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Flaws in Software or Protocol Designs

Protocols define the rules and conventions for computers to communicate on a network. If a protocol has a fundamental design flaw, it is vulnerable to exploitation no matter how well it is implemented. An example of this is the Network File System (NFS), which allows systems to share files. This protocol does not include a provision for authentication; that is, there is no way of verifying that a person logging in really is whom he or she claims to be. NFS servers are targets for the intruder community. When software is designed or specified, often security is left out of the initial description and is later "added on" to the system. Because the additional components were not part of the original design, the software may not behave as planned and unexpected vulnerabilities may be present.

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