Attacks/Breaches
7/27/2010
12:59 PM
50%
50%

Sophos Blocks Windows Shell Attacks

Malware protection tool doesn't blank out shortcut icons like Microsoft's proposed workaround for the active exploit.

To help safeguard PCs against the Windows Shell -- aka shortcut -- file attack now at large, Sophos on Monday announced the release of Sophos Windows Shortcut Exploit Protection Tool.

The free tool prevents malware from exploiting the Windows Shell vulnerability and warns users when it finds a potential exploit. The tool operates in real time, so users don't have to remember to run it, and intercepts malicious shortcut files both on PC hard drives as well as non-local drives, such as USB drives.

Unlike the Microsoft-recommended workaround and related tool, the Sophos tool won't blank out shortcut file images, turning once colorful and identifiable icons into blank white graphics. Furthermore, Sophos says its tool will work alongside any existing antivirus software.

Malware which exploits the Windows Shell vulnerability first appeared in mid-July, in the form of the Stuxnet worm, which targeted SCADA control systems developed by Siemens, spreading via USB drives. Computers in Iran, more than any other country, appeared to suffer the most infections from Stuxnet.

The shortcut vulnerability is present in Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server R2. Attacks which exploit it are so potent because simply displaying a malicious icon in a Microsoft Explorer or file manager window will trigger the attack. Furthermore, attacks exploiting the vulnerability will work even with AutoRun and AutoPlay disabled.

Since Stuxnet first appeared, four new Windows Shell exploits have been discovered: the Dulkis and Vobfus worms, Chymin keylogging software, as well as a variant of the Zeus financial malware. Thankfully, according to F-Secure, "we don't really expect great success for this particular variant of Zeus," because it relies on social engineering to try and trick users into opening a password-protected zip file and copying the malicious DLL file contained therein to a designated directory.

Still, expect to see more malware gunning for the shortcut vulnerability. According to Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, "details of how to exploit the security hole are now published on the web, meaning it is child's play for other hackers to take advantage and create attacks."

Microsoft has yet to patch the vulnerability.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
DNS Threats: What Every Enterprise Should Know
Domain Name System exploits could put your data at risk. Here's some advice on how to avoid them.
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio

The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.

So why does the shortage of women continue to be worse in security than in other IT sectors? How can men in infosec be better allies for women; and how can women be better allies for one another? What is the industry doing to fix the problem -- what's working, and what isn't?

Is this really a problem at all? Are the low numbers simply an indication that women do not want to be in cybersecurity, and is it possible that more women will never want to be in cybersecurity? How many women would we need to see in the industry to declare success?

Join Dark Reading senior editor Sara Peters and guests Angela Knox of Cloudmark, Barrett Sellers of Arbor Networks, Regina Wallace-Jones of Facebook, Steve Christey Coley of MITRE, and Chris Roosenraad of M3AAWG on Wednesday, July 13 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss all this and more.