eEye Research Report: In Configuration We Trust

Marc Maiffret, May 9th, 2011

In configuration we trust. This statement couldn’t be truer to my research team and me, especially after discovering some of the findings in our latest report, which we publicly released last week. In the report, we describe simple configuration changes and software version upgrades that could mitigate many application vulnerabilities before patches are available. Some of these changes could even repel highly sophisticated attacks like Stuxnet and Aurora.

I wanted to post a quick blog on why I am personally pushing IT security people to read this information and where possible, make the changes we recommend. First things first: please go download the paper at

So, one of the main reasons I’m strongly encouraging you to take these recommendations seriously is that you can’t simply rely on technology solutions to protect your IT environment. As we state in the paper, you must step back and look beyond technology to build a strong foundation. Properly configuring your systems is a relatively easy and totally free way to do this.

For example, by simply disabling certain features within MS WebDAV and document converters, you would mitigate 12 percent of related vulnerabilities and defend against DLL Hijacking attacks. Another huge finding that will surely cause some heads to shake is fact that upgrading to the latest major release versions of Microsoft software will mitigate more than 50 percent of all MS vulnerabilities identified in 2010.

The other reason that I feel strongly about publishing this report is my desire to kick-start conversation about security best practices within the IT community. The eEye research team chose to cover areas that we feel are important, but the broader point is that there are many things that can be done around proper security configuration and this report only scratches the surface. If researchers and other tech experts contributed more to the conversation, we wouldn’t just hear about big scary attacks or the latest super product. We’d bring the dialogue into a much more reality-based realm and do more to educate and improve the security of business networks.