DHS-funded project uncovers open-source flaws

Share this article:
A vendor working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has uncovered vulnerabilities in 11 major open-source software projects, including the Perl and PHP programming and scripting languages used widely to develop web applications.

The firm, Coverity, is working on a three-year, $300,000 program with the DHS that helps open-source software developers find and fix vulnerabilities in their projects. Coverity said it has discovered bugs in Amanda, NTP, OpenPAM, OpenVPN, Overdose, Postfix, Python, Samba, FreeRadius and TCL, as well as Perl and PHP.

“[The program] has 116 projects with active developers using the results," David Maxwell, Coverity's open-source strategist, told SCMagazineUS.com.

Beginning in March 2006 with 35 open-source projects, the program developed the Coverity Scan site, which has analyzed code in more than 250 projects and helped fix more than 7,500 vulnerabilities in open-source software projects since its launch, according to the program.

Coverity uses its Prevent static-analysis software to analyze the source code of each program.

"We process the code the way a compiler does, building an abstract representation of the code," Maxwell said. "Then we look at that representation, looking for inconsistencies. For example, if we see that a string is copied, and know the source of the stream and can confirm that the destination is not large enough to accommodate the source, it would create a buffer overflow."

Maxwell said the scanning found "vulnerabilities in all but one or two of the projects" in the program. The scanning process allowed the developers to fix the bugs, then resubmit the projects for another analysis, he added.
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of SC Magazine to post a comment.

Sign up to our newsletters

TOP COMMENTS

More in News

Skills in demand: Communications and messaging experts

Skills in demand: Communications and messaging experts

The demand for infosec-focused communications and messaging pros is growing.

Company news: New execs at Malwarebytes and an acquisition by VMware

The latest mergers and acquisitions and personnel moves, including Malwarebytes, Abacus Group, VMware, Bay Dynamics, vArmour, Secunia, Norse and more.

Bridging the talent gap in health care

Bridging the talent gap in health care

Cybercriminals are primarily after patient data as it really gets them more money.