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Author Topic: Google “Project Zero” hopes to find zero-day vulnerabilities before the NSA  (Read 1206 times)

Renegade

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This is darkly funny:

http://arstechnica.c...ties-before-the-nsa/

Quote
"You should be able to use the Web without fear that a criminal or state-sponsored actor is exploiting software bugs to infect your computer, steal secrets, or monitor your communications," writes Google security researcher Chris Evans. To help make that a reality, Google has put together a new team of researchers whose sole purpose is to find security flaws in software—any software—that's used on the Internet.

Google employees have found and reported security flaws in the past, but only as a part-time effort. The new "Project Zero" team will be dedicated to hunting for the kind of exploitable flaws that could be used to spy on human rights activists or conduct industrial espionage. Aiming to disrupt targeted attacks, the team will look at any software that's depended on by a large number of people.

Project Zero will report bugs it finds only to the software vendor, and it will give those vendors 60 to 90 days to issue patches before public disclosure. This time frame may be reduced for bugs that appear to be actively exploited.

Sounds like they're trying to not be evil! :D

But Google racing against the NSA and GCHQ to find exploits? That's just hilarious!

I guess we should wish them good luck. And hope that they don't have any "accidents"...

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Deozaan

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Sounds cool... Until the NSA force Google to share all the vulnerabilities Project Zero finds, and serves them with a gag order so they can't tell anybody else about them.


rgdot

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We can be pretty certain that if NSA is in bed with Google it has already happened. It won't start with Project Zero, in 2015, 2020, or year whatever in the future.

TaoPhoenix

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Okay, picking my words a little and hoping I get my tone right...

I get that Google (and Facebook and all kinds of other gangs) are *selling info*. It's sleazy, but to me that's "grey hat". It's "we're psychologically manipulating you to make money, but you knew that but we made the services nice and fun/useful so you don't care". I've been reading a huge Star Trek DS9 Re-Watch overview, and that feels so like a Quark move - he's devious but eventually even he draws his lines.

Secret silent software bugs that only X number of governments even know exist is a whole other level of Black Hat. (Really, somewhere in the combo of Heartbleed and the True-Crypt mess I got grumpier than I have been in a while.)

So Google isn't some poor 12 man op with a lonely tech who was beaten by big guys - behind the sales guys there's a *lot* of tech crunching firepower there. So *maybe* the Agencies have a bit of a lead on them, but I'd bet not as big as those Agencies thought.

It's a fascinating twist - Govt can beat up "little guys" a few at a time in a Divide and Conquer strategy, but what if this story catches on, and then Microsoft and Facebook and Apple and Samsung and your choice of others jump in?

(I put Samsung in there because software bugs know no boundaries, so it's specifically a test of geographic negotiations beyond the US level.)

Short Selling jokes aside, can the US even manage to indict the CEO's of all of US tech? Their dealmaking might just be on the verge of coming to bite them. (There was a TV series about all that, corps, totally owning govt openly and outright.)

When we're not busy snarking in the Basement or the Living Room, having a gaping security flaw in software isn't good for any of these companies. So maybe (making up a name) Gennady Li Chandarovskiyij-Maharujshi is the greatest programmer alive at one of the Agencies, but can he really stand up to a world wide team that's now pissed off??

Going all story fiction for a moment, imagine it:
All these companies, led by the big dogs with little guys lending a spare hour;
CEO's around the world getting royally pissed and saying "our products are dominant enough and we have time to put away our micro-jockeying. Let's spend an entire year and 700 billion dollars/whatever to clean this mess up. Grab anyone who has any legit idea whatsoever about software security and let them do whatever they want (jokes aside), no questions asked including extra perks like the 90's like croissant sandwiches in the break room."

US Govt is slowly winning the PR war against "Anonymous", but what if the Big Tech companies with tips from millions of freelancers all unite and say "Thanks for all the fish, yummy, now watch what you made! We have a worldwide "team" of over a *thousand* software people (and four space aliens, only three of which you know about.) Do you *really* wanna keep doing this? Or can we just get back to selling people's info for money?"

At least in my imagination I wanna believe we're on the verge of Tech calling Govt's bluff that they've been going "Divide and Subdue" too long, and the beautiful part is all the bribery is (mostly) illegal - how can they even pretend to shout about 770 companies and 12,345,845 freelancers all spending an entire year on software security?

So that's my message of daydream hope!
:)

« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 08:18:58 PM by TaoPhoenix »