August 30, 2014

Microsoft, Adobe release security patches plus high profile domains rush to fix XSS vulnerability

(LiveHacking.Com) – The last few days have seen lots of security related activity from some of the world’s leading software vendors. Both Microsoft and Adobe have released patches for some of their key software while almost simultaneously a Google engineer has released details of an obscure cross-scripting request forgery bug that left several high profile domains scrambling to protect themselves over the weekend.

Microsoft

microsoft logoMicrosoft has released six new security bulletins, to tackle 29 different vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer. Two of these security bulletins are rated Critical, while the rest are either rated as Important or Moderate.

The first of the two Critical level bulletins (MS14-037) is a cumulative security update for Internet Explorer. The update fixes one publicly disclosed vulnerability and twenty-three privately reported vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s web browser. The most severe of these vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using IE. This security update is rated Critical for IE 6 through to IE 11 on Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems. For the server versions of Windows the update is rated as Moderate.

The other Critical level update (MS14-038) fixes a remote code execution vulnerability that exists because of the way that Windows Journal parses specially crafted files. The vulnerability could be exploited if a user opens a specially crafted Journal file. The fix is rated Critical for all supported editions of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 (excluding Itanium), Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 (excluding Itanium), Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows RT 8.1.

The other bulletins release by Microsoft are:

  • MS14-039 - Vulnerability in On-Screen Keyboard Could Allow Elevation of Privilege. The vulnerability could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker uses a vulnerability in a low integrity process to execute the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) and upload a specially crafted program to the target system.
  • MS14-040 - Vulnerability in Ancillary Function Driver (AFD) Could Allow Elevation of Privilege. The vulnerability could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker logs onto a system and runs a specially crafted application.
  • MS14-041 - Vulnerability in DirectShow Could Allow Elevation of Privilege. The vulnerability could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker first exploits another vulnerability in a low integrity process and then uses this vulnerability to execute specially crafted code in the context of the logged on user.
  • MS14-042Vulnerability in Microsoft Service Bus Could Allow Denial of Service. The vulnerability could allow denial of service if a remote authenticated attacker creates and runs a program that sends a sequence of specially crafted Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) messages to the target system.

Adobe

adobe-logoAdobe has released security updates for Adobe Flash Player on Windows, OS X and Linux. The updates patch vulnerabilities that could potentially allow a remote attacker to take control of the affected system. The affected software versions are:

  • Adobe Flash Player 14.0.0.125 and earlier versions for Windows and Macintosh
  • Adobe Flash Player 11.2.202.378 and earlier versions for Linux
  • Adobe AIR 14.0.0.110 SDK and earlier versions
  • Adobe AIR 14.0.0.110 SDK & Compiler and earlier versions
  • Adobe AIR 14.0.0.110 and earlier versions for Android

As well as fixing two, as yet undisclosed, security bypass vulnerabilities (CVE-2014-0537, CVE-2014-0539), the update also includes additional validation checks to ensure that Flash Player rejects malicious content from vulnerable JSONP callback APIs (CVE-2014-4671).

XSS

rosettaflash_convertAs mentioned above, the update to Adobe Flasher Player includes additional validation checks for an obscure cross-scripting request forgery bug that was disclosed by Google’s information security engineer Michele Spagnuolo over the weekend. In his blog “Abusing JSONP with Rosetta Flash,” Michele details how his tool Rosetta Flash can convert Adobe SFW files from binary to text. Attackers can then upload the “weaponised” SWF file to a domain where they will be loaded by a victim’s browser and executed by Adobe Flash Player.

Several high-profile websites were vulnerable, including most Google domains, Instagram, Tumblr and eBay. Many of these sites have worked over the weekend to protect themselves against the vulnerability.

Because of the sensitivity of this vulnerability, Spagnuolo first disclosed it internally to Google, and then privately to Adobe. He also told Twitter, eBay, Tumblr and Instagram before going public with his findings.

Microsoft Malware Protection Engine can be disabled via a specially crafted file

microsoft logo(LiveHacking.Com) – Microsoft has released a security advisory about a denial of service vulnerability with its Malware Protection Engine. According to Microsoft, if the Malware Protection Engine scans a specially crafted file then it can cause a denial of service condition. This means that an attacker who manages to exploit the vulnerability could stop the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine from monitoring the filesystem, until the specially crafted file is manually deleted and the service is restarted. During this time the PC is susceptible to infection by other malware.

To exploit the vulnerability an attacker would need to place a specially crafted file on the target PC. This could be achieved in one of several different ways including via a website, via email message, or in an Instant Messenger message. If the affected anti-malware software has real-time protection turned on (which is the default), then the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine will scan the file automatically, leading to exploitation of the vulnerability.

The Malware Protection Engine is used by a variety of Microsoft products including Windows Security Essentials and Windows Defender. Microsoft has rated the vulnerability as “Important,” but not “Critical.”

Microsoft has fixed the vulnerability and the engine will be updated automatically when your PC next updates its malware definitions. Because the fix is part of the “normal” malware updates then Microsoft won’t be issuing a Security Bulletin about the problem, nor will it feature in a future Patch Tuesday. Microsoft estimates that the built-in update mechanisms will apply the fix within 48 hours of the release, however the exact time frame depends on the software used, Internet connection, and infrastructure configuration.

GameOver Zeus botnet disrupted by FBI, Microsoft and multi-national agencies

GameOver_Zeus_Scope(LiveHacking.Com) – A multi-national team of security experts and law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Europol, and the UK’s National Cyber Crime Unit have successfully disrupted  the GameOver Zeus botnet. The malware, which is a peer-to-peer (P2P) variant of the Zeus family of bank credential-stealing trojan, is thought to be responsible for the theft of millions of dollars from businesses and consumers all around the world.

Also known as P2P Zeus or GO Zeus, the malware uses a decentralized network system of compromised PCs and web servers to execute command-and-control. Its peer-to-peer nature meant that command instructions could come from any of the infected computers, and made the take down of the botnet more difficult.

The FBI took down portions of the command-and-control infrastructure by seizing domain names used by the malware. Microsoft helped the FBI by providing an analysis of the P2P network and by developing a cleaning solution. According to Richard Domingues Boscovich, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, “Based upon these actions, it is anticipated that the cybercriminals’ business model will be disrupted, and they will be forced to rebuild their criminal infrastructure. More importantly, victims of GameOver Zeus have been, and will continue to be, notified and their infected computers cleaned to prevent future harm.”

GameOver Zeus is primarily used by cybercriminals to harvest banking information including login credentials. Once a PC is infected it can be used by the cybercriminals to engage in other malicious activities, such as sending spam or participating in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. The malware has also been linked to the CryptoLocker ransomware that restricts access to infected computers and demands the victim provide a payment to the attackers in order to decrypt and recover their files.

Andy Archibald, a Deputy Director at the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), said: “Nobody wants their personal financial details, business information or photographs of loved ones to be stolen or held to ransom by criminals. By making use of this two-week window, huge numbers of people in the UK can stop that from happening to them.” Mr Archibald continues: “Those committing cybercrime impacting the UK are often highly-skilled and operating from abroad. The NCA and its partners are alive to the threat, and pursuing new and collaborative ways to tackle and disrupt the perpetrators.”

At the same time as the botnet was being disrupted  a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh unsealed a 14-count indictment against the GameOver Zeus ringleader. Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, of Anapa, Russian Federation, is charged with with conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud,  bank fraud and money laundering. In a separate civil injunction, Bogachev was identified as the ringleader of the gang responsible for the development and operation of the Cryptolocker scheme.

Microsoft, Adobe and Google release security patches for Critical vulnerabilities

binarycodeMicrosoft, Adobe and Google have released patches for their products to fix Critical security vulnerabilities. Microsoft released eight security bulletins – two rated Critical and six rated Important – to address 13 different vulnerabilities in .NET Framework, Office, SharePoint, Internet Explorer, and Windows. Adobe released security updates to address multiple vulnerabilities in Reader, Acrobat, Flash Player, and Illustrator. For both companies, some of the vulnerabilities could allow hackers to run arbitrary code and take control of the affected system. Google also updated its Chrome web browser with the new version of Adobe Flash, but it also took the opportunity to patch some vulnerabilities in the internals of its browser.

Microsoft

Listed among Microsoft’s updates is a patch for IE which fixes the zero-day vulnerability that attackers were using against the browser at the end of April. Microsoft released this particular patch on May 1 2014 and the patch also applied to Windows XP. However the same can’t be said of the rest of Microsoft’s updates. XP is now officially dead, from a support point of view anyway.

May’s patches also include another update for IE. This time to fix two privately reported vulnerabilities in the browser. The vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using Internet Explorer. IE 6 to IE 11 are all affected.

Microsoft are also recommending that system administrators ensure that their systems are updated with  MS14-024 and MS14-025. The former fixes a vulnerability in the MSCOMCTL common controls library that could allow a security feature bypass if a user views a specially crafted webpage with a web browser capable of instantiating COM components, such as Internet Explorer. The latter patches a vulnerability in Windows that could allow elevation of privilege if the Active Directory Group Policy preferences are used to distribute passwords across the domain. The update removes the ability to configure and distribute passwords that use certain Group Policy preference extensions because such actions could allow an attacker to retrieve and decrypt the password stored with Group Policy preferences.

Adobe

Adobe’s updates cover three main product groups: Adobe Reader and AcrobatAdobe Flash Player and Adobe Illustrator (CS6). The affected versions are as follows:

  • Adobe Reader XI 11.0.07 for Windows and Macintosh
  • Adobe Reader X 10.1.10 for Windows and Macintosh
  • Adobe Acrobat XI (11.0.07) for Windows and Macintosh
  • Adobe Acrobat X (10.1.10) for Windows and Macintosh
  • Adobe Flash Player 13.0.0.214 for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux
  • Adobe Flash Player 11.2.202.359 for Linux
  • Adobe AIR SDK and Compiler 13.0.0.111 for Windows and Macintosh
  • Adobe Illustrator (subscription) 16.2.2 for Windows and Macintosh
  • Adobe Illustrator (non-subscription) 16.0.5 for Windows and Macintosh

The patch for Adobe Illustrator (CS6) for Windows and Macintosh fixes a “vulnerability that could be exploited to gain remote code execution on the affected system”, while the updates for Adobe Flash Player “address vulnerabilities that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.” All the updates are rated as Critical including the third set which patch Adobe Reader and Acrobat XI to “address vulnerabilities that could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.”

Google

With the release of a new version of Adobe Flash, Google released Chrome 34.0.1847.137 for Windows, Mac and Linux to include Flash Player 13.0.0.214. However the search giant also took the opportunity to fix three security problems. The non-Google researchers who contributed to finding the vulnerabilities where rewarded $4500 between them for their efforts:

  • [$2000][358038] High CVE-2014-1740: Use-after-free in WebSockets. Credit to Collin Payne.
  • [$1500][349898] High CVE-2014-1741: Integer overflow in DOM ranges. Credit to John Butler.
  • [$1000][356690] High CVE-2014-1742: Use-after-free in editing. Credit to cloudfuzzer.

Internet Explorer attacked via multiple zero-day exploits

ie10-logoIt has been a rough week for Internet Explorer. Over the weekend Microsoft released Security Advisory 2963983 about a zero-day exploit in IE which is being used in the wild. Then yesterday Adobe released an emergency security update to fix a critical flaw in its Flash Player. As a result of Adobe’s patch, Microsoft has also updated the version of Adobe Flash Player built-in to Internet Explorer 10 and 11.

The zero-day exploit in IE allows attackers to execute arbitrary code if users visit a malicious website with an affected browser. In the worst case scenario the vulnerability can be used to silently install malware on a PC without any interaction with users, just because they visited a hacked or malicious site.

The vulnerability was found by FireEye which its own advisory. According to FireEye, the zero-day exploit affects IE6 through IE11, but the attacks seen in the wild are only targeting IE9 through IE11. “The exploit leverages a previously unknown use-after-free vulnerability, and uses a well-known Flash exploitation technique to achieve arbitrary memory access and bypass Windows’ ASLR and DEP protections,” wrote Xiaobo Chen, Dan Caselden and Mike Scott for FireEye.

Dustin Childs from Microsoft’s Security Response Center wrote that IE users should “exercise caution when visiting websites and avoid clicking suspicious links, or opening email messages from unfamiliar senders.” There is currently no Fix It or patch for this zero-day exploit, however Microsoft did release some workaround information as part of the security advisory.

The Flash Player vulnerability was discovered by Kaspersky Lab. According to Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, Kaspersky Lab detected two new Flash exploits which it hadn’t seen before. They sent the exploits off to Adobe and the company has now confirmed that they are indeed new zero-day vulnerabilities.

The Flash update for IE applies to Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, and Windows RT, and for Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows RT 8.1.

Microsoft releases details of zero-day vulnerability in Word

Microsoft has published information about a new zero-day vulnerability in its Word product. There is a real-world exploit for the vulnerability and it is currently being exploited in the wild. Microsoft says it is “aware of limited, targeted attacks directed at Microsoft Word 2010.”

According to Microsoft’s Dustin Childs, the vulnerability can be exploited by an attacker and allow “remote code execution if someone was convinced to open a specially crafted Rich Text Format (RTF) file or a specially crafted mail in Microsoft Outlook while using Microsoft Word as the email viewer.”

Microsoft-Word-LogoMicrosoft’s immediate response has been to publish a one-click Fix it  which basically disables support for RTF in Microsoft Word. Although Microsoft wants to “encourage all customers using Microsoft Word” to apply the Fix it, disabling RTF support could be troublesome for those who rely on this document format.

The vulnerability, which was reported to Microsoft by members of the Google Security Team, can be exploited via email or via the web. In the email scenario, the attacker sends a specially crafted RTF document as the contents of the message. The vulnerability is exploited when the message is previewed or opened in Outlook where Microsoft Word is the email viewer. An attacker could also exploit the vulnerability by sending a specially crafted RTF document as an attachment. In the web scenario, the attacker would need to trick the user into downloading the document and then opening it.

This remote code execution vulnerability exists because of bugs in the way that Word parses maliciously crafted RTF documents. The bugs cause a memory corruption and give the attacker a way to execute arbitrary code. The vulnerability can also be exploited through Microsoft Outlook if Word is used as the email viewer, which it is by default in Microsoft Outlook 2007, Microsoft Outlook 2010, and Microsoft Outlook 2013.

Microsoft is working on a full fix but it isn’t known if the Redmond company will be able to develop and test the fix by April 8th, the date of the company’s next Patch Tuesday. Patch Tuesday is the name given to Microsoft’s monthly security updates which patch Microsoft’s products to fix security issues.

Interestingly, support for Office 2003 ends April 8th and Microsoft has included Word 2003 Service Pack 3 in its list of affected products. If Microsoft doesn’t manage to release a full patch by April 8th then Office 2003 could remain vulnerable without any hope of a solution. Even if Microsoft does release a patch now, this incident highlights the dangers of using Microsoft products which have reached their end-of-life.

Microsoft stopping support for its anti-malware scanner on XP in 3 months time

microsoft logoThe bell has been tolling for Windows XP for a long time and even though Microsoft has given its 2001 operating system the occasional reprieve it looks like Redmond is set on ridding itself of arguably its most popular OS. As well as mainstream ending support, including security updates, from April 8th 2014, Microsoft will also stop supporting its anti-malware scanner – Security Essentials.

Microsoft Security Essentials helps guard against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software and new definitions files and updates are provided on a regular basis by Microsoft itself. At the moment the current minimum requirements for the malware scanner is Windows XP Service Pack 3, however according to Microsoft’s end of support for XP page, Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP after April 8th.

According to the latest data from NetMarketShare Windows XP is still running on 29 percent of PCs that access the Internet. That is a staggeringly large number of PCs and makes XP Microsoft’s second most popular operating system in use today. More PCs run XP than Windows Vista and Windows 8/8.1 put together. Only windows 7 is more popular than XP with some 47 percent of PCs using it.

But despite its popularity Microsoft is pulling the plug in less than 90 days. Microsoft itself acknowledges that continuing to use Windows XP after the support ends will make your PC “more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.”

What makes this even more concerning is that XP is still very much under attack from cyber criminals and hackers. Only last month  Microsoft issued a warning about a zero-day vulnerability in XP that allows attackers to gain elevated privileges. Once the attackers have system level privileges they can install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full administrative rights. December’s security updates from Microsoft contained several patches, some Critical, for Windows and only one of those patches didn’t apply to Windows XP. Extrapolating from this shows that Windows related security bulletins to be released after April will likely also affect XP but the OS will be left vulnerable. This means that cyber criminals will have a wealth of clues available for creating new exploits knowing that XP hasn’t been and won’t be patched.

By removing support for Security Essentials it seems that Microsoft is sending a strong message to XP users that now is the time to upgrade.

Microsoft releases 11 bulletins including a patch for Vista zero-day exploit, but XP still under attack

microsoft logoMicrosoft has released 11 security bulletins to address 24 vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer, Office and Exchange. Among them is the fix for the TIFF file vulnerability in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Office 2003 to 2010, and all supported versions of Microsoft Lync. However a fix for the zero-day vulnerability in Windows XP, which is being actively exploited in the wild via a malicious PDF file, is missing.

MS13-096 fixes the publicly disclosed vulnerability that can allow remote code execution if a user views content that contains specially crafted TIFF files. According to Microsoft an attacker who successfully exploits this vulnerability can execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the user who viewed the TIFF file.

The vulnerability is currently being exploited in the wild and targeting PC users mainly in the Middle East and South Asia. The attack uses an email with a specially crafted Word attachment.  However the security bulletin points out that this isn’t the only possible attack vector. The vulnerability can be exploited in a web-based attack scenario, where an attacker creates a website that is designed to exploit this vulnerability and then convinces a user to view the website, or via email.

Another Critical rated fix is MS13-097, a cumulative update for Internet Explorer. The patch resolves seven privately reported vulnerabilities in IE, the most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage. The update affects Internet Explorer 6 through to Internet Explorer 11.

MS13-099 resolves a vulnerability in Microsoft Scripting Runtime Object Library that could allow remote code execution if a user visits a specially crafted website. The update is rated as Critical for Windows Script 5.6, Windows Script 5.7, and Windows Script 5.8 where affected on all supported releases of Microsoft Windows.

Security Bulletin MS13-106 fixes a publicly disclosed vulnerability in a Microsoft Office shared component that is currently being exploited in the wild. The problem exists because hxds.dll in Microsoft Office 2007 SP3 and 2010 SP1 and SP2 do not implement the ASLR protection mechanism, which makes it easier for remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted COM component on a web site that is visited with IE. The security feature bypass by itself does not allow arbitrary code execution. However, an attacker could use this ASLR bypass vulnerability in conjunction with another vulnerability, such as a remote code execution vulnerability that could take advantage of the ASLR bypass to run arbitrary code.

patch.tuesday.dec.2013.deployment

The other Critical bulletins are:

  • MS13-098 - Resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that could allow remote code execution if a user or application runs or installs a specially crafted, signed portable executable (PE) file on an affected system.
  • MS13-105  – Resolves three publicly disclosed vulnerabilities and one privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange Server. The most severe of these vulnerabilities exist in the WebReady Document Viewing and Data Loss Prevention features of Microsoft Exchange Server.

The Important bulletins from Microsoft are:

  • MS13-100 - Resolves multiple privately reported vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office server software. These vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if an authenticated attacker sends specially crafted page content to a SharePoint server.
  • MS13-101 - Resolves five privately reported vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. The more severe of these vulnerabilities could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker logs on to a system and runs a specially crafted application.
  • MS13-102 - Addresses a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker spoofs an LRPC server and sends a specially crafted LPC port message to any LRPC client.
  • MS13-103 - Fixes a privately reported vulnerability in ASP.NET SignalR. The vulnerability could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker reflects specially crafted JavaScript back to the browser of a targeted user.
  • MS13-104 - Resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Office that could allow information disclosure if a user attempts to open an Office file hosted on a malicious website.

Zero-day vulnerability in Windows XP being exploited via a malicious PDF file

microsoft logoMicrosoft has issued a warning to all users of its aging Windows XP operating system about a zero-day vulnerability that allows attackers to gain elevated privileges. Once the attackers have system level privileges they can install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full administrative rights.

The vulnerability is in the Windows kernel and affects Windows Server 2003 as well as XP. Once exploited an attacker can run arbitrary code in kernel mode which automatically gives them full administrative rights.

According to CVE-2013-5065 NDProxy.sys in the kernel of Microsoft Windows XP SP2 and SP3 and Server 2003 SP2 allows local users to gain privileges via a crafted application. The vulnerability is being exploited in the wild.

Microsoft has issued a workaround for the vulnerability however by implementing it services that rely on the Windows Telephony Application Programming Interfaces (TAPI) to not function, this includes Remote Access Service (RAS), dial-up networking, and virtual private networking (VPN). Full details of the workaround, which disables NDProxy.sys and reroute all calls to Null.sys, can be found in Microsoft’s security advisory.

According to Symantec there have been a “small number” of in-the-wild attacks happening since early November. Users in the U.S., India, Australia, Saudi Arabia and throughout Europe were targeted.

This is the second zero-day vulnerability to be recently exposed in Windows. At the beginning of November Microsoft released  a security advisory about a vulnerability in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Office 2003 to 2010, and all supported versions of Microsoft Lync, that is being exploited in the wild and targeting PC users mainly in the Middle East and South Asia.

Microsoft releases warning as hackers attack vulnerability in Vista and Office

Windows-Vista-command-promptMicrosoft has released  Security Advisory 2896666 about a vulnerability in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Office 2003 to 2010, and all supported versions of Microsoft Lync, that is being exploited in the wild and targeting PC users mainly in the Middle East and South Asia.

The attack uses an email with a specially crafted Word attachment.  If the user opens the attachment it will try to exploit the vulnerability via a malformed image embedded in the document. If successful the attackers gain the same user rights as the logged on user.

According to Microsoft the remote code execution vulnerability exists because of bugs in the code which handles badly formed TIFF images. Only Windows Vista is affected and the current versions of Microsoft Office are not vulnerable.

The current attacks use the Word document attached to the email as a container for the specially crafted TIFF file. However, Microsoft says that hackers could also exploit the issue via a web-based attack. “An attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit this vulnerability and then convince a user to view the website,” it said.

While Microsoft is working to fix the error and release a security update it recommends the following actions:

  • Apply the Microsoft Fix it solution, “Disable the TIFF Codec” that prevents exploitation of the issue. See Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 2896666 to use the automated Microsoft Fix it solution to enable this workaround.
  • Deploy the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET). This will help prevent exploitation by providing mitigations to protect against the issue and should not affect usability of any programs.  An easy guide for EMET installation and configuration is available inKB2458544.