Vulnerabilities / Threats // Vulnerability Management
5/26/2014
00:00 AM
Tim Wilson
Tim Wilson
Quick Hits
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

New Vulnerability In IE8 Remains Unpatched

Security vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 browser is disclosed by Zero-Day Initiative after software giant fails to patch during 180-day window

The Zero-Day Initiative Wednesday released details on a new vulnerability in Internet Explorer 8 that was discovered in October and still has not been patched.

The ZDI, a vulnerability broker operated by HP's TippingPoint unit, gives vendors 180 days to fix flaws before it discloses them. The new IE8 vulnerability, which was discovered in October 2013, was not included in Microsoft's May Patch Tuesday releases, so the ZDI finally released the data -- even though no patch is yet available.

"This vulnerability allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on vulnerable installations of Microsoft Internet Explorer," the ZDI says. "User interaction is required to exploit this vulnerability in that the target must visit a malicious page or open a malicious file.

"The specific flaw exists within the handling of CMarkup objects," according to the vulnerability report. "The allocation initially happens within CMarkup::CreateInitialMarkup. [A dangling pointer is freed] after the execution of certain JavaScript code followed by a CollectGarbage call. By manipulating a document's elements, an attacker can force a dangling pointer to be reused after it has been freed. An attacker can leverage this vulnerability to execute code under the context of the current process."

Using this flaw, an attacker could potentially convince a user to click on a link to a malicious or compromised website, then infect the user's machine and gain the same rights as the user, the ZDI says.

Although there is no patch available, there are some workarounds available, the ZDI notes. The simplest one is to use another browser, or a later version of IE, since the vulnerability only affects IE8. Users can also set their Internet security zone settings to "High" to block ActiveX Controls and Active Scripting. Enterprises can also minimize the impact of the flaw by maintaining a least-privilege policy that limits their administrative rights.

Why hasn't Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability, which was first disclosed to it more than seven months ago? In a blog posted last week, Qualys CTO Wolfgang Kandek suggests that other vulnerabilities may have taken precedence.

"After six months, Microsoft no doubt has developed a patch for the issue," Kandek writes. "However, it seems its release was delayed due to the short term nature May’s IE patch (MS14-029) which was specifically engineered to address a vulnerability in the use in wild, that was detected by Google’s security team.  That release took priority over the normal, scheduled release and got Microsoft into this situation with ZDI."

Kandek advises users to update to a newer version of IE or avoid the browser altogether. 

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
5/26/2014 | 10:19:21 PM
Re: High risks
Thanks!

This seems to be the same solution to the vulnerability that lies within the past vulnerability that involved IE versions 6-10. EMET 3.4 or higher is needed.

How do the two compare on a functional level? I understand this vulnerability, with user input, allows the exploitist the same privileges but I was under the impression that the previous vulnerability didn't provide such access. 
securityaffairs
50%
50%
securityaffairs,
User Rank: Ninja
5/26/2014 | 6:12:00 PM
Re: High risks
Ryan as explained by the researcher who has reported the flaw

 

"Users are advised to block ActiveX Controls and Active Scripting and also install EMET (Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit), that enable you to manage security mitigation technologies,"

 

http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/25122/hacking/microsoft-0day-internet-explorer.html
securityaffairs
50%
50%
securityaffairs,
User Rank: Ninja
5/26/2014 | 6:11:37 PM
Re: High risks
Ryan as explained by the researcher who has reported the flaw

 

"Users are advised to block ActiveX Controls and Active Scripting and also install EMET (Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit), that enable you to manage security mitigation technologies,"

 

http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/25122/hacking/microsoft-0day-internet-explorer.html
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
5/26/2014 | 5:25:04 PM
ActiveX high security
Is this vulnerability explicitly allowed via activex controls? IE allows for custom settings, I would like to know specific activex control that provides the vulnerability. This way the settings to be customized to not disallow activex controls that may need to be active for efficient business application. 
securityaffairs
50%
50%
securityaffairs,
User Rank: Ninja
5/26/2014 | 2:06:25 PM
High risks
The story is very concerning, the window of exposure is really large and third-parties actors could benefit. 

It could be interesting to evaluate if attackers have already exploited the flaw in the wild. I'm waiting for official data from security firms that are investigating on ongoing cyber attacks.

I'm very alarmed by a so long time spent to fix a flaw. 180 days is really a limit-time for this kind of fix.

 

 
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-4262
Published: 2014-07-28
svnwcsub.py in Subversion 1.8.0 before 1.8.3, when using the --pidfile option and running in foreground mode, allows local users to gain privileges via a symlink attack on the pid file. NOTE: this issue was SPLIT due to different affected versions (ADT3). The irkerbridge.py issue is covered by CVE-...

CVE-2013-4840
Published: 2014-07-28
Unspecified vulnerability in HP and H3C VPN Firewall Module products SECPATH1000FE before 5.20.R3177 and SECBLADEFW before 5.20.R3177 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service via unknown vectors.

CVE-2013-7393
Published: 2014-07-28
The daemonize.py module in Subversion 1.8.0 before 1.8.2 allows local users to gain privileges via a symlink attack on the pid file created for (1) svnwcsub.py or (2) irkerbridge.py when the --pidfile option is used. NOTE: this issue was SPLIT from CVE-2013-4262 based on different affected versions...

CVE-2014-2974
Published: 2014-07-28
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in php/user_account.php in Silver Peak VX through 6.2.4 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that create administrative accounts.

CVE-2014-2975
Published: 2014-07-28
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in php/user_account.php in Silver Peak VX before 6.2.4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the user_id parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Sara Peters hosts a conversation on Botnets and those who fight them.