Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why trust marks can't be trusted

Trustmarks & security badges don't provide security, just false confidence.

Hopefully,a month or so ago, you noticed the headlines and have read that Geeks.com, via its parent company Genica Corp, has settled with the FTC and will allow "allow federal regulators to monitor its website security for 10 years to settle charges it violated federal laws requiring it to adequately safeguard sensitive customer data."
I'd be remiss in my duties if I didn't remind you, dear reader, that Geeks.com was a Hacker Safe (now McAfee Secure) site.
I'm certain that if you've ever read my blog before you know I've taken McAfee Secure to task numerous times, and consider my point well established.
It's all really part of a larger discussion that should come as no surprise.
The only value of a trust mark/security badge is to the merchant wielding it, often under false pretenses. I've not met a trust mark yet amongst whose customers I couldn't find web application security flaws.
Forget what this means for PCI compliance. Every one of the examples I'm about to present is likely beholden to PCI in some form or fashion.
The reality is, they all display a trust mark, and aren't worthy of that trust. Consumers are at risk, plain and simple.
Let's explore, shall we?
There's WebSafe Shield's Hacker Free Site, or Comodo's HackerProof, perhaps Security Metrics Credit Card Safe(more on them in the near future), and my new favorite in security hilarity, Control Scan.
Remember former Hacker Safe fangirl, Cresta Pillsbury, she of "we go in like a super hacker" fame? When she jumped ship with jaded judiciousness, she placed herself squarely in Control Scan's camp carte blanche. Talk about the blind leading the blind.
In the interest of protecting customers and merchants (who've ignored disclosure notices), I'm going to provide screen shots a variety of vulnerabilities, without indicating who sufferers from it specifically. Rather, we'll focus only the trust marks displayed handsomely next to the realized vulnerability.

We'll begin with WebSafe Shield's Hacker Free Site. Here's an example IFRAMEd with a real trust mark innovator, Scanless PCI:



Here's a ControlScan customer, IFRAMEd with XSSed.com:



Finally, this one's my favorite. This is a Comodo Hacker Proof site (you'll have to trust me on this (pun intended)), helpfully barfing database schema for the world to read:



Need I remind you that any merchant receiving customer PII and credit card data that is vulnerable to XSS, CSRF, or SQLi is not Hacker Proof, or Hacker Free, or Hacker Safe?
They should simply be labeled Hacker Ready.

*sigh*...now I'm depressed.

Thanks to Joe Pierini for participating with me in this conversation for some time now.

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1 comment:

Rafal said...

Hey Russ! Thanks for the link-back and mention on my long, long conversation with Comodo's "Hacker Proof" marketing machine. I never did get any of my actual questions answered...

Anyway, I agonized over this, and can't believe I'm about to do it...

[puts on horns to play Devil's advocate]

... but from the consumer's perspective, isn't the prospect of having your merchant done *something* to protect your information better than not knowing whether they're doing anything... or nothing? I realize compliance is a point-in-time exercise but that's the nature of the machine...right?

... yea, now back to reality. I wish the FTC would take companies like this to task... seriously. This is FRAUD at very least...