The British intelligence agency GCHQ has disclosed more than 20 vulnerabilities affecting multiple software. The information was shared by a GCHQ spokesperson with the Motherboard.
The flaws were discovered by the CESG (Communications-Electronics Security Group), which is considered the Information Security Arm of GCHQ.
“So far in 2016 GCHQ/CESG has disclosed more than 20 vulnerabilities across a number of software products,” is the statement released by the GCHQ spokesperson to Motherboard.
Among the vulnerabilities disclosed by the CESG this year, there is also a serious flaw in the Firefox Browser version 46, a kernel vulnerability in OS X El Captain v10.11.4, a couple of vulnerabilities in Squid, and two bugs in the iOS 9.3.
Some of the bugs allow attackers to execute arbitrary code on the vulnerable devices.
“We are not always credited by vendors for bugs that we disclose. We ask companies for credit in bulletins that they may publish, but recognise that this is not always possible,” said a GCHQ spokesperson.
The disclosure of security flaws affecting products on the market is unusual when dealing with intelligence agencies and law enforcement that use to exploit them for their hacking operations.
The information disclosed by Andrew Leman, in an interview with BBC confirm the existence of groups of experts inside the organizations that anonymously leak information about Tor vulnerabilities in order for the bugs to get patched.
“There’s a lot of groundswell of support as to what is going on, but at the same time there’s the other half of the organization that is: ‘You know what? People shouldn’t have privacy,’ and ‘Let’s go out and attack these things,’”“So there is always a balance between those who protect our freedom and liberty and those who don’t want you to have it.” Lewman said.
Lewman confirmed that agency insiders ordinary used Tor’s mechanism for anonymous bug submissions which doesn’t request any information to the researchers which provide information on bugs in the Tor network.
“There are plenty of people in both organizations who can anonymously leak data to us to say maybe you should look here, maybe you should look at this to fix this,” “And they have. Lewmansaid.
(Security Affairs – GCHQ / CESG, hacking)