18 January 2007 | 6,211 views

PHP Security Specialist (Stefan Esser) Resigns

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This is sad news as PHP hasn’t particularly had a good security record in the past.

He has voiced his frustrations with the internal workings of the PHP team and the development process, he has been working hard to make PHP inherently more secure…But from the look of things it seems like he was having a tough time.

Stefan Esser, PHP security specialist and member of the official PHP Security Response Team has, he says, had enough – in his blog he has announced his immediate resignation from the PHP Security Response Team. He states that he has various reasons for doing so, the most important of which is that his attempt to make PHP safer “from the inside” is futile. According to Esser, as soon as you try to criticise PHP security, you become persona-non-grata in the security team. In addition many of his suggestions were ignored because the developers considered Esser’s choice of words, too abrasive. He says that he had stopped counting the number of times he was called a traitor when he published a bug report on a vulnerability in PHP.

Too abrasive? It’s security for goodness sake, it’s an important matter..Can’t they just suck up their egos for once and admit they are wrong and make the freaking thing more secure.

Esser wants to continue to publish his reports without worrying about whether or not a patch is available. He no longer wishes to cover up the slowness of the reaction time between discovery of a vulnerability and publication of this information. It is reasonable to expect that he will be publishing substantially more vulnerabilities in PHP in the future.

The disagreement between Esser and the PHP team seems to be particularly inflamed by the matter of how best to improve the security of PHP. While Esser feels that certain PHP functions are intrinsically unsafe (for example allow_url_fopen/allow_url_include) and should therefore be revised, many developers, including PHP specialists Zend, think that the security problems in PHP applications have simply been caused by inexperienced programmers.

I have to admit that is the wrong attitude, the language should make it as hard as possible for inexperienced programmers to make the application insecure.

That’s why Typesafe languages came about..

Source: Heise Security



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