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.

Perimeter

Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
What's This?
7/26/2010
11:31 AM
Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
Security Insights
50%
50%

Block Windows Shortcut Exploit Without Losing Your Shortcut Icons

Here at SophosLabs we've been working out the best way to protect computer users against the zero-day flaw that has hit all versions of Windows.

Here at SophosLabs we've been working out the best way to protect computer users against the zero-day flaw that has hit all versions of Windows.As you have probably heard by now, there's a vulnerability, known as the "shortcut exploit," that affects the way Microsoft Windows handles .LNK shortcut files. If Windows tries to display the icon of an exploited shortcut file, it can run the malicious code pointed to by the shortcut -- without any user interaction.

One of the ways we have seen this problem exploited is via malware infections on USB sticks, which are capable of running viral code even if AutoPlay and AutoRun are disabled.

Microsoft issued an emergency "workaround," but unfortunately it blanks out your shortcut icons on your desktop in a rather ugly, scary manner -- probably not something you want to roll out across your entire organization.

Our Sophos antivirus product protects our customers from the shortcut exploit, but to help others we've produced a free tool that installs a new icon handler for Windows shortcuts.

Whenever Windows tries to display an icon corresponding to a Windows shortcut, the new icon handler will intercept this request and validate the shortcut. If the shortcut does not contain the exploit, then control will be given back to Windows.

But if the shortcut does contain an exploit, then a message is displayed to the user and extraction of the dangerous icon is blocked.

What's really nice is that it doesn't matter which antivirus software you're using: You can still install this free tool from Sophos, and it will work alongside your existing antivirus.

Hopefully soon Microsoft will release a proper patch to protect against the shortcut vulnerability, and then you can simply uninstall the Sophos tool. But in the meantime, this is pretty nifty.

You can download the free tool here.

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
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/14/2020
Omdia Research Launches Page on Dark Reading
Tim Wilson, Editor in Chief, Dark Reading 7/9/2020
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-2019-17637
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
In all versions of Eclipse Web Tools Platform through release 3.18 (2020-06), XML and DTD files referring to external entities could be exploited to send the contents of local files to a remote server when edited or validated, even when external entity resolution is disabled in the user preferences.
CVE-2020-7292
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Inappropriate Encoding for output context in McAfee Web Gateway (MWG) prior to 9.2.1 allows remote attacker to cause MWG to return an ambiguous redirect response via getting a user to click on a malicious URL.
CVE-2020-14511
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Malicious operation of the crafted web browser cookie may cause a stack-based buffer overflow in the system web server on the EDR-G902 and EDR-G903 Series Routers (versions prior to 5.4).
CVE-2020-4100
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
"HCL Verse for Android was found to employ dynamic code loading. This mechanism allows a developer to specify which components of the application should not be loaded by default when the application is started. Typically, core components and additional dependencies are loaded natively at runtim...
CVE-2020-5765
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Nessus 8.10.0 and earlier were found to contain a Stored XSS vulnerability due to improper validation of input during scan configuration. An authenticated, remote attacker could potentially exploit this vulnerability to execute arbitrary code in a user's session. Tenable has implemented additional i...