back to article SonicWALL licensing snafu short-circuits protection

SonicWALL has apologised for a license server outage that left some customers without firewall or email filtering protection for hours yesterday. The snafu affected enterise users of SonicWALL UTM Firewall, Email Security, Content Security appliances and meant that content filter, intrusion prevention and antivirus protection …


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  1. Tanuki

    Leaving the stable door open.

    Have they not heard of "default to secure" ?

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  3. Jerry Masterson
    Thumb Down


    Another example of a company so concerned that someone might be getting something for free that they are willing to put their entire customer base at risk.

  4. corestore


    If that had affected my business, I would unhesitatingly reverse engineer the software involved and *rip out* the function that disables the software.

    1. If you don't control your software, your software supplier controls YOU.

    2. If a 'glitch' could cause this to happen, how long before blackhats have an exploit that lets them spoof the firewall into dropping?


  5. Mike

    Just the begining

    Prepare to see more and more of this as a result of the "you don't own it, you just buy the rights to use it" mentality. I wonder if a used car dealer could set up something similar, unlicensed driving, speeding tickets, all a violation of our TOS, please return the vehicle, "oh no, you are mistaken, you didnt BUY the car, just the right to use it, as WE see fit".

    If you have to renew a key for something you already paid for, you are being screwed in a most impolite way.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Stopping pirating licenses > customer security

    Seems another case where the companies desire to protect their cash flow is more important than the customer's who actually purchased the software. None of the companies that have systems like this seems to have even conceived, or maybe just don't care, that their anti piracy practices might effect their customers, and therefore "forget" to factor in if the system that check licenses fails or is compromised. But what else is new, maybe at some point they'll be put to task, but I doubt it.

    It wouldn't surprise me at all if these license servers were often targets of attack, and/or run on MS server operating systems without adequate redundancy. For example, like so many large companies with too few active directory servers for the amount of things they make authenticate to it, which is something I've seen at companies such as Bausch and Lomb, and Globalcrossing, after they have been MCSE'd to insane levels. Apparently, creating a tool allowing the user to go in and unlock their own account is the obvious solution, NOT! But they do, makes the social-engineering/hackers job a LOT easier.

    But what do I know... sigh... Wish I'd never worked at corporate help desks, there is NO security except through obscurity anymore, except you can't secure an obscure system at all cause most admins don't even know how they work anymore with the turnover rate being so high in IT. (before anyone takes offense, I know a lot of admins know what they are doing, they're just the minority nowadays, or are not allowed to use the tools they know work)

    On a good note, at least it keeps the hackers focusing on the corporations more than the average users :P

  7. yeah, right.


    You write: "False positives for Windows Genuine Advantage left users unable to download updates from the software giant last year."

    Those weren't false positives. Those were the software finally working correctly at stopping known malware before a marketing bod went in and whitelisted it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just as the others have said...


    The way they implemented their Intellectual Property protection system simply just want to punish, regarless of whether it is intentional (ie, piracy) or unintentional (as in this case, downed license server). I guess having the software keep running for 24hours, just in case, is to them too much of a leeway for pirates or loophole for pirates to exploite.


  9. Steve B

    When I dealt with Sonicwall in their early days they were very good,

    But then they lost the plot customer support wise and it all went downhill from there. Shame really.

  10. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    A message... those who uses software with "online licence verification" - keep a jar of Vaseline(R) at hand at all times because you will be screwed sooner or later.

  11. Danger Mouse


    Take note Micro$haft & flApple, software phoning home is never a good idea.

    Any sysadmin who uses SonicWall products is a joke in my book, if any of my guys came to me suggesting a SonicWall solution for a client I would send them to the naughty step while I prepare their P45. Don't put your trust in UTM on a single piece of kit as it's a misnomer, just ask yourself, who watches the watcher?

    The one with the 'back in my day' badge.

  12. alzain
    Thumb Down


    i last heard of sonicwall in 2001 aND THEN POOF.the companies should use kasperksy

  13. GF

    Sonicwall is OK

    Having 3 Sonicwalls in a transcontinental VPN configuration, I have had no problems with the units. I also rolled out over 500 units in early 2000-2001 for a company with no real problems except for faulty power supplies (which the company replaced free-of-charge). I do agree with the posters here that the Sonicwall should "default to secure" when it cannot talk to the licensing-mothership.

    Personally, I do not care for the licensing verification over-the-Internet schema that Sonicwall uses, but Microsoft and other companies appear to do the same. I just have to minimize the risk as much as possible if a licensing snafu occurs with any of their products.

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