IBM's ISS blasts security rival Trend Micro over bugs

A security company owned by IBM is publicly blasting rival Trend Micro

In an unusual move, a security company owned by IBM has publicly blasted a rival for not patching reported bugs in its enterprise-grade, server-side antivirus software.

On Monday, David Dewey, a researcher with IBM's Internet Security Systems, explained why his company had released several advisories that covered multiple vulnerabilities in Trend Micro's ServerProtect software, even though according to IBM, Trend has not fixed the flaws.

X-Force, the research arm of IBM's security group, reported the first bugs to Trend two years ago, said Dewey, and followed up with additional vulnerability reports through January 2008. But Trend's response was unsatisfactory. "Each time, Trend would assure us that fixes would be provided in the next scheduled patch," he said in a post to the X-Force blog. "We have worked with them through four security patches, and in all cases, the reported vulnerabilities were ignored or the solution they implemented was inadequate."

One fix Trend released, Dewey said, was "easily evaded in a matter of minutes after installation of the patch."

When X-Force got nowhere by working with Trend Micro directly, it instead tried to coordinate with its competitor through CERT/CC (Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center) and JPCERT, Japan's CERT group. Trend Micro is headquartered in Tokyo.

Even that, however, didn't work, Dewey claimed. "They responded to each of those organizations the same way they did to us, which was to dismiss true problem resolution and try to indicate their workarounds were sufficient to consider the issues addressed," he said.

X-Force essentially tossed in the towel. "It is apparent that we have reached a crossroads with Trend," Dewey said, "where they are unable or unwilling to sufficiently patch these eight critical vulnerabilities reported by X-Force. At this point, I feel it is important to let our customers know about the inherent and abundant security risks of running TrendMicro ServerProtect."

Tuesday, the company posted four advisories that sketched out only the vaguest details about the eight vulnerabilities X-Force says it has found in ServerProtect, an antivirus program that runs on Windows, Linux and Netware. Unlike traditional advisories, which are usually issued only after a patch is available, X-Force's omitted the kind of technical details that might give hackers clues on finding and exploiting the bugs.

A security researcher and an industry analyst both said X-Force's public chastising of Trend is unusual.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags antivirustrend microiss

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

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?