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Showing posts from January, 2009

A single line assignment filled with epic fail

Today I've been working with a piece of third-party software. I was having big problems getting it working and decided to delve into its source (which was included).

I'm not going to name the application (and I've obscured the details below), but the bug is so epic that it manages to combine on a single line four separate types of bugs: a design bug, two implementation bugs, a security hole and an out of date comment.

The program needs to copy a file into a directory. In the process of doing so it sets write permission on the directory into which the file will be copied. The first bug is the design: the program shouldn't be updating permissions on a directory without the user having requested the change. If the directory isn't writable an exception should be generated and an appropriate error displayed.

This particular JavaScript program avoided all that by just setting write permission. It did it like this:

dir.permissions = 666; // Make the file writable


di…

The 2009 Spam Conference at MIT

For reasons unknown to me the Spam Conference in MIT for 2009 is happening but is not being advertised on the usual http://spamconference.org/ URL. If you are interested in attending then you need to hunt down the page http://projects.csail.mit.edu/spamconf/.

There you'll find that the conference is taking place March 26-27, 2009 at MIT and you'll also find the Call for Papers. The submission deadline is March 9, 2009 and the topics being accepted are:
phishing, spyware spit (spam over internet telephony) spim (spam over instant messenger) SMS spam MMORPG spam blog spam trackback spam image spam stock pump-and-dumps email con games exploit marketing identity theft zombie bots and bot armies antispam systems hardware antispam countermeasures software antispam countermeasures wetware (a.k.a., liveware, meatware, i.e., user errors) blue-ware (i.e. employing the police).