"No way to prevent this" say users of only language where this regularly happens

Published on , 223 words, 1 minutes to read

An image of A forlorn business man resting his head on a brown wall next to a window.
A forlorn business man resting his head on a brown wall next to a window. - Photo by Andrea Piacquadio, source: Pexels

In the hours following the release of CVE-2024-28820 for the project OpenVPN Auth-LDAP, site reliability workers and systems administrators scrambled to desperately rebuild and patch all their systems to fix a vulnerability where passing fourteen colons into the password field when the attacker knows a valid username, causing a buffer overflow. This is due to the affected components being written in C, the only programming language where these vulnerabilities regularly happen. "This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there's nothing anyone can do to stop them," said programmer King Edmond Wiegand, echoing statements expressed by hundreds of thousands of programmers who use the only language where 90% of the world's memory safety vulnerabilities have occurred in the last 50 years, and whose projects are 20 times more likely to have security vulnerabilities. "It's a shame, but what can we do? There really isn't anything we can do to prevent memory safety vulnerabilities from happening if the programmer doesn't want to write their code in a robust manner." At press time, users of the only programming language in the world where these vulnerabilities regularly happen once or twice per quarter for the last eight years were referring to themselves and their situation as "helpless."

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