Inside the black market 'bug trade'

Better code the only ammunition against black market software vulnerabilities

"We always recommend users to have a firewall, because it puts a barrier in between a weakness and the rest of the world," he said. "But your firewall is made of software and even that can have vulnerability on it.

Rice claimed that while the total number of attacks and vulnerabilities is actually on the decline, the most critical, zero-day bugs are rising dramatically. He said the fact that software manufacturing processes has largely stayed the same in recent years might be contributing to the problem.

"Plus, hackers are developing extremely good software development practices for their malware," he added.

Rice also said that while the adoption of software engineering best practice guidelines, such as Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), is helpful, most companies don't have much incentive to continue to the highest levels of the program.

"Getting to a CMMI Level 5 can be very tedious and expensive," Rice said. "Until it becomes more expensive to not be at Level 5, there will be no incentive to get to that level."

And one look at the prices these vulnerabilities are going for on the black market, he said, is a testament to the size of these online criminal syndicates and the challenges they pose to software developers.

"A recent Internet Explorer exploit was priced at US$100,000, while some bugs have even reached upwards of US$250,000. Some of these cyber lords even have better research facilities than Symantec and McAfee right now."

Working to combat the bug trade are companies like iDefense Labs and TippingPoint Technologies, which often purchase vulnerabilities off the black market in order to help companies against potential attacks.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rafael Ruffolo

ComputerWorld Canada
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?