Steve Gibson (computer programmer)

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Steve Gibson
Steve in between shots on Leo Laporte's Call For Help in Toronto (April 2007).
Born (1955-03-26) March 26, 1955 (age 59)
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Residence Laguna Hills, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Education University of California, Berkeley
Occupation Software Engineer and
Security Analyst
Known for Security Now! podcast on
Title Computer programmer

Steven Maury ″Tiberius″ Gibson (born March 26, 1955, Dayton, Ohio, United States)[1] is an American computer enthusiast, software engineer and security researcher. In the early 1980s, Gibson was best known for his work on light pen technology for use with Apple and Atari systems. In 1985, Gibson founded Gibson Research Corporation, best known for its SpinRite software.


Gibson studied electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is an advocate of assembly language programming, and prides himself on writing smaller applications mostly in Intel x86 assembly language, including much of the code of the SpinRite hard disk utility used from the beginning of the PC era. He is one of several advocates of optimizing computer programs and reducing the size of their executables. In the 1990s, Gibson began to move into the computer security field, developing and distributing a number of free security tools, including the ShieldsUp! port-scanner, and the LeakTest firewall tester. In 2000, Gibson created one of the first adware removal programs, OptOut.[citation needed]

Gibson Research Corporation[edit]

Gibson Research Corporation or GRC is a computer software development firm founded in 1985 by Gibson. The company is registered in Laguna Hills, California (where he lives).[2] GRC has created a number of niche utilities over the years, the foremost of which is SpinRite, a hard disk scanning and data recovery utility.

As of mid-2009 GRC has three employees; Steve Gibson, Greg (technical support) and Sue (bookkeeper). Gibson also founded Gibson Laboratories, Inc. in 1981, a predecessor to GRC.[3]

One of the significant features of Gibson Research Corporation is that much of Gibson's work is freely available. At this time, only SpinRite is a paid-for commercial product.

Gibson's latest publicly released works are SecurAble, last updated January 14, 2007 and more recently, DNS Benchmark, released September 30, 2010. SecurAble is a program that will tell the user if their CPU supports 64-bit computing, DEP (Data Execution Prevention) and hardware level virtualisation. DNS Benchmark is a utility used for obtaining DNS nameserver performance characterization, profiling and comparison.

Gibson has completed work on the DNS Nameserver Spoofability Test, an online utility used to test whether the systems' configured nameservers are vulnerable to DNS spoofing. This new test joins all the others that Gibson has released through GRC, providing increased security, or at least security-related information for free.

In mid-late 2013, Gibson began work on SpinRite v6.1, a free upgrade for existing SpinRite customers. During the course of the work on SpinRite and the research needed to produce the SecurityNow podcast, Gibson announced he had paused work on SpinRite in order to develop and finalize an idea he had been struck with for a new standard for logging into websites. Once the initial idea had been fleshed out, he announced via Twitter and the Security Now podcast the Secure QR Login protocol or SQRL. He has finalized a draft open standard for secure web site login and authentication and is currently coding a reference Windows-based login program for the SQRL protocol.


Gibson co-hosts a weekly computer security-focused podcast with Leo Laporte called Security Now!. Gibson has appeared on Leo Laporte's technology podcast, This Week in Tech and also used to occasionally appear on The Lab with Leo Laporte on G4techTV Canada.[citation needed]

Steve Gibson was a contributing editor to InfoWorld magazine. He reported on the world of hackers and crackers.[4]


Gibson was involved with a notable controversy over the Windows Metafile vulnerability,[5] an issue raised in 2006 where a Windows Metafile image could trigger execution of arbitrary code. Gibson analyzed an unofficial patch issued by Ilfak Guilfanov, and publicly speculated both on his podcast Security Now![6] as well as on his website[7] that Microsoft may have intentionally included this vulnerability because of the use of an API called SetAbortProc, originally intended as a mechanism for canceling print jobs, which in his view made no sense. When technology news website Slashdot picked up the assertion, an Internet rumor that Microsoft intentionally built a backdoor to its operating systems was promulgated.[8]

Gibson has been associated with a number of other controversies[9] in the computer security field, including his prediction of the "XP Christmas of Death" in 2001 describing the outcomes of Microsoft's implementation of the SOCK_RAW protocol.[10]

Gibson is also known for attempting to replicate functionality of a tool called SYNcookies, written by Dan Bernstein and Eric Schenk, in his own tool called GENESIS, as a preventive mechanism for SYN-flood attacks.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Offcial Wiki. |url= missing title (help). Retrieved August 26, 2014. 
  2. ^ Gibson Research Corporation, Retrieved on February 2, 2007.
  3. ^ "GRC | Steve's Resume'". Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Thomas C. Greene. "Windows back door rumor is bunk: No reason not to patch it, however". Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  6. ^ "GRC | Security Now! Transcript of Episode #22". Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  7. ^ "GRC | M.I.C.E. — Metafile Image Code Execution". Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  8. ^ "WMF Vulnerability is an Intentional Backdoor? - Slashdot". January 13, 2006. Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Radsoft — Industrial Strength Software". Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Security geek developing WinXP raw socket exploit: Has Steve Gibson finally lost his mind?". Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Steve Gibson invents broken SYNcookies: GRC SYN-flood cure is worse than the disease". Retrieved November 7, 2013. 

External links[edit]