12th USENIX Security Symposium Abstract
Pp. 75-90 of the Proceedings
Security Holes . . . Who Cares?
Eric Rescorla, RTFM, Inc.
We report on an observational study of user response following the OpenSSL remote buffer overflows of July 2002
and the worm that exploited it in September 2002. Immediately after the publication of the bug and its subsequent fix
we identified a set of vulnerable servers. In the weeks that
followed we regularly probed each server to determine
whether its administrator had applied one of the relevant
fixes. We report two primary results. First, we find that
administrators are generally very slow to apply the fixes.
Two weeks after the bug announcement, more than two
thirds of the servers were still vulnerable. Second, we identify several weak predictors of user response and find that
the pattern differs in the period following the release of the
bug and that following the release of the worm.
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