Open-source security shines in Samba case

Thursday, 24 April 2003, 12:15 AM EST

Recently discovered security holes in Samba were serious threats to companies using the popular freeware, which enables end users to access and use files, printers and other commonly shared resources on a company's network or via the Internet.

But they also demonstrated how the code-review process among those in the open-source community can ferret out vulnerabilities and how developers have adopted a new mindset, one in which secure coding is often seen as paramount over features and functionality.

Security holes in open-source applications and systems have been making news in the last 12 months, with highly publicized flubs in Sendmail, Snort, Apache and PHP grabbing headlines. Samba joined that group with separate security warnings on March 14 and April 7. The first warned of a flaw in Samba's main SMBD code which could allow an external attacker to remotely and anonymously gain root privileges on a server running a Samba server. SMBD is the server daemon that provides file-sharing and printing services to Windows clients. The second was a buffer overflow flaw that could also enable an attacker to remotely hijack a Samba server.

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