Patch slipup raises security questions

Friday, 22 November 2002, 12:32 PM EST

Last week, the Internet Software Consortium withheld the patch for a critical flaw in the domain name system (DNS) software from a large number of researchers, asking instead that each person send the organization an e-mail request in order to get the fix. The software, known as the Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND) program, performs a critical function as the address book for the Net.

The delay, coupled with messages sent to several administrators urging them to pay to become part of an early-warning group run by the ISC, has some security experts worried that security is taking a backseat to secrecy and money.

"It's a concern, especially with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act being used by some companies to threaten researchers," said Greg Shipley, chief technology officer of security consultancy Neohapsis. "The bottom line is the industry cannot agree on a responsible disclosure process, and the community and the Internet at large suffer."

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