Did Google engineer act irresponsibly over Microsoft zero-day disclosure?

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

If I were responsible for security at Microsoft I would be less than pleased with Google right now.

Here’s the story. A Google security engineer, Tavis Ormandy, sent details of a zero-day vulnerability he had discovered in Windows XP to Microsoft on Saturday June 5th.

The vulnerability could allow malicious hackers to exploit a security hole in the Windows Help and Support Center, that could allow them to run malicious code on a victim’s computer. Ormandy explained that the attack can be brought about through popular browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari, and is even easier to exploit when Windows Media Player is present.

Microsoft acknowledged receipt of Tavis Ormandy’s vulnerability report on the same day that he sent it to them.

So far, so normal. What happened next though is where things get controversial.

In the early hours of Thursday (June 10th), just five days after informing Microsoft of the security hole, the Google researcher decided to make his…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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