Finding exploitable vulnerabilities is getting harder. This statement of Dennis Fisher published on Kaspersky’s Threatpost blog summarizes a trend in the development lifecycle of software . The last published vulnerabilities that were gaining some attention in the public had all one thing in common, they were quite hard to exploit. The so called jailbreakme vulnerability was based on several different vulnerabilities that had to be chained together to break out of the iPhone sandbox, escalate its privileges and run arbitrary code. Modern software and especially modern operating systems are more secure, they contain less software flaws and more protection features that make reliable exploitation a big problem that can only be solved by very skilled hackers. Decades ago it was just like this, but intelligent tools and sharing of the needed knowledge enabled even low skilled people to develop working exploits and attack vulnerable systems. Nowadays we are going back to the roots where only a few very knowledgeable people are able to circumvent modern security controls, but that doesn’t mean that all problems are gone. Attackers are moving to design flaws like the DLL highjacking problem, so only the class of attacks is changing from the old school memory corruption vulnerabilities to logical flaws that still can be exploited easily. But the number of exploitable vulnerabilities is decreasing, so this might be a sign that we are on the right way to develop reliable and secure systems and that developing companies are adopting Microsofts Secure Development Lifecycle (SDL) to produce more secure software. As stated in my previous blogpost the protection features are available, but not used very often. But if they are used and if the developers are strictly following the recommendations of the SDL, this trend of “harder to exploit vulnerabilities” proves that it can be a success story to do so.
Have a bug-free day 😉