVE as we move towards effectively increasing the security of America's critical infrastructures ... for the antivirus industry, it's the responsible thing to do, given their much-ballyhooed 'focus' on security. If the industry is truly committed to paying product security anything more than PR lip-service (which many security professionals believe is all they are doing,) they will embrace Kollar-Kotelly's decision as a significant step in improving the security of -- and the public's trust in -- their companies and their products. By releasing the antivirus source code, the industry can prove to the world it has nothing to hide and that it can be trusted as a purveyor of mission-critical software. This likely would lead to a restored public image and confidence in their companies, quite possibly leading to increased business and sales. So it's a win-win for the antivirus industry, assuming it ever gets over its corporate hubris and realizes the potential long-term benefits it could reap by simply and accurately complying with court orders. From a business perspective, the antivirus industry would be wise to do the mature thing -- quietly take its court-ordered medicine (ignoring how bad it might taste in the short-term) and realize that it stands a good chance of getting much better in the long-term. Thank you, Judge Kollar-Kotelly, for taking a pro-consumer and pro-security position with your ruling, one that -- assuming it stands and is correctly acted upon in the best interests of the country -- will be one of the few government actions actually (and effectively) improving the security of America's critical infrastructures. It would be a public service on an unprecedented scale. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Feb 19 2002 - 02:52:41 PST