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%

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
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-2012-6651
Published: 2014-07-31
Multiple directory traversal vulnerabilities in the Vitamin plugin before 1.1.0 for WordPress allow remote attackers to access arbitrary files via a .. (dot dot) in the path parameter to (1) add_headers.php or (2) minify.php.

CVE-2014-2970
Published: 2014-07-31
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2014-5139. Reason: This candidate is a duplicate of CVE-2014-5139, and has also been used to refer to an unrelated topic that is currently outside the scope of CVE. This unrelated topic is a LibreSSL code change adding functionality ...

CVE-2014-3488
Published: 2014-07-31
The SslHandler in Netty before 3.9.2 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop and CPU consumption) via a crafted SSLv2Hello message.

CVE-2014-3554
Published: 2014-07-31
Buffer overflow in the ndp_msg_opt_dnssl_domain function in libndp allows remote routers to cause a denial of service (crash) and possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted DNS Search List (DNSSL) in an IPv6 router advertisement.

CVE-2014-5171
Published: 2014-07-31
SAP HANA Extend Application Services (XS) does not encrypt transmissions for applications that enable form based authentication using SSL, which allows remote attackers to obtain credentials and other sensitive information by sniffing the network.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio