Security vendors and trust.
A big part of my predictions for 2016, that I’ll publish shortly, is that security is going to be a huge issue. I think we’re really going to see receivers expecting senders to have their houses in order when it comes to sending mail.
Of course, some filter companies need to get their houses in order to. Yesterday, a security researcher went public with problems in the TrendMicro anti-virus appliance. These vulnerabilities would let any email sender remotely execute code on the recipients machine with no interaction of the user. They also exposed all the passwords on the machine to the outside world.
Even worse, Trend doesn’t seem to understand the urgency to fix this. They have started releasing patches for the exploits, but there are significant problems with the patched versions as well.
If you’re a Trend user, you may want to consider other vendors for desktop security. I know that no security is perfect and that other vendors have problems, too. But shipping a password manager that exposes all passwords is just incompetence. It seems like a corporate lack of understanding of what their business is and how to actually create security software.
Even worse is that lack of urgency from the Trend folks as the security researchers are explaining the problem. I don’t care if the person receiving the report was the janitor, anything that says security exploit should be escalated to someone who can determine if the report is valid.
Compare Trend’s reaction to this to Juniper’s reaction to discovering a backdoor in their code in December. First off, Juniper found the exploit during a routine code review. That alone tells you Juiper is continually monitoring their code security. Second, Juniper was reasonably open about the issue, with executives posting blogs and security posting advisories talking about the issue. More importantly, they shared how they were going to fix it and prevent it from happening again.
Security is such a large issue right now. We have to be able to trust our vendors to do what they’re selling us. Every vendor is going to make mistakes and have vulnerabilities. No code and no developer is perfect. I do expect, though, that vendors will take exploits seriously and act fast in order to correct the problem. I’m not seeing that sense of urgency with Trend.