Risk
9/17/2010
04:55 PM
50%
50%

Security Exploits Increasingly Complex

A study from HP TippingPoint finds that web applications are still an attack magnet, but hackers now appear to be collaborating more closely to spot new flaws.

More than 80% of network attacks now target web-based systems, according to a new study released by HP TippingPoint.

"That trend, in and of itself, wasn't obviously too newsworthy, but what was really striking to us was that most of these attacks are so much more sophisticated than they were," said Mike Dausin, manager of Advanced Security Intelligence for HP TippingPoint DVLabs. "One of the exploits we see these days actually has release notes in it."

Unfortunately, that alone suggests a hitherto previously unseen level of black hat collaboration. "Hackers are taking this very seriously and are collaborating with other black hats to develop code that has a much better chance of exploiting people when they visit their malicious sites," he said. Their goals, as ever, continue to be largely financial.

The report also found that there are a striking number of zero-day vulnerabilities at large at any given time, affecting some of the most used software products. "We may know of five, six, seven at any given time," he said. "People who are savvy in the industry already know this, but most people we tell just don't realize how many vulnerabilities there are in the products they use every day."

What's also changed is the number of people who independently discover these vulnerabilities. "Two years ago, it was very anomalous for us to find a vulnerability that someone else had found, but as of last year and certainly continuing this year, it was very common for two researchers to find the exact same vulnerability in a product," said Dausin.

Partially, that's to do with vulnerability tool kits getting better, allowing more researchers to discover bugs. But unfortunately, if researchers with good intentions can unearth more bugs, so can people with other plans. "It would be naive to say that only the legitimate researchers are finding these vulnerabilities, especially since multiple researchers are finding them at the same time," he said.

What can be done to help break the efficacy of these zero-day attacks? "One thing we expect will happen in the near future is that PC users will start to move toward a smartphone-type model, where the average PC will only be able to download and install an application from an app store," said Dausin. For viruses that rely on executing arbitrary code, "many of those problems go away" if you lock down the ability to execute executables, he said.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
5 Security Technologies to Watch in 2017
Emerging tools and services promise to make a difference this year. Are they on your company's list?
Flash Poll
Secure Application Development - New Best Practices
Secure Application Development - New Best Practices
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
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
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.