Month of ActiveX Bugs (MoAxB)

May 2, 2007

Here we go again. Someone's planning to release one bug a day having to do with ActiveX in May.

Perhaps the biggest vulnerability research fad in the last year or so has been the "month of (whatever) bugs." Whatever. This time it's ActiveX, and the MoAxB or (as the author, after saying "sorry for my poor english," puts it: "Month of ActiveX Bug."

The author says: most of them are simple DoS (don't worry there are also some code execution) but that's because MoAxB has only a sense: to inform developers about the risk of using activex controls. (A DoS (Denial of Service) (in this context) is a bug that crashes an application.)

Some DoS bugs are evidence of hidden code execution bugs, but not all are. Don't assume that a DoS bug indicates anything more than the ability to crash a program by feeding it bad input.

Furthermore, the author is somewhat misleading when he refers to the risks of using ActiveX controls. The first bug of the month (see below) is probably typical: It's a commercial program that runs in the context of a Web browser. The fact that it's an ActiveX control has little or nothing to do with the bug. If the program were in another form, such as a Firefox plug-in, it would likely have the same bug.

On to the first bug: It's (as promised) a DoS in a third-party PowerPoint viewer control .

Not an auspicious opening for the MoAxB, but perhaps more important bugs will be forthcoming.

Copyright 2007 by Ziff Davis Media, Distributed by United Press International

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