31 March 2009 | 5,281 views

Microsoft Open Source Security Tool – !exploitable Crash Analyzer

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Finally Microsoft is doing something proactive and perhaps even slightly ahead of the game, a real game-change for the security community.

They have released a new AND open-source tool to make debugging easier, it gives developers a lot of help during the release cycle to build more secure software. Mostly because it takes the legwork and labour intensive tasks and semi-automates them leaving the developer to concentrate on more important stuff.

At least something from Microsoft we can applaud!

Microsoft on Friday released an open-source program designed to streamline the labor-intensive process of identifying security vulnerabilities in software while it’s still under development.

As its name suggests, !exploitable Crash Analyzer (pronounced “bang exploitable crash analyzer”) combs through bugs that cause a program to seize up, and assesses the likelihood of them being exploited by attackers. Dan Kaminsky, a well-known security expert who also provides consulting services to Microsoft, hailed the release a “game changer” because it provides a reliable way for developers to sort through thousands of bugs to identify the several dozen that pose the greatest risk.

“Microsoft has taken years of difficulties with security vulnerabilities and really condensed that experience down to a repeatable tool that takes a look at a crash and says ‘You better take a look at this,’” Kaminsky told The Reg. “What makes !exploitable so fascinating is that it takes at least the first level of this knowledge and packages it up into something that can be in the workflow.”

It’s a great idea, as surely there are a lot of conditions that cause an application to hang – but the majority of them will pose no security risk other than a denial of service locally (which is quite pointless). The tool will point out those bugs that are exploitable and therefore can be considered critical issues.

I hope developers harness this app and really start to produce more secure code.

Over the past five years, Microsoft has made a fair amount of progress hardening its operating systems and applications against the most-common security threats. Protections such as Address Space Layout Randomization and cross-site scripting defenses have been added to later versions of Windows and Internet Explorer, respectively. And the company has generally managed to exorcise its programs of dangerous vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by attackers.

Now, Microsoft wants to help secure third-party applications that run on top of Windows. Last year, the company released a threat-modeling tool and other resources designed to help software developers kick-start secure development lifecycle programs in their organizations. The idea was to package the security experience Microsoft has attained so it can serve as a sort of template for other companies.

The release of !exploitable, which was announced at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, is a continuation of that effort. It’s a Windows debugger extension that’s used during fuzz testing, when testers test the stability and security of an application by throwing unexpected data at it.

The tool creates hashes to ensure each crash is unique then rates them according to how exploitable it is – Exploitable, Probably Exploitable, Probably Not Exploitable or Unknown.

There is currently an x86 and an x64 version availalble.

As wisely said, it’s about the signal to noise ratio and this tool can really help you weed out the noise and get to the important issues.

You can download the application here:

!exploitable Crash Analyzer – MSEC Debugger Extensions

Source: The Register



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