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.

Endpoint

7/27/2018
05:10 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Automating Kernel Exploitation for Better Flaw Remediation

Black Hat researchers plan on open sourcing a new framework they say can help organizations get a better rein on vulnerability fixes for kernel bugs.

The explosive disclosure of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities were like a detonator on the already incendiary field of kernel vulnerabilities this year. Security researchers had previously been ramping up their exploration of kernel bugs, but this year the discoveries have mushroomed considerably.

As CISOs and security personnel seek to mitigate the risk of kernel-level attacks, they're going to need a better way to prioritize vulnerabilities for remediation. A group of researchers set to present at Black Hat USA in a couple of weeks are preparing to offer them a new exploit framework that they say can help security pros do exactly that. 

"Over the past eight months, Syzbot--an automated tool to identify kernel bugs and vulnerabilities--has flagged about 800 kernel bugs," explains Jimmy Su, who leads the JD security research center in Silicon Valley. "However, the Linux kernel community has limited manpower to patch these bugs quickly."

Together with academic researchers Wei Wu and Xinyu Xing of Penn State University, Su will present a new open source framework that they say can help security pros craft "powerful working exploits against arbitrary kernel vulnerabilities in a semi-automated fashion." 

Along with the unveiling of the framework, the trio plans on disclosing a number of working exploits against several kernel vulnerabilities—about half of which had not seen confirmed examples of exploitability in the past. 

"The exploit automation technique is a tool the community can use to quickly assess the exploitability of these bugs, allowing them to prioritize their remediation efforts based on the ease of exploitation," he says. "The goal is to patch kernel bugs with high risks in a timely fashion and reduce the amount of time Linux machines would remain vulnerable."  

While automated exploit generation is hardly a new thing, generating exploits for operating system kernel flaws is notoriously tricky due to complexity and scalability issues, Su and his compatriots say. The new framework they present uses kernel fuzzing and symbolic execution to prod flaws for exploitability under a number of different kernel panic contexts. It provides analysts with three major capabilities; It'll automate identification of system calls needed to exploit the vulnerability, it'll offer automated security mitigation bypassing, and it will automatically generate exploits with different objectives, such as privilege escalation or data leakage.  

Su believes that security teams should generally be leaning on exploit automation as a method for prioritizing vulnerability remediation.

"Every week, an enterprise might handle hundreds or even thousands of software bugs and most organizations don’t have sufficient manpower to sift through and patch these bugs rapidly," he says. "Exploitation automation techniques give an enterprise the ability to identify high-risk bugs and prioritize their remediation efforts accordingly." 

This holds true whether the issues are kernel flaws or not. 

"Though our research demonstrates exploit automation in the context of Linux kernel, our techniques can be generally applied to other daily software," he says. "As such, CISOs can use our technique to prioritize their remediation efforts (and scale) their software security for their daily operation."

Related Content:

 

 

 

 

Black Hat USA returns to Las Vegas with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
News
Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
Commentary
Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-32615
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
Piwigo 11.4.0 allows admin/user_list_backend.php order[0][dir] SQL Injection.
CVE-2021-33026
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
The Flask-Caching extension through 1.10.1 for Flask relies on Pickle for serialization, which may lead to remote code execution or local privilege escalation. If an attacker gains access to cache storage (e.g., filesystem, Memcached, Redis, etc.), they can construct a crafted payload, poison the ca...
CVE-2021-31876
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
Bitcoin Core 0.12.0 through 0.21.1 does not properly implement the replacement policy specified in BIP125, which makes it easier for attackers to trigger a loss of funds, or a denial of service attack against downstream projects such as Lightning network nodes. An unconfirmed child transaction with ...
CVE-2019-10062
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
The HTMLSanitizer class in html-sanitizer.ts in all released versions of the Aurelia framework 1.x repository is vulnerable to XSS. The sanitizer only attempts to filter SCRIPT elements, which makes it feasible for remote attackers to conduct XSS attacks via (for example) JavaScript code in an attri...
CVE-2020-23995
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
An information disclosure vulnerability in ILIAS before 5.3.19, 5.4.12 and 6.0 allows remote authenticated attackers to get the upload data path via a workspace upload.