Germany-based security services provider Cure53 has conducted a security audit of Dovecot and determined that the software lives up to its reputation of being highly secure.
Dovecot is an open-source IMAP and POP3 email server for Linux and UNIX-like systems, designed with a focus on security. An Internet scan performed by Open Email Survey in March 2016 showed that Dovecot had been installed on nearly 1.9 million servers, having a market share of 68 percent.
Cure53 conducted the audit through the Mozilla Secure Open Source (SOS) program. Four experts analyzed the software over a period of 20 days, including via manual code reviews and penetration testing.
Researchers discovered only three minor issues that have been addressed by Dovecot developers.
“Regardless of complexity, most of the issues and concerns prompted by the code have ultimately turned out non-exploitable. For the most part, they have not warranted creation of dedicated issue-tickets. It is important to underscore that even the areas which looked exploitable at first glance were equipped with an important value of being checked properly, thus having all attack potential successfully mitigated,” Cure53 said in its report.
“It is noticeable that Dovecot has already received a lot of scrutiny regarding its code security. For a complex piece of software that Dovecot constitutes, it is an extremely rare result to stand strong with so few problems,” the company added.
Dovecot’s primary developer, Timo Sirainen, says he is prepared to offer €1,000 of his own money to the first person who finds a serious vulnerability in the software. More than a dozen security holes have been found over the past decade, but most of them are only minor issues. Before the Mozilla SOS audit, the last vulnerability reported to Dovecot developers was a denial-of-service (DoS) flaw discovered in May 2014.
This is not the only audit conducted by Cure53 through the Mozilla SOS program. The company’s experts also audited cURL and discovered a total of nine vulnerabilities, including ones rated “high severity.”
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