Tag Archives: internet explorer

December IE Patch Corrects Memory Corruption and Privilege Elevation Issues

Summary:

  • This vulnerability affects: All current versions of Internet Explorer
  • How an attacker exploits it: By enticing one of your users to visit a web page containing malicious content
  • Impact: Various, in the worst case an attacker can execute code on your user’s computer, potentially gaining complete control of it
  • What to do: Deploy the appropriate Internet Explorer patches immediately, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you

Exposure:

In a security bulletin released today as part of Patch Day, Microsoft describes seven new vulnerabilities that affect all current versions of Internet Explorer (IE). Microsoft rates the aggregate severity of these new flaws as Critical.

The seven vulnerabilities differ technically, but the five most serious ones share the same general scope and impact, and involve various memory corruption flaws having to do with how IE handles certain HTML objects. If an attacker can lure one of your users to a web page containing malicious web code, he could exploit any one of these five vulnerabilities to execute code on that user’s computer, inheriting that user’s privileges. Typically, Windows users have local administrative privileges. In that case, the attacker could exploit these flaws to gain complete control of the victim’s computer.

The remaining two vulnerabilities are elevation of privilege flaws that attackers might use in conjunction with other attacks.

Keep in mind, today’s attackers often hijack legitimate web pages and booby-trap them with malicious code. Typically, they do this via hosted web ads or through SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks. Even recognizable and authentic websites could pose a risk to your users if hijacked in this way.

If you’d like to know more about the technical differences between these flaws, see the “Vulnerability Information” section of Microsoft’s bulletin. Technical differences aside, the memory corruption flaws in IE pose significant risk. You should download and install the IE cumulative patch immediately.

Solution Path:

You should download, test, and deploy the appropriate IE updates immediately, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you. You can find links to the various IE updates in the “Affected and Non-Affected Software” section of Microsoft’s December IE security bulletin.

For All WatchGuard Users:

WatchGuard’s Gateway Antivirus and Intrusion Prevention services can often prevent these sorts of attacks, or the malware they try to distribute. Make sure to use our security services, and keep they’re signatures up to date. Furthermore, our Reputation Enabled Defense (RED) and WebBlocker services can often prevent your users from accidentally visiting malicious (or legitimate but booby-trapped) web sites that contain these sorts of attacks. Nonetheless, we still recommend you install Microsoft’s updates to completely protect yourself from all of these flaws.

Status:

Microsoft has released patches to fix these vulnerabilities.

References:

This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept).

Latest IE Update Remedies Ten More Vulnerabilities

Summary:

  • This vulnerability affects: All current versions of Internet Explorer, running on all current versions of Windows (except for IE 11 on Windows 7)
  • How an attacker exploits it: Usually, by enticing one of your users to visit a malicious web page
  • Impact: Various, in the worst case an attacker can execute code on your user’s computer, potentially gaining complete control of it
  • What to do: Deploy the appropriate Internet Explorer patches immediately, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you

Exposure:

In a security bulletin released today as part of Patch Day, Microsoft describes ten new vulnerabilities that affect all current versions of Internet Explorer (IE) running on all current versions of Windows (except for IE 11 running on Windows 7 and 2008). Microsoft rates the aggregate severity of these new flaws as Critical.

The ten vulnerabilities differ technically, but  the eight most serious ones share the same general scope and impact, and involve various memory corruption flaws having to do with how IE handles certain HTML objects. If an attacker can lure one of your users to a web page containing malicious web code, he could exploit any one of these vulnerabilities to execute code on that user’s computer, inheriting that user’s privileges. Typically, Windows users have local administrative privileges. In that case, the attacker could exploit these flaws to gain complete control of the victim’s computer.

The remaining two vulnerabilities are Information Disclosure issues.

Keep in mind, today’s attackers often hijack legitimate web pages and booby-trap them with malicious code. Typically, they do this via hosted web ads or through SQL injection and XSS attacks. Even recognizable and authentic websites could pose a risk to your users if hijacked in this way.

If you’d like to know more about the technical differences between these flaws, see the “Vulnerability Information” section of Microsoft’s bulletin. Technical differences aside, the memory corruption flaws in IE pose significant risk. You should download and install the IE cumulative patch immediately.

Solution Path:

You should download, test, and deploy the appropriate IE updates immediately, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you. You can find links to the various IE updates in the “Affected and Non-Affected Software” section of Microsoft’s November IE security bulletin.

For All WatchGuard Users:

WatchGuard’s Gateway Antivirus and Intrusion Prevention services can often prevent these sorts of attacks, or the malware they try to distribute. Make sure to use our security services, and keep they’re signatures up to date. Furthermore, our Reputation Enabled Defense (RED) and WebBlocker services can often prevent your users from accidentally visiting malicious (or legitimate but booby-trapped) web sites that contain these sorts of attacks. Nonetheless, we still recommend you install Microsoft’s updates to completely protect yourself from all of these flaws.

Status:

Microsoft has released patches to fix these vulnerabilities.

References:

This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept).

Microsoft Black Tuesday: Updates Correct One of Two Zero day

Today’s the second Tuesday of the month, which means it’s Microsoft (and Adobe) Patch Day. One of Microsoft updates fixes a zero day vulnerability, so we recommend you install at least that one as quickly as possible.

According to their summary post for November 2013, Microsoft released eight security bulletins today, fixing 18 security flaws in products like Internet Explorer (IE), Windows, Office products, and Hyper-V. They rate three of the bulletins as Critical.

The most critical update is the ActiveX one, since it fixes a zero day flaw. A few days ago, researchers at FireEye reported that advanced attackers were exploiting a previously unknown IE flaw in targeted attacks. Microsoft quickly confirmed the flaw was due to a particular ActiveX control, and promised to fix it today. Since attackers are exploiting this particular ActiveX control in the wild, you should apply the ActiveX “killbit” patch first. The IE and GDI updates also fix some pretty serious issues, so I would apply those patches quickly as well.

For those wondering, Microsoft hasn’t yet released a patch for the previously reported zero day TIFF vulnerability. If you haven’t installed the FixIt I recommended last week, be sure to do that too.

In a nutshell, check out Microsoft’s summary and try to install all the updates at your earliest convenience. Microsoft’s Auto Update can make the process easier, but I still recommend you test server-related updates before applying them.

I’ll post more detailed alerts about Microsoft updates throughout the day, so stay tuned. As an aside, it’s also Adobe patch day. I’ll eventually post an alert for that too, but you can get a preview here.  — Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Gartner IT Expo – WSWiR Episode 80

Two IE Zero Days, iOS vs. Android, and DNS Hijacking

Today’s weekly InfoSec video comes to you on the road, from Gartner’s IT Expo Symposium.

WatchGuard had a busy week here in Orlando. I spoke on Data Security; we announced and released a new visibility tool called Dimension; and we released XTM Fireware 11.8, which includes a new data loss prevention (DLP) service.

Nonetheless, the show must go on. This week’s quick episode includes info on the latest Microsoft Patch Day, one humorous highlight from the show, a story about a bunch of hijacked security sites, and even a bit of good news. Click play below for the details, and have a great weekend!

(Episode Runtime: 7:51)

Direct YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGLG-RsUfxM

Episode References:

Extras:

— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

IE Update Fixes Two Zero Day Vulnerabilities

Severity: High

Summary:

  • These vulnerabilities affect: All current versions of Internet Explorer (IE)
  • How an attacker exploits them: By enticing one of your users to visit a web page containing malicious content
  • Impact: An attacker can execute code on your user’s computer, often gaining complete control of it
  • What to do: Install Microsoft’s IE updates immediately, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you

Exposure:

As part of today’s Patch Day, Microsoft released a security bulletin describing ten vulnerabilities affecting Internet Explorer (IE); including two that attackers have been exploiting in the wild.

On it’s surface, this bulletin looks very similar to many of Microsoft’s past IE bulletins.  It describes ten “memory corruption” vulnerabilities, which share the same scope and impact. If an attacker can lure one of your users to a web page containing maliciously crafted content, he can exploit any of these vulnerabilities to execute code on that user’s computer, inheriting that user’s privileges. Since Windows users often have local administrative privileges, attackers can leverage these issues to gain complete control of their machines.

However, today’s IE update differs slightly in that it fixes two zero day vulnerabilities that attackers are exploiting in the wild. We’ve warned you about the first in a previous post, and just learned about a second one today.

These remote code execution flaws pose significant risk to IE users, especially the two zero day ones. Attackers can exploit them to launch drive-by download attacks, and we’ve already seen them doing so with two of these vulnerabilities. If you use IE, you should download and install Microsoft’s cumulative update immediately.

Solution Path:

You should download, test, and deploy the appropriate IE updates immediately, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you. You can find links to the various IE updates in the “Affected and Non-Affected Software” section of Microsoft’s September IE security bulletin.

For All WatchGuard Users:

Good News! WatchGuard’s Gateway Antivirus and Intrusion Prevention services can often prevent these sorts of attacks, or the malware they try to distribute. For instance, our IPS signature team has developed signatures that can detect and block many of the memory corruption vulnerabilities described in Microsoft’s alert:

  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3897)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3875)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3871)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3886)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3885)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3874)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3873)

Your XTM appliance should get this new IPS update shortly.

Furthermore, our Reputation Enabled Defense (RED) and WebBlocker services can often prevent your users from accidentally visiting malicious (or legitimate but booby-trapped) web sites that contain these sorts of attacks. Nonetheless, we still recommend you install Microsoft’s updates to completely protect yourself from all of these flaws.

Status:

Microsoft has released patches to fix these vulnerabilities.

References:

This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept).

Microsoft Black Tuesday: Install the IE Update First

If you follow the blog, you’re surely aware that today’s Microsoft Patch Day; and it’s an especially important one. Though it doesn’t set any records, Microsoft has released an update to fix a fairly significant, zero day Internet Explorer (IE) vulnerability, which many attackers have exploited in the wild for the past few weeks. If you can only apply one patch today, I recommend the IE one.

In their summary post, Microsoft shares details about eight security bulletins that fix 27 vulnerabilities in many of their popular products. They rate half the bulletins as Critical, and the other half as Important. Here’s the breakdown of affected products:

  • Internet Explorer (IE) [10 issues fixed]
  • Windows and its components [12 issues fixed]
  • Office products [5 issues fixed]
    • SharePoint Server
    • Word
    • Excel

If you use any of these products, you should update as soon as possible. As mentioned earlier, I recommend you install the IE update first; and try to get to it as quickly as you can. Though Microsoft previously released a FixIt for this issue (which I hope you’re running), it’s better to be safe than sorry. That said, don’t discount the other Critical updates. In general, I recommend you download, test and deploy all of Microsofts patches as soon as you can. For more details on today’s Patch Day, check out the October bulletin summary, or wait for our detailed alerts.

On the subject of patching, today is also Adobe patch day too. They’ve released updates to fix Reader, Acrobat, and Robohelp. I’d also recommend you install those updates (the Reader one likely affects most people) as soon as you can. You can learn more about Adobe’s updates on their security page, but I’ll release an alert about them later today.

We’ll share more details about Microsoft’s bulletins in upcoming alerts, posted throughout the day.  — Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Adobe Data Breach – WSWiR Episode 79

IE Exploit, Silk Road Ruined, and NSA Tor Hacks

Better late than never.

This week’s regular Friday InfoSec video includes the latest on the Internet Explorer (IE) vulnerability, a warning to Adobe customers about a data breach, news of a popular Tor site takedown, and the latest NSA and Snowden leak. Watch the video below for details, and check out the Reference section for links to more interesting news.

Have a great weekend!

(Episode Runtime: 8:54)

Direct YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtPtQU76-ak

Episode References:

Extras:

— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Install IE FixIT to Avoid Zero Day Attack

Summary:

  • This vulnerability affects: Probably all current versions of Internet Explorer (IE), but the targeted exploit only affects IE 8 and 9
  • How an attacker exploits it: By enticing one of your users to visit a web page containing malicious content
  • Impact: In the worst case, an attacker can execute code on your user’s computer, potentially gaining complete control of it
  • What to do: Apply Microsoft’s IE FixIt, or consider the other workarounds below

Exposure:

Today, Microsoft released a critical out-of-cycle security advisory warning customers of a serious new zero day vulnerability affecting Internet Explorer (IE), which attackers are currently exploiting in the wild. The flaw likely affects all current versions of IE (6-11), but Microsoft claims the targeted attack only goes after IE 8 and 9 users.

The early advisory doesn’t describe the vulnerability in much technical detail, but what it does describe sounds very much like a  “use after free” vulnerability involving the way IE handles certain HTML objects. Regardless of the technical details, the scope and impact is the same. If an attacker can lure you to a web site containing malicious code (including a legitimate web site which may have been hijacked and booby-trapped), he could exploit this vulnerability to execute code on your computer, with your privileges.  As always, if you have local administrator privileges, the attacker could exploit this issue to gain complete control of your computer.

A remote code execution vulnerability is bad enough in theory, but knowing attackers found this one first, and are already exploiting it in the wild makes this flaw a pretty critical issue. The good news is Microsoft has released a FixIt to mitigate the risk of this flaw. We highly recommend you apply that FixIt, and also consider the other protective workarounds mentioned below.

Solution Path:

Since this vulnerability was first discovered in the wild, Microsoft has not yet had time to release a patch. However, they have released a FixIt workaround to temporarily mitigate the attack. If you use IE, I recommend you apply the FixIt immediately.

It’s important to note FixIts are temporary workarounds. They don’t replace full patches. We expect Microsoft to release a full patch for this flaw in the future, perhaps even in an out-of-cycle IE bulletin this month.

Finally, though the FixIt prevents attackers from exploiting this issue, we also offer a few other workarounds below. Some of these tips can help mitigate many web-based, memory-related vulnerabilities, so you might consider making them your regular practice:

  • Temporarily use a different web browser - I’m typically not one to recommend one web browser over another, as far as security is concerned. They all have had vulnerabilities. However, this is a fairly serious issue.  So you may want to consider temporarily using a different browser until Microsoft patches.
  • Install Microsoft EMET - EMET is an optional Microsoft tool that adds additional memory protections to Windows. I described EMET in a previous episode of WatchGuard Security Week in Review. EMET is a fairly complex tool, so I only recommend it to more advanced administrators. Nonetheless, installing it could help protect your computer from many types of memory corruption flaws, including this one.
  • Configure Enhanced Security Configuration mode on Windows Servers - Windows Servers in Enhanced Security Configuration mode are not vulnerable to this attack.
  • Make sure your AV and IPS is up to date - While not all IPS and AV systems have signatures for all these attacks yet, they will in the coming days. Be sure to keep your AV and IPS systems updating regularly, to get the latest protections.

For All WatchGuard Users:

Our IPS signature team belongs to the Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP). According to their advisory, Microsoft is sharing information about this attack with MAPP partners now. Due to this partnership, we’ll likely have a signature for this attack shortly. Regardless, we still highly recommend you apply Microsoft’s FixIt to protect your users.

Status:

Microsoft has released a FixIt to mitigate the issue. They plan on releasing a full patch in the future.

References:

This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept).

IE Update Fixes Ten Critical Memory Corruption Flaws

Severity: High

Summary:

  • These vulnerabilities affect: All current versions of Internet Explorer (IE)
  • How an attacker exploits them: By enticing one of your users to visit a web page containing malicious content
  • Impact: An attacker can execute code on your user’s computer, often gaining complete control of it
  • What to do: Install Microsoft’s IE updates immediately, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you

Exposure:

As part of today’s Patch Day, Microsoft released a security bulletin describing ten new vulnerabilities affecting Internet Explorer (IE).

If you’ve followed the latest IE updates, this is a pretty familiar story. Microsoft describes all ten flaws as “memory corruption” vulnerabilities, which all share the same scope and impact. If an attacker can lure one of your users to a web page containing maliciously crafted content, he could exploit any of these vulnerabilities to execute code on that user’s computer, inheriting that user’s privileges. Typically, Windows users have local administrative privileges, in which case the attacker can exploit these flaws to gain complete control of the victim’s computer.

If you’d like more technical detail about these flaws, see the “Vulnerability Information” section of Microsoft’s bulletin. Technicalities aside, these remote code execution flaws pose significant risk to IE users, and allow attackers to launch drive-by download attacks. Attackers often hijack legitimate web sites and force them to serve malicious web code in something the industry calls a “watering hole” attack. So these types of flaws may affect you even when visiting legitimate, trusted web sites.

If you use IE, you should download and install Microsoft’s cumulative update immediately.

Solution Path:

You should download, test, and deploy the appropriate IE updates immediately, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you. You can find links to the various IE updates in the “Affected and Non-Affected Software” section of Microsoft’s September IE security bulletin.

For All WatchGuard Users:

Good News! WatchGuard’s Gateway Antivirus and Intrusion Prevention services can often prevent these sorts of attacks, or the malware they try to distribute. For instance, our IPS signature team has developed signatures that can detect and block many of the memory corruption vulnerabilities described in Microsoft’s alert:

  • WEB Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3202)
  • WEB Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3203)
  • WEB Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3204)
  • WEB Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3205)
  • WEB Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3206)
  • WEB Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3207)
  • WEB Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3208)
  • WEB Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3209)
  • WEB Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2013-3845)

Your XTM appliance should get this new IPS update shortly.

Furthermore, our Reputation Enabled Defense (RED) and WebBlocker services can often prevent your users from accidentally visiting malicious (or legitimate but booby-trapped) web sites that contain these sorts of attacks. Nonetheless, we still recommend you install Microsoft’s updates to completely protect yourself from all of these flaws.

Status:

Microsoft has released patches to fix these vulnerabilities.

References:

This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept).

Microsoft Black Tuesday: The Largest Patch Day of 2013 (So Far)

Today’s Patch Day is the largest so far for 2013, with Microsoft releasing 13 security bulletins. While it doesn’t break any records (that Patch Day was probably the 17 bulletin one in April 2011), it’s still nothing to sneeze at. Here’s today’s patch break down.

Microsoft’s 13 bulletins fix around 47 security vulnerabilities affecting the following products:

  • Internet Explorer (IE)
  • Windows
  • many Office products
    • SharePoint Server
    • Outlook
    • Word
    • Excel
    • Access
    • FrontPage

Microsoft rates four of the bulletins as Critical, and the remaining ones Important. The impacts of these flaws range from remote code execution, elevation of privileges, information disclosure, and denial of service (DoS). For more details, check out the September bulletin summary, or wait for our detailed alerts.

At first glance, you might think the Critical Outlook bulletin is the most severe, and the first you should fix. I mean… gaining control of a user’s system simply by getting them to open an email sounds pretty horrible. However, Microsoft believes that this flaw is technically pretty difficult to exploit.

On the flip side, you might be less worried about the SharePoint issues, since you’d assume most organizations put SharePoint servers behind firewalls. Yet, as it turns out, many organizations provide public access to their SharePoint services allowing external employees easy access; some even disable authentication. My point being, I would apply the SharePoint patches first, assuming you manage SharePoint servers, but would still consider the Outlook update a close second (and don’t forget the Critical IE and Windows updates either).

We’ll share more details about Microsoft’s bulletins in upcoming alerts, posted throughout the day. We’ve posted Microsoft’s update matrix below, for your convenience.  — Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

MS Patch Day: Sept. 2013

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