Perimeter
Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
What's This?
7/16/2010
10:36 AM
Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
Security Insights
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

Zero-Day Vulnerability Allows USB Malware To Run Automatically

A newly discovered piece of malware has created a buzz in the security industry.

A newly discovered piece of malware has created a buzz in the security industry.The Stuxnet rootkit can infect a Windows PC from a USB drive automatically, even if Windows Autoplay and Autorun are disabled.

That shouldn't, of course, be possible, but it appears that the malware is exploiting a previously unknown vulnerability (dubbed "CPLINK" by Sophos) in the way that Windows handles .LNK shortcut files, allowing the malignant code to execute automatically if the USB stick is accessed by Windows Explorer. Once the rootkit is in place, it effectively enters "stealth-mode," cloaking its presence on the infected PC.

Of course, there has been plenty of USB-aware malware in the past. Threats such as the infamous Conficker worm have spread ferociously, but could be tempered by disabling AutoPlay.

The risk now is that more malware will take advantage of the apparent zero-day exploit used by the Stuxnet rootkit, taking things to a whole new level.

But there's another reason why Stuxnet is being examined with interest by the security community: It appears that the malware could be targeting Windows computers running Siemens SCADA software -- code that controls national critical infrastructure.

Furthermore, the suspicious driver files that contain the malware carry the digital signature of Realtek Semiconductor, a major supplier of computer equipment.

It's important not to overreact to this threat; the exploit was only recently discovered and the security community has not yet established the extent of the risk to SCADA systems. But the fact that SCADA systems are involved at all does mean everyone will be examining the attack closely.

Eyes will also inevitably be turned to Microsoft to see how it will respond to what appears to be another unpatched vulnerability in its code.

Sophos detects the malicious files involved in the attack as W32/Stuxnet-B.

For more information about Stuxnet and the associated USB vulnerability, please check out the blog of my colleague, Chet Wisniewski.

Graham Cluley is senior technology consultant at Sophos, and has been working in the computer security field since the early 1990s. When he's not updating his award-winning other blog on the Sophos website, you can find him on Twitter at @gcluley. Special to Dark Reading.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2012-0360
Published: 2014-04-23
Memory leak in Cisco IOS before 15.1(1)SY, when IKEv2 debugging is enabled, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via crafted packets, aka Bug ID CSCtn22376.

CVE-2012-1317
Published: 2014-04-23
The multicast implementation in Cisco IOS before 15.1(1)SY allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (Route Processor crash) by sending packets at a high rate, aka Bug ID CSCts37717.

CVE-2012-1366
Published: 2014-04-23
Cisco IOS before 15.1(1)SY on ASR 1000 devices, when Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) tracking is enabled for IPv6, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (device reload) via crafted MLD packets, aka Bug ID CSCtz28544.

CVE-2012-3062
Published: 2014-04-23
Cisco IOS before 15.1(1)SY, when Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) snooping is enabled, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (CPU consumption or device crash) via MLD packets on a network that contains many IPv6 hosts, aka Bug ID CSCtr88193.

CVE-2012-3918
Published: 2014-04-23
Cisco IOS before 15.3(1)T on Cisco 2900 devices, when a VWIC2-2MFT-T1/E1 card is configured for TDM/HDLC mode, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (serial-interface outage) via certain Frame Relay traffic, aka Bug ID CSCub13317.

Best of the Web