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

6/3/2019
05:45 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Urges Businesses to Patch 'BlueKeep' Flaw

Fearing another worm of WannaCry severity, Microsoft warns vulnerable users to apply the software update for CVE-2019-0708.

Microsoft's Security Response Team (MSRC) is warning organizations to patch BlueKeep (CVE-2019-0708), a critical remote code execution vulnerability it fixed earlier this month.

The flaw is in Remote Desktop Services (RDS), formerly known as Terminal Services, and affects some older versions of Windows. It's pre-authentication and requires no user interaction; future malware that successfully exploits the bug could spread across vulnerable machines. Fearing this, Microsoft took the unusual step of issuing fixes for out-of-support systems Windows 2003 and XP, and still-supported Windows 7, Server 2008, and Server 2008 R2.

When it released the patch on May 14, Microsoft had not seen BlueKeep exploited in the wild but said it was "highly likely" cybercriminals would write an exploit and build it into malware.

Now, Microsoft is "confident" an exploit exists for this vulnerability, security officials said in an blog published late last week. Nearly one million Internet-connected machines remain vulnerable to CVE-2019-0708, they note, citing research from Errata Security.

"It only takes one vulnerable computer connected to the internet to provide a potential gateway into these corporate networks, where advanced malware could spread, infecting computers across the enterprise," the MSRC post said. The scenario is even more dangerous for those who neglected to update internal systems, they continue, as future malware could try to exploit vulnerabilities that have already been patched.

At the time of publication, officials hadn't seen signs of a worm – but this doesn't mean we're out of the woods, they said, pointing to the WannaCry timeline: Microsoft issued security fixes for a set of SMBv1 vulnerabilities on March 14, 2017. One month later, the Shadowbrokers publicly released a set of exploits, including a wormable exploit dubbed EternalBlue, leveraging the same SMBv1 vulnerabilities. Less than a month later, EternalBlue was used in WannaCry.

"Despite having nearly 60 days to patch their systems, many customers had not," they wrote.

Researchers at Kenna Security have been monitoring for activity around CVE-2019-0708 since its patch was released and can confirm attempts are being made to reverse the patch and build an exploit. Like Microsoft, they believe there's a high likelihood BlueKeep will be exploited.

"We have seen a number of public attempts to create reliable exploits, with work still ongoing," says Jonathan Cran, Kenna Security's head of research. "Given this activity, it's reasonable to expect that there [is] an even larger number of folks working on it privately."

Based on what researchers have seen, he says, most organizations are still running a "significant number" of vulnerable systems, particularly those still in support contracts: Windows 7 and Server 2008.

These systems are often configured with Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), he says, which Microsoft says is not vulnerable but is part of the attack chain exploiting RDS. Authenticated attackers could exploit BlueKeep by connecting to a target system via RDP and sending specially crafted requests. If successful, they could execute code on a target system. Even if Windows 7 and Server 2008 are not exposed to the Internet, they're susceptible to exploitation via a multi-pronged attack – similar to what we've seen with NotPetya using EternalBlue, he explains.

Could BlueKeep serve as a gateway to the next WannaCry? Cran points out that while one million is a significant number, there are fewer systems exposing RDP to the Internet compared with the number exposing SMB ahead of WannaCry. Further, RDP has long been considered "somewhat safe" to expose to the Internet, as there has never been a wormable vulnerability in the protocol.

"That's now changed, and security teams must now deal with this new reality," Cran continues. Following WannaCry and Petya/NotPetya, security awareness has improved among employees and consumers. While it's unlikely BlueKeep could cause as much damage as quickly as the other attacks did, that doesn't mean it won't be seen in the wild.

Jérôme Segura, head of threat intelligence at Malwarebytes, predicts attackers will "waste no time" in weaponizing a proof of concept should it land in their hands. Comparing BlueKeep to WannaCry serves as a reminder of the costly consequences of a worm attack, he adds.

"Attacks leveraging BlueKeep could range from crashing computers for fun to loading malicious code onto them," says Segura. "In either case, the impact on businesses that use legacy systems and aren't able to patch could be costly." Of course, one of the many challenges in patching is system visibility: Many organizations may not be aware their networks still run legacy systems.

Still, even if they know about legacy systems, patching is a challenge. Security teams typically apply security updates on a monthly or quarterly basis, says Cran. Something like BlueKeep forces them to consider an out-of-cycle process, driving the potential for downtime.

Related Content:

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

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
tamlopthongminh
50%
50%
tamlopthongminh,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/10/2019 | 10:11:16 AM
Wow! Great!
i so feel happy when i read your story, tks u <3
DevSecOps: The Answer to the Cloud Security Skills Gap
Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  11/15/2019
Attackers' Costs Increasing as Businesses Focus on Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  11/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: -when I told you that our cyber-defense was from another age
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-1817
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
MediaWiki before 1.19.4 and 1.20.x before 1.20.3 contains an error in the api.php script which allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2013-2091
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
SQL injection vulnerability in Dolibarr ERP/CRM 3.3.1 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the 'pays' parameter in fiche.php.
CVE-2012-1257
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
Pidgin 2.10.0 uses DBUS for certain cleartext communication, which allows local users to obtain sensitive information via a dbus session monitor.
CVE-2013-1816
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
MediaWiki before 1.19.4 and 1.20.x before 1.20.3 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) by sending a specially crafted request.
CVE-2011-4455
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
Multiple cross-site scripting vulnerabilities in Tiki 7.2 and earlier allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the path info to (1) tiki-admin_system.php, (2) tiki-pagehistory.php, (3) tiki-removepage.php, or (4) tiki-rename_page.php.