Friday, May 09, 2008

Hacker Free Site?...Yeah, right.

So as not to seemingly pick only on McAfee Hacker Safe, I thought it appropriate to show just how ridiculous the entire premise of calling anything Hacker Safe, Hacker Proof, and now WebSafe Shield Hacker Free Site really is. For you, dear reader, a new video for your streaming pleasure, courtesy of the WebSafe Shield Hacker Free Site.
My brother in arms in the battle against BS, Rafal Los, has already called out Comodo for their Hacker Proof fluff on the Digital Soapbox.
I simply couldn't let this one pass without a little extra scrutiny. I Googled hacker safe to see what else popped up and bam, there's WebSafe Shield in the sponsored links for "70% less than Hacker Safe" to boot!
I had literally about ten minutes to kill, and in less than two minutes, more XSS silliness courtesy of the sites with starring roles in the latest installation in our growing video series. The home page for WebSafe Shield lists and with such inanities as "My customers feel more safe and more likely to sign up knowing I operate a secure website." and "If you're interested in increasing your conversions, I'd suggest you sign up for WebSafe Shield." Doesn't that sum it up? Forget protecting the consumer. Let's just blindly lead the sheep to the wolves with some Hacker Free Site logo that means nothing in order to "increase conversions."
WebSafe Shield vaguely discuss their methodology here; I just love:
#6 - How do you conduct your security scans?
"We use industry-standard software and methodologies to scan, test and identify security vulnerabilities. We first scan for open ports, and for each open port, we identify the service and software for that port, and report any security vulnerabilities."

Wow, open ports. Let me're using Nessus?
The only discussion of web application security is on their rather vague Security Tips page. It's a perfectly generic read and they make no mention of actually scanning for those vulns, only open ports, and that they "report any security vulnerabilities." Maybe they keep it vague intentionally so they can more easily duck the criticism. I can imagine the answer to this question. Why are both the sites proudly listed front and center on your home page vulnerable to XSS and yet showing their WebSafe Shield Hacker Free Site logos? Likely because they only mention XSS, but don't actually scan for it. Probably not SQLi either. Just open ports. Please. Maybe that 70% discount over Hacker Safe means you're not making enough to build a service that can find XSS, the most prevalent of all web application vulnerabilities.
I'll say the same thing to WebSafe Shield that I've said to McAfee. Stop misleading people with some crappy little logo that you wouldn't take down for anything in the world (you wouldn't want to tick off your customer base, right?).
What about the consumers using those sites who actually fall for your misleading false premises? What's your answer to them? XSS doesn't count because you can't hack the server with it? Who is the victim of a well executed XSS attack?
The consumer, not your ill-coding customers.
In case you missed it earlier, here's the video.
The last little gem, and I quote: "Our security professionals are CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certified." Oh goody. Maybe you can charge a wee bit more than "70% less than Hacker Safe" and help your customers build secure web apps on behalf of consumers, rather than driving conversions on behalf of your customers, and ultimately your investors.

WebSafe Shield, you're welcome to comment. | digg


Rafal Los said...

Smashing job, as always Russ.

I really hope our research into these marketing shams does both of the following:

1. Exposes the fraud that these 'security seals' perpotrate
2. Forces the customers who have these seals on their sites to re-examine their vendor

My real hope is that in the end, we expose enough of this "We're secure because we have a seal on our site" so that companies start to do some real security. This crap has to end now, if for no other reason than for the sake of online consumers.

Anonymous said...

What's worse is that we're literally being forced into obtaining a "PCI Compliant" seal per our CC Merchant provider.

It wouldn't be a big issue but most of these companies have outrageous prices for the little that they do (in my experience).

Anonymous said...

This is great info to know.

Moving blog to

toolsmith and HolisticInfoSec have moved. I've decided to consolidate all content on one platform, namely an R markdown blogdown sit...