The F-Secure World in Turmoil

Article by George Norman (Cybersecurity Editor)

on 22 Oct 2008

F-Secure has been in the media spotlight recently due to three factors: it has reported growing revenues for the third quarter of 2008; it has drawn the world’s attention for the need to create an Interpol equivalent for the IT world; and last but not least, security vulnerabilities have been discovered in some F-Secure products.

Let’s start with the security issues since these are the ones that are most likely to affect you, the PC user. F-Secure, for those of you that do not already know this, is a company that specializes in providing antivirus software and Internet security tools. The discovery of the security vulnerability, which has been deemed critical (the highest rating possible), is attributed to Tamas Feher.

The FrSIRT (French Security Incident Response Team) say that when malformed RPM files are processed an integer overflow error occurs. When the antivirus software scans compressed archives, the integer overflow allows the attacker to gain system level control of the targeted machine. A total of 26 F-secure software products are vulnerable – we will name just a few: F-Secure Internet Security 2008, F-Secure Anti-Virus 2008, F-Secure Home Server Security 2009, F-Secure Linux Security 7.01, and so on.

A patch has been issued and F-Secure customers that use these software applications are very well advised to download and install it as soon as possible.

Now, regarding the quarterly report that F-Secure has just issued. It seems that the market crisis did not affect the software company. The shares are up by 5 points, revenues have increased to €28.6 million, and profits have rose to €7.1 million. According to Martti Larjo, analyst with Nordea, these are the best results in the history of the company.

F-Secure has used the release of their Q3 report to draw attention to online crime. Their chief research officer has stated that online crime should be treated with the utmost respect by the authorities and consequently an international police force should be established. This would in many ways resemble Interpol, just that it would deal with online crimes. A name has already been suggested: Internetpol.

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