Vulnerabilities / Threats
5/25/2011
11:20 AM
50%
50%

Attackers Step Away From Mainstream, Target Lesser-Known Apps

Attackers Step Away From Mainstream, Target Lesser-Known Apps.

Microsoft has Patch Tuesday. Oracle and Adobe are on regular patch cycles, often issuing 10 or more patches at once. But many smaller vendors haven't yet developed such rigorous patching processes--and that might make them prime targets for new exploits, experts say.

After years of attacking popular Microsoft file formats, such as Word and Excel, attackers moved on to Adobe's PDF and Flash formats. Today, more attacks are focusing on Oracle's Java. As they became subject to more frequent attacks, software vendors strengthened their platforms to make them more difficult to assault.

But for the most part, smaller software vendors have not had to weather the scrutiny of cybercriminals and security researchers. And because of this lack of scrutiny, attackers are beginning to develop more targeted and sophisticated attacks that take advantage of flaws in less popular software that has not had as much rigorous security testing.

"At some point, [attackers] are going to exhaust all the different file formats that they can exploit," says Mike Dausin, manager of advanced security intelligence for HP TippingPoint's DVLabs. "It was only .exes at first, and then it was screen savers, and on and on down the list. ... As the holes get plugged, [attackers] will likely move on to the more exotic formats."

The tactic is not unheard of among malware. In 2009, antivirus firms found that the Induc virus used Delphi files to build itself into programs and infect other systems. Around the same time, another piece of malware, Utax, used Virtual LISP to infect AutoCAD files. And, of course, one way that Stuxnet spreads is through the industrial control file format Step 7.

Focusing on the less scrutinized software means vulnerabilities will be easier to find, says Wolfgang Kandek, CTO for vulnerability management firm Qualys. For example, in April Microsoft patched a buffer overflow in the Windows Fax Cover Page Editor that could have allowed malicious code to run, Kandek says.



Read the rest of this article on Dark Reading.

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: You should see what I wear on my work from home days!
Current Issue
The Changing Face of Identity Management
Mobility and cloud services are altering the concept of user identity. Here are some ways to keep up.
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.