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.

Threat Intelligence

12/23/2019
10:00 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

20 Vulnerabilities to Prioritize Patching Before 2020

Researchers list the top 20 vulnerabilities currently exploited by attack groups around the world.

It's an ongoing challenge for security practitioners: You want to keep all systems up-to-date and secure, but limited resources, legacy systems, and slow patching processes hold you back.

To aid in patch management strategy, researchers with Verint's Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) Group analyzed the top 20 vulnerabilities currently exploited by global attack groups. Forty-five percent affect Microsoft products, and some bugs used in successful attacks date back to 2012.

The National Vulnerability Database (NVD) reports 16,514 vulnerabilities were disclosed in 2018, indicating an average of roughly 45 new bugs per day. Additional data shows nearly 60% of all flaws are classified as Critical or High severity, Verint researchers explain in a blog post. Further, 60% of breaches are linked to a bug for which a patch was available but not applied.

Each CVE is given a severity score, though these numbers don't always represent the risk a bug presents. Consider CVE-2018-20250, a WinRAR bug with a CVSS base score of 7.8 in NVD ("High") and 6.8 in CVE Details ("Medium"). Based on its scores, the vulnerability may not merit immediate patching, but Verint points out it has been exploited by at least five APT groups, from different locations, in attacks against the UK, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Researchers analyzed more than 5,300 feeds and other threat intelligence sources over the past two-and-a-half years, covering at least 800 CVEs. Their list of 20 vulnerabilities to prioritize patching is based on the number of times they have been exploited by advanced threat groups.

Top of the list is CVE-2017-11882, a Microsoft Office memory corruption vulnerability that existed for 17 years before it was patched in November 2017. The flaw exists in Office when the software doesn't properly handle objects in memory; if exploited, it could let an attacker run arbitrary code in the context of the user. A simple phishing attack could do it: Victims would need only to open an infected file with a vulnerable version of Microsoft Word or WordPad.

This flaw was the favorite malware delivery vector in the second and third quarters of 2019. As Verint points out in its writeup, it has also been used in attacks by advanced groups including APT32 (Vietnam), APT34 (Iran), APT40 (China), APT-C-35 (India), Cobalt Group (Spain, Ukraine), Silent Group (Russia), Lotus Blossom (China), Cloud Atlas (Unknown), and FIN7 (Russia).

Second on Verint's list is CVE-2018-8174, a critical vulnerability affecting all versions of Windows. This is a VBScript engine RCE vulnerability that exists in the way VBScript engine handles objects in memory. The bug, dubbed Double Kill, made an appearance in the RIG exploit kit in May 2018. It has been used by Silent Group (Russia) and Dark Hotel (North Korea).

CVE-2017-0199, a critical RCE flaw in the Windows Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) programming interface, is third. The vulnerability, which affects most or all versions of Microsoft Word, had been under attack for months when a patch was released in April 2017. Verint says it has been used by groups including APT34 (Iran), APT40 (China), APT-C-35 (India), Cobalt Group (Spain, Ukraine), APT37 (North Korea), Silent Group (Russia), Gorgon Group (Pakistan), and Gaza Cybergang (Iran).

Fourth is CVE-2018-4878, a critical vulnerability in Adobe Flash Player. The zero-day was being used in active attacks against victims in South Korea when it was reported in February 2018. Later the same month, it appeared in another campaign leveraging malicious Word files. Verint reports the flaw has been used in campaigns by North Korean groups APT37 and Lazarus Group.

CVE-2017-10271, a bug in the Oracle WebLogic Server component of Oracle Fusion Middleware, is listed fifth. The "easily exploitable" vulnerability, as CVE Details describes it, could let an unauthenticated attacker with network access via T3 compromise Oracle WebLogic Server and potentially take over the WebLogic server. This bug has been used by the Rocke Gang, a Chinese criminal group, Verint reports.

Read the full list here.

Related Content:

Check out The Edge, Dark Reading's new section for features, threat data, and in-depth perspectives. Today's top story: "5 Pieces of GDPR Advice for Teams Without Privacy Compliance Staff."

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
US Formally Attributes SolarWinds Attack to Russian Intelligence Agency
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  4/15/2021
News
Dependency Problems Increase for Open Source Components
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  4/14/2021
News
FBI Operation Remotely Removes Web Shells From Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/14/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
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-2021-25382
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-23
An improper authorization of using debugging command in Secure Folder prior to SMR Oct-2020 Release 1 allows unauthorized access to contents in Secure Folder via debugging command.
CVE-2021-26291
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-23
Apache Maven will follow repositories that are defined in a dependency’s Project Object Model (pom) which may be surprising to some users, resulting in potential risk if a malicious actor takes over that repository or is able to insert themselves into a position to pretend to be t...
CVE-2021-31607
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-23
In SaltStack Salt 2016.9 through 3002.6, a command injection vulnerability exists in the snapper module that allows for local privilege escalation on a minion. The attack requires that a file is created with a pathname that is backed up by snapper, and that the master calls the snapper.diff function...
CVE-2021-31597
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-23
The xmlhttprequest-ssl package before 1.6.1 for Node.js disables SSL certificate validation by default, because rejectUnauthorized (when the property exists but is undefined) is considered to be false within the https.request function of Node.js. In other words, no certificate is ever rejected.
CVE-2021-2296
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-22
Vulnerability in the Oracle VM VirtualBox product of Oracle Virtualization (component: Core). The supported version that is affected is Prior to 6.1.20. Difficult to exploit vulnerability allows high privileged attacker with logon to the infrastructure where Oracle VM VirtualBox executes to compromi...