What's the price of a new Windows 8 zero-day vulnerability?

French security company Vupen is selling a vulnerability in Microsoft's latest operation system and browser

It's not exactly the type of advertisement most people would understand.

For sale: "Our first 0day for Win8+IE10 with HiASLR/AntiROP/DEP & Prot Mode sandbox bypass (Flash not needed)." It's part of a recent message on Twitter from Vupen, a French company that specializes in finding vulnerabilities in widely used software from companies such as Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and Oracle.

Vupen occupies a grayish area of computer security research, selling vulnerabilities to vetted parties in governments and companies but not sharing the details with affected software vendors. The company advocates that its information helps organizations defend themselves from hackers, and in some cases, play offense as well.

Vupen has found a problem somewhere in Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system and its Internet Explorer 10 browser. The flaw has not been publicly disclosed or fixed by the company yet.

Vupen's finding is one of the first issues for Windows 8, released last week, and Internet Explorer 10, although vulnerabilities have since been found in other third-party software that runs on the Windows 8.

Dave Forstrom, Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing director, said the company encourages researchers to participate in its Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure program, which asks that people give it time to fix the software problem before publicly disclosing it.

"We saw the tweet, but further details have not been shared with us," Forstrom said in a statement.

Vupen's Twitter message, written on Wednesday, implies the vulnerability would allow a hacker to bypass security technologies contained within Windows 8, including high-entropy Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR), anti-Return Oriented Programming and DEP (data execution prevention) measures. The company also indicates it is not dependent on a problem with Adobe System's Flash multimedia program.

"Certainly, if the bug is confirmed, then this could be a black eye for Microsoft having their brand new and touted most secure platform already found flawed just after its public release," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations for nCircle.

The market opportunity for a successful exploit may be limited due to the recent release of Windows 8, but "on the other hand, nobody has confirmed this bug isn't also functional on older version of Windows or IE," Storms said.

Jody Melbourne, a penetration tester and senior consultant with the Sydney-based Australian security company HackLabs, said the vulnerability could be useful to hackers targeting, for example, third-party Microsoft developers and interested in stealing code-signing certificates or source code.

So what's the vulnerability worth? It's hard to say. Vupen doesn't publish a public price list. But Melbourne said "the value of the bug will only increase with time, of course, the longer Vupen sits on it and if no one else stumbles upon it."

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

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 Microsoftoperating systemssoftwareWindowsWindows 8Exploits / vulnerabilitiesDesktop securityVupen

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

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?