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

3/30/2018
03:55 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

Microsoft Rushes Out Fix for Major Hole Caused by Previous Meltdown Patch

Issue affects Windows 7 x64 and Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 systems.

Microsoft has rushed out an out-of-cycle security patch to address problems created by what were supposed to be fixes for the Meltdown vulnerability that it had previously issued for 64-bit Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 systems.

In an advisory Thursday, the company urged anyone running Windows 7 for x64 systems or Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based systems to immediately install the new update. The advice applies to all organizations and users that have installed any of Microsoft's security updates during or after January 2018.

The update for CVE-2018-1038 stems from a warning by Swedish penetration tester Ulf Frisk that Microsoft's Meltdown patch for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 created a bigger hole than the one the patch was designed to fix.

The patch basically allowed any running process on these systems to read the complete contents in memory and to write to it as well. "Exploitation was just a matter of read and write to already mapped in-process virtual memory," Frisk said. "No fancy APIs or syscalls required — just standard read and write." The problem stemmed from a permission bit in a key memory table being set in "user" mode rather than "supervisor" mode.

"This made the page tables available to user-mode code in every process," rather than only by the kernel itself, Frisk said.

Chris Goetti, director of product management at Ivanti, says the vulnerability created by the Microsoft patch is pretty significant and something that needs to be addressed with haste, if possible.

"When Microsoft issued a fix for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, they made a mistake and ended up opening up read and write access in RAM so anybody could access anything in memory and write to it," he says. "It is a significant vulnerability and leaves those systems pretty much exposed" without the update.

At this point, those with affected systems should test the new patch quickly and roll it out. Another option for those that don't have the time to test the new patch will be to roll back the March update and wait for Microsoft's April update, which is due April 11.

"We are close to the April update," Goetti says. "Our guidance is to either apply the new update or roll back the March update," for Windows 7 x64-bit systems and Windows Server 2008 x64-bit systems, he says.

Organizations should not make the mistake of assuming the issue is related to Meltdown/Spectre and wait for things to settle down, cautions Jack Danahy, CTO and co-founder of Barkly. "This is an easy-to-exploit zero-day vulnerability and a much more probable attack vector that the original problem that Microsoft was trying to correct."

Unlike problems created by Spectre and Meltdown, "this isn't just a cleanup exercise. Microsoft accidentally distributed a new zero-day vulnerability of their own design."

The error is an example of the kind of issues that can crop up when things are rushed, he says. Fixing bugs is akin to serious software development, and it creates the same opportunities for mistakes, Danahy notes.

"I think that this will only serve to further deteriorate organizational willingness to apply patches automatically and without their own testing," he says. "I'm personally hoping that everyone deploys this patch to CVE-2018-1038, because this vulnerability is so easy to exploit that there are already exploit toolkits integrating it."

Related Content:

 

Interop ITX 2018

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop ITX. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop ITX 2018 agenda here.

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

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Windows 10 Migration: Getting It Right
Kevin Alexandra, Principal Solutions Engineer at BeyondTrust,  5/15/2019
Artist Uses Malware in Installation
Dark Reading Staff 5/17/2019
Baltimore Ransomware Attack Takes Strange Twist
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  5/14/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-12184
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-19
There is XSS in browser/components/MarkdownPreview.js in BoostIO Boostnote 0.11.15 via a label named flowchart, sequence, gallery, or chart, as demonstrated by a crafted SRC attribute of an IFRAME element, a different vulnerability than CVE-2019-12136.
CVE-2019-12173
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-18
MacDown 0.7.1 (870) allows remote code execution via a file:\\\ URI, with a .app pathname, in the HREF attribute of an A element. This is different from CVE-2019-12138.
CVE-2019-12172
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-17
Typora 0.9.9.21.1 (1913) allows arbitrary code execution via a modified file: URL syntax in the HREF attribute of an AREA element, as demonstrated by file:\\\ on macOS or Linux, or file://C| on Windows. This is different from CVE-2019-12137.
CVE-2019-12168
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-17
Four-Faith Wireless Mobile Router F3x24 v1.0 devices allow remote code execution via the Command Shell (aka Administration > Commands) screen.
CVE-2019-12170
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-17
ATutor through 2.2.4 is vulnerable to arbitrary file uploads via the mods/_core/backups/upload.php (aka backup) component. This may result in remote command execution. An attacker can use the instructor account to fully compromise the system using a crafted backup ZIP archive. This will allow for PH...