Security Vendor Cuts Ties With CERT
Prominent security vendor NGS says CERT gave advance notice of vulnerabilties to vendors, government officials.A prominent U.K.-based security vendor well-known for finding dangerous vulnerabilities in a variety of software said on Monday that it would no longer work with the CERT Coordination Center after CERT personnel gave advance notice of several new vulnerabilities to a software vendor and some government officials. Researchers at Next Generation Security Software Ltd. were angered when a representative from a software vendor told them that CERT had a policy of providing advance information on vulnerabilities to some organizations and government agencies, which pay for this privilege. Mark Litchfield, co-founder of NGS Software, said he was unaware of the policy and was unhappy that CERT was collecting money for research that his company had done. While he acknowledged that CERT is a non-profit organization, Litchfield disputes its right to charge for others work. "My problem is that we provide CERT with this information with the sole view to using their own database of security alert subscribers to help the administrator of a corporate network become aware of the situation [and] the impact it has to them with the hope that there would be an increase in the uptake of patching," Litchfield said. "I do not wish to help them in any fashion profiting from our hard research. We dont even profit from it, why should they?"
CERT, based at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, is partially funded by the federal government and serves as an independent clearinghouse of vulnerability and threat information. Its database of vulnerabilities is one of the most comprehensive anywhere.