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May 2008

Reasearch on Coding Backdoors Presents Ugly Picture

Research ups awareness on backdoors that present attackers with a cheaper means of malware distribution and system access. Intelligence agencies call it SOUP, but it's hardly comfort food. Spelled out, it's software of unknown provenance (or pedigree), and it can be any off-the-shelf app made for business, government or the military where source code access or even documentation is unavailable. Generally, it's a dish being served by the global development supply chain and the business of outsourcing applications that are developed inexpensively anywhere--especially India and Asia-Pacific. For the most part, organizations that outsource are saving plenty, doing more with less and meeting other profit margin-related corporate mandates. But once the software is delivered, is it clean code? Or has an unscrupulous developer--perhaps one working for an unfriendly nation--left a backdoor? Sounds a little hokey and conspiratorial, but former L0pht hacker and Veracode founder Chris Wysopal urges companies not to ignore the threat. ...

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