Security Advisor

PHP Scripting Flaw Shines Light on Other Flaws

PHP scripting language can be found in just about every Web site out there. So it's a big deal when an exploit is discovered that could allow attackers to steal site source code and load up a target with malware.

A big deal, but not the end of the world. As long as there's software, hardware and the like designed by humans, there's going to be the occasional hole. However, there are a couple of factors surrounding this specific hole that's a bit troublesome.

First is on the nature of how this hole was discovered. Not by a cunning code genius, but straight from the source: the PHP Group. Apparently there was an error with the group's disclosure process, and the reported vulnerability, which was suppose to stay hidden, was automatically published to its online comment section.

The group then rushed to get a fix out as quickly as possible, and on May 3 an update was released. End of problem, right?

"The security emergency release to fix the PHP CGI RCE (that was tested for days...) does not fix anything at all," wrote Stefan Esser, creator of the Suhosin PHP security extension.

Guess not.

The group did release a fix for its fix late yesterday evening. I have a feeling that the PHP Group is crossing its fingers that this stops the recent string of bad news.

Does it worry anybody else that for a scripting language that is found under the hood of millions of Web sites out there, its creators are sure having a lot of code and scripting errors?

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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