Intel Relaxed Over Email Security
October 25, 2000
Intel's dinky little eMail Station, part of the InBusiness range it inherited from Dayna, turns out to be susceptible to simple denial of service attacks, but the chip behemoth doesn't seem to care a Hell of a lot.
The eMail Station has a 2GB hard disk and a NatSemi(!) 486 CPU and is aimed at small businesses wanting to support multiple email users using a single ISP account.
The computer security mailing list Bugtraq lists a potential vulnerability whereby the email Station can be locked up and will need to be powered off and on again to resume operation. As the device is designed to be controlled via a web browser, it will usually be located in a cupboard, under the stairs or even in a different building from its operator - places which will cause maximum inconvenience should a hardware reset become necessary.
The problem can be simply invoked by causing a buffer overflow (we have the details of how to replicate it, but in a rare attack of responsibility have decided to keep it to ourselves).
It is, however, Intel's response to the vulnerability that gives cause for concern.
The user discovering the problem was told that he was "using it in a way it's not supposed to be used".
As the user commented to The Reg: "It wouldn't surprise me if the problem could be addressed with a simple software patch, but the response given by Intel really shocked me."
Andrew Thomas, TheRegister.Co.Uk