Vulnerabilities / Threats
6/28/2013
09:27 AM
50%
50%

IE, Chrome Browser Attack Exploits Windows PCs

Microsoft says the social-engineering vulnerability, which uses "pop-under" browser notifications and a fake Captcha, isn't a Windows bug.

Might Microsoft issue a patch to lock down the Windows user interface and block these types of attacks? In fact, Microsoft has issued a statement saying that it doesn't see the related Windows behavior as constituting a vulnerability. It also said that browser security tools, such as the Smart Screen filter first introduced with IE8, will help block related exploits.

"We are aware of this industry-wide social engineering technique that requires user interaction to run a malicious application," according to Microsoft's statement. "This is not a vulnerability, as someone must be convinced to visit a malicious site and take additional action, such as using a keyboard shortcut to execute the malicious application. Smart Screen will help mitigate the risk for customers running Internet Explorer. We continue to encourage customers [to] exercise caution when visiting untrusted websites."

But Valotta said Microsoft's Smart Screen technology isn't infallible. "There are a lot of ways to circumvent Smart Screen," he said. One technique would be to use a stolen extended validation signing certificate to give the malware a good reputation. Another technique is to use extweets -- shortened URLs made to link to malicious executables -- of which Valotta said about 20% don't appear to be on Microsoft's list of bad code, or classified as malware by Virus Total.

Microsoft Windows User Access Control (UAC) settings can also help block attacks that target the notification-mechanism vulnerabilities, for example by flashing a warning -- above all other windows -- whenever an application requests administrator privileges. But Valotta said that admin-level access isn't required to do damage, and cites malware such as Carberp that's able to inject JavaScript and HTML into the client browser to make it appear to be a legitimate site.

How might Microsoft or Google lock down Windows or their respective browsers to block these types of attacks? Valotta offered several recommendations, including altering browsers so that any notifications tied to background windows be brought to the front after a preset period of delay, as well as disabling use of the tab key in notification windows and ensuring that all important notifications -- for example, file-download alerts -- are displayed in a static browser frame that can't be hidden in a pop-under window.

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
moarsauce123
50%
50%
moarsauce123,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/29/2013 | 5:55:50 PM
re: IE, Chrome Browser Attack Exploits Windows PCs
This is clearly a browser bug. As soon as a notification gets shown the window needs to be active and in the front. But is easier to blame others than fix the own flaws.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2130
Published: 2015-03-05
Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) provides an unintentional administration web interface based on Apache Tomcat, which allows remote authenticated users to modify application files and configuration files, and consequently execute arbitrary code, by leveraging administrative privileges, aka B...

CVE-2014-9688
Published: 2015-03-05
Unspecified vulnerability in the Ninja Forms plugin before 2.8.10 for WordPress has unknown impact and remote attack vectors related to admin users.

CVE-2015-0598
Published: 2015-03-05
The RADIUS implementation in Cisco IOS and IOS XE allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (device reload) via crafted IPv6 Attributes in Access-Accept packets, aka Bug IDs CSCur84322 and CSCur27693.

CVE-2015-0607
Published: 2015-03-05
The Authentication Proxy feature in Cisco IOS does not properly handle invalid AAA return codes from RADIUS and TACACS+ servers, which allows remote attackers to bypass authentication in opportunistic circumstances via a connection attempt that triggers an invalid code, as demonstrated by a connecti...

CVE-2015-0657
Published: 2015-03-05
Cisco IOS XR allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (RSVP process reload) via a malformed RSVP packet, aka Bug ID CSCur69192.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.