DAY ZERO, and COUNTING: EVIL 'UNICORN' all-Windows vuln - are YOU patched?

We will all remember the 11th of November


Security researcher Robert Freeman has discovered an 18-year-old, critical, remotely-exploitable vulnerability di tutti vulnerabiliti which affects just about ALL versions of Windows - all the way back to Windows 95.

The vulnerability (CVE-2014-6332) rated a critical score of 9.3 in all versions of Windows and was described as a rare "unicorn-like" bug in Internet Explorer-dependent code that opens avenues for man in the middle attacks.

The bug bypasses Redmond's lauded Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit along with Enhanced Protected Mode sandbox in the flagship browser and was patched today some six months after it was reported, IBM's Freeman said.

"This complex vulnerability is a rare, 'unicorn-like' bug [that can be used by an attacker for drive-by attacks to reliably run code remotely and take over the user’s machine," Freeman said.

"In this case, the buggy code is at least 19 years old and has been remotely exploitable for the past 18 years

"In some respects, this vulnerability has been sitting in plain sight for a long time despite many other bugs being discovered and patched in the same Windows library (OleAut32)."

Freeman said it was a "matter of time" before corresponding attacks surfaced in the wild.

It was the inclusion of VBScript in Internet Explorer that made the browser the most likely candidate for an attackers, Freeman said.

The discovery of the vulnerability could lead researchers an attackers to probe for more data manipulation bugs which may have been equally overlooked by security types.

"These data manipulation vulnerabilities could lead to substantial exploitation scenarios from the manipulation of data values to remote code execution," he said.

It was difficult to exploit the bug, plugged as part of Microsoft's Patch Tuesday that crushed a string of serious holes, in part because array element sizes were fixed.

The scant opportunity to place arbitrary data where VBScript arrays were stored on the browser heap and the enforcement of variant type compatibility matching further complicated attacks.

Attacks could be launched using existing public research including that described by Freeman.

A separate critical hole (MS14-066) affecting Microsoft's Secure Channel (SChannel) that implemented Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security protocols was also patched.

That flaw permitted remote code execution in all versions of Windows if attackers sent crafted packets to Windows servers. The patch fixed sanitisation issues in Schannel for crafted packets.

Redmond issued 14 patchesto fix holes across Windows, Office, and .NET while Adobe set out to plug 18 holes in Flash and Air that allowed attackers to hijack user machines by way of remote code execution. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022