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09 Apr Microsoft Updates April 2013 - 3 Critical Vulnerabilities Kurt Baumgartner

07 Feb Adobe Incubates Flash Runtime for Firefox Kurt Baumgartner

27 Jan CVE-2012-0003 Exploit ITW Kurt Baumgartner

02 Nov Is .info the new .cc? Kurt Baumgartner

07 Jul The msvidctl Internet Explorer 0day Georg 'oxff' Wicherski

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Microsoft released two Bulletins this month patching 3 critical vulnerabilities. Along with these immediate issues, they released five other Bulletins rated "Important". It appears that the two critical Bulletins address use-after-free vulnerabilities that can all be attacked through Internet Explorer.

For the Windows workstation environments, all versions of Internet Explorer need to be patched asap, including v10 preview running on Windows RT. The patch for Internet Explorer 10 on Windows RT is available at the "Windows Update" site.

In addition to the privately reported vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer code itself, the Remote Desktop Connection v6.1 Client and Remote Desktop Connection v7.0 Client ActiveX components on XP, Vista, and Windows 7 are vulnerable. Microsoft's SRD team expects to see exploits available within 30 days targeting CVE-2013-1296.

Of the "Important" vulnerabilities, interesting to note is a privately reported Elevation of Privilege issue CVE-2013-0078, which is a bug in the Windows Defender anti-malware engine running on Windows 8 and Windows RT. This vulnerability could be used by an insider or determined adversary to gain further access, and not a type of vulnerability usually hit by mass exploitation kits. Within organizations, this is something to quickly address, but generally individuals do not need to urgently address this type of issue.

See Microsoft's Security Bulletin Summary for April 2013 for the full list of this month's Bulletin releases.

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The Adobe AIR and Adobe Flash Player Incubator program updated their Flash Platform runtime beta program to version 5, delivered as Flash Player version 11.2.300.130. It includes a "sandboxed" version of the 32-bit Flash Player they are calling "Protected Mode for Mozilla Firefox on Windows 7 and Windows Vista systems". It has been over a year since Adobe discussed the Internet Explorer ActiveX Protected Mode version release on their ASSET blog, and the version running on Google Chrome was sandboxed too.

Adobe is building on the successes that they have seen in their Adobe Reader X software. Its sandbox technology has substantially raised the bar for driving up the costs of "offensive research", resulting in a dearth of Itw exploits on Reader X. As in "none" in 2011. This trend reflects 2011 targeted attack activity that we’ve observed. 2011 APT related attacks nailed outdated versions of Adobe Flash software delivered as "authplay.dll" in Adobe Reader v8.x and v9.x and the general Flash component "NPSWF32.dll" used by older versions of Microsoft Office and other applications. Adobe X just wasn't hit. IE Protected Mode wasn't hit. Chrome sandboxed Flash wasn't hit. If there are incident handlers out there that saw a different story, please let me know.

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S. Korean handlers are slow to take down the publicly distributed malicious code exploiting CVE-2012-0003, a vulnerability patched in Microsoft's January 2012 patch release MS12-004. We have discussed with reporters that the code has been available since the 21st, and a site appears to have been publicly attacking very low numbers of Korean users over the past day or so. The site remains up at this time.

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In April, the .co.cc and .cz.cc sub-domains were absolutely littered with malware distributing web sites, and the unusually telling DNS registration setup on .co.cc and .cz.cc had forecast the previously upcoming Apple FakeAv. That DNS setup later led to FakeAv downloads for the Mac as forecast. But FakeAv distribution has been steadily declining since the beginning of the year, and a few related major events have occurred over the past six months. Blackhole operators have migrated to .info domains, along with other related malicious site operators. Have they pushed .info to become the new .cc?

So, what has this dispersion looked like? Well, let's look back to the beginning of the year. .co.cc and .cz.cc domain registrars offered free dns registration and cheap or free hosting. Malware distributors abused these cheap resources and staged the Blackhole exploit pack using these URL names, serving up FakeAv and other nastiness. Java exploits became the most effective and most popular in the Blackhole set, followed by exploits targeting vulnerable Adobe Reader and Microsoft HCP software. Traffic was directed to these kits by Google Image Search Poisoning, by compromising legitimate sites and redirecting browsers to the kit sites with injected iframe and img src tags, and by successful malvertizing campaigns on major webmail providers. But, what goes up must come down.

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As you've probably already heard, there's a dangerous vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6 & Internet Explorer 7 being exploited in the wild. The vulnerability affects Windows XP Service Pack 0 to Service Pack 3. Microsoft hasn't released a patch yet, but they have provided a work-around.

Some people have simply recommended turning off JavaScript to mitigate this issue. However this vulnerability is a trivial buffer overflow which makes it possible to overwrite the SEH handler. Thus, heap spraying is not required and turning off JavaScript only mitigates attacks from less skilled attackers. I put a bit of time into researching this -it very quickly became clear that this vulnerability doesn't rely on JavaScript, i.e. it can be exploited with JavaScript turned off:

The vulnerability allows arbitrary code execution and we therefore strongly recommend that you should apply the workaround from Microsoft's advisory or turn off ActiveX altogether. Otherwise you will be at risk of exploitation of Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7.

We've added generic detection for the actual exploit as Exploit.Win32.Direktshow and the often accompanying JavaScript as Exploit.JS.Direktshow.

(08.07, 15.04: edited to correct typo in the Service Pack information.)

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