Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

6/13/2019
08:40 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

BlueKeep RDP Vulnerability a Ticking Time Bomb

One month after Microsoft disclosed the flaw, nearly 1 million systems remain unpatched, and Internet scans looking for vulnerable systems have begun increasing.

The BlueKeep RDP vulnerability continues to be a ticking time bomb one month after Microsoft publicly disclosed the flaw.

New research from security vendor BitSight shows that close to 1 million systems with RDP exposed to the Internet remain unpatched and vulnerable to attacks.

Another report from Check Point Research this week notes a recent increase in scanning attempts for the flaw from multiple countries, which the company sees as a sign that some threat actors are conducting reconnaissance in preparation for an attack.

Multiple reports of proof-of-concept code becoming available for the flaw have also surfaced in recent weeks, adding to concerns that BlueKeep could soon be used to launch attacks similar in scale to the WannaCry and NotPetya outbreaks of 2017.

"It's surprising that organizations haven't been more efficient and diligent in patching this vulnerability, particularly given the ominous nature of the warning from both Microsoft and the NSA," says Jake Olcott, vice president at BitSight. It's hard to say what exactly might explain the lack of initiative, but poor visibility over deployed systems could be one reason, he says.

The most valuable piece one can take away from the report is the importance of examining an organization's vulnerabilities across the ecosystem, he says. "Too frequently, organizations are diligent when examining their own internal mechanisms but fail to audit risks within third-party systems along the supply chain, from contractors and vendors," Olcott says.

BlueKeep (CVE-2019-0708) is a critical remote code execution bug in the Remote Desktop Services Protocol in older and legacy versions of Windows, including Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Visa, and Windows Server 2008. Microsoft has described the flaw as giving attackers a way to gain complete control over a vulnerable system and to install programs, view, change, or modify data and create new accounts with full user rights. The bug does not require an attacker to be authenticated or for the user to take any action in order to be exploited.

"In other words, the vulnerability is 'wormable,'" the company said in an blog that urged companies to patch vulnerable systems quickly. "Any future malware that exploits this vulnerability could propagate from vulnerable computer to vulnerable computer in a similar way as the WannaCry malware spread across the globe in 2017."

Microsoft considers the threat posed by BlueKeep to be so severe it issued patches even for Windows versions that it no longer supports but is widely used around the world. In an advisory last month, the NSA warned that it was "only a matter of time" before remote exploitation tools become available for BlueKeep and threat actors begin including the exploits in ransomware and exploit kits.

According to BitSight, a scan for externally observable systems with RDP showed that 972, 829 vulnerable systems still remain unpatched nearly a month after BlueKeep was first disclosed. Most of the unpatched systems are located either in China or the US. Other countries with a significant number of vulnerable systems include Germany, Brazil, Russia, France, and Great Britain.

The organizations that appear most vulnerable to the threat — based on the presence of at least one vulnerable system on their networks — include those in the telecommunications, education, and technology sectors, BitSight's scanning data shows. At the other end of the spectrum, organizations in the insurance, finance, legal, and healthcare industries appear to have made the most progress in patching BlueKeep or in having other mitigations against it.

In many ways, the threat associated with BlueKeep is similar to the threat posed by the EternalBlue bug that was exploited in the 2017 WannaCry campaign, BitSight says. The one difference is that a reliable exploit for EternalBlue became available almost as soon as the bug was disclosed.

In BlueKeep's case, there is no sign yet that an exploit has become publicly available. But there are reports of several proof-of-exploit-code being built by reverse-engineering the Microsoft patch.

Whether BlueKeep will result in attacks similar to those enabled by EternalBlue depends on how the exploit is delivered, Olcott says. "If it's exploited within enough vulnerable systems, it certainly could be as impactful as EternalBlue," he says. "A lot of that impact depends on the delivery method of the exploit — such as a worm — and how many devices it can impact at one time."

Related Content:

 

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/9/2020
Russian Cyber Gang 'Cosmic Lynx' Focuses on Email Fraud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/7/2020
Why Cybersecurity's Silence Matters to Black Lives
Tiffany Ricks, CEO, HacWare,  7/8/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15105
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Django Two-Factor Authentication before 1.12, stores the user's password in clear text in the user session (base64-encoded). The password is stored in the session when the user submits their username and password, and is removed once they complete authentication by entering a two-factor authenticati...
CVE-2020-11061
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
In Bareos Director less than or equal to 16.2.10, 17.2.9, 18.2.8, and 19.2.7, a heap overflow allows a malicious client to corrupt the director's memory via oversized digest strings sent during initialization of a verify job. Disabling verify jobs mitigates the problem. This issue is also patched in...
CVE-2020-4042
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Bareos before version 19.2.8 and earlier allows a malicious client to communicate with the director without knowledge of the shared secret if the director allows client initiated connection and connects to the client itself. The malicious client can replay the Bareos director's cram-md5 challenge to...
CVE-2020-11081
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
osquery before version 4.4.0 enables a priviledge escalation vulnerability. If a Window system is configured with a PATH that contains a user-writable directory then a local user may write a zlib1.dll DLL, which osquery will attempt to load. Since osquery runs with elevated privileges this enables l...
CVE-2020-6114
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
An exploitable SQL injection vulnerability exists in the Admin Reports functionality of Glacies IceHRM v26.6.0.OS (Commit bb274de1751ffb9d09482fd2538f9950a94c510a) . A specially crafted HTTP request can cause SQL injection. An attacker can make an authenticated HTTP request to trigger this vulnerabi...