R – Hacking and exploiting – How to deal with any security holes you find


Today online security is a very important factor. Many businesses are completely based online, and there is tons of sensitive data available to check out only by using your web browser.

Seeking knowledge to secure my own applications I've found that I'm often testing others applications for exploits and security holes, maybe just for curiosity. As my knowledge on this field has expanded by testing on own applications, reading zero day exploits and by reading the book The Web Application Hacker's Handbook: Discovering and Exploiting Security Flaws, I've come to realize that a majority of online web applications are really exposed to a lot of security holes.

So what do you do? I'm in no interest of destroying or ruining anything, but my biggest "break through" on hacking I decided to alert the administrators of the page. My inquiry was promptly ignored, and the security hole has yet not been fixed. Why wouldn't they wanna fix it? How long will it be before someone with bad intentions break inn and choose to destroy everything?

I wonder why there's not more focus on this these days, and I would think there would be plenty of business opportunities in actually offering to test web applications for security flaws. Is it just me who have a too big curiosity or is there anyone else out there who experience the same? It is punishable by law in Norway to actually try break into a web page, even if you just check the source code and find the "hidden password" there, use it for login, you're already breaking the law.

Best Solution

"Ive found that Im often testing others applications for exploits and security holes, maybe just for curiosity".

In the UK, we have the "Computer Misuse Act". Now if these applications you're proverbially "looking at" are say Internet based and the ISP's concerned can be bothered to investigate (for purely political motivations) then you're opening yourself up getting fingered. Even doing the slightest "testing" unlesss you are the BBC is sufficient to get you convicted here.

Even Penetration Test houses require Sign Off from companies who wish to undertake formal work to provide security assurance on their systems.

To set expectations on the difficulty in reporting vulnerabilties, I have had this with actual employers where some pretty serious stuff has been raised and people have sat on it for months from the likes of brand damage to even completely shutting down operations to support an annual £100m E-Com environment.

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