Either way, here is my take on the last month, plus a peek at what is coming down the pike/pipe.
ASP.NET Oracle Thingy
So this was a biggie for .NET developers, ASP.NET developers in particular. As you likely know by now, it had nothing to do with Oracle Corporation or any of their technology. I won't explain what it was, since others have done better than I ever could. The vulnerability hit the internet blog posts mid-September and a fix was in place soon after. Microsoft ranked it as a big deal, though my first glance at it was no big deal. I still think they made it a bigger deal than it needed to be, but honestly it was refreshing to see such movement and activity on it. So why didn't I think it was a big deal? It was something that would take some time to exploit. Sure, the payloads of web.config files and all that would be worth it, but it takes quite a bit of exploit attempts to get the thing to work.
Now, to play the other side of things, which I enjoy doing as well, I REALLY hope you have applied the patch Microsoft gave you for your servers! My lack of whizbang about the issue doesn't mean I find it something to ignore. In fact in this case it is the opposite. The noise and commotion over this vulnerability makes hackers go "ooooh, pretty lights..." and head TOWARDS the issue. If they weren't trying it before, they sure are now. I have no formal study-borne proof of my assertion, but I know human nature. Didn't it cross your mind just a little as to whether YOU could execute it? I did mine. I thought it would be cool to write a routine that ran through some stuff and tried it over and over, even if only on my localhost. The truly bad guys/gals are too. And for some reason this exploit seems accessible to novices...it isn't all complicated I guess.
Anyway, PATCH YOUR SERVERS if you haven't already.
Lots Of Us In The News
The SCADA one, however is different. Getting people to download a piece of software silently by just visiting a website, having your machine attack a single system in a concentrated effort, knocking that system down and still not being sure who attacked it...that to me is scary. Now, granted, where did it all start? Getting people to download software. They can either be silly enough to just surf to random sites where the software sits, or it is a good site that they go to that is silly enough to not close its holes. Again, Cross-Site Scripting and SQL Injection can really put the hurt on and allow lots of other attacks get the foothold they need to go forward.
I don't like to look too far forward in this field. It is a lot harder to predict than general technology or programming. But this is so clear and getting clearer every day. What is happening is that hackers are looking more at the application layer and developers are lagging more than ever. As we educate the good guys, we point out our flaws to the bad guys. And frankly, they have more to gain in attacking than we do in defending. Defense costs money and if you do it right you have nothing to show for it. "Hey boss! I need a raise! Nothing has hit us for a year!" Uh, yeah. Unfortunately, if nothing has hit you, it could be you are really good at defending or that hackers just haven't given you the time of day yet.
I am predicting a higher use of CSRF and that is coming to pass. I am also predicting that we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg on successful, intelligent attacks. SCADA, though somewhat complicated and highly organized, wasn't all that difficult. We still have the easy holes to plug. Once we plug those, and I don't know that we ever will completely, they will be a few steps ahead of us, ready and waiting with more complex attacks. I'm a glass half full guy, really I am, but the state of software security has me wondering WHEN not IF a large full-scale attack will wipe out the internet for an extended period. The bad guys are already taking our money from our accounts, stealing data from our companies, attacking our systems and they already are doing it rather silently. They are growing in understanding and savvy. We aren't. We aren't. We aren't.
Our bosses still expect us to make our sites 100% secure (impossible), and they are not training the rank and file developer on security. "You are the security folks. I count on YOU." But we can't follow every developer and do code reviews...it isn't feasible. We are still building crappy software and sites full of holes. And if you aren't even sure what the holes are in your code, shame on you but you aren't alone. Let me know if I can help. I am willing to educate you, point you to awesome training materials and sites, look at your code, build something for you. It really is time to get off the sidelines.