Archive | April, 2014

Winter is Coming… But These Cyber Tips Can Help You Prepare

Last month, I shared a Help Net Security article I wrote combining two things I love; Information Security (InfoSec) and The Walking Dead. If you haven’t read that yet, feel free to check it out. This month, I continue my pop culture series by mashing up InfoSec with another admired book and TV series; Game of Thrones.

The fictional world of Westeros is an unforgiving land, where inhabitants must quickly learn to defend themselves if they have any hope of survival. Unfortunately, the Internet also seems to be evolving into a fairly dangerous landscape, where just visiting the wrong web site might infect your computer. Is there anything a network security professional can learn from the medieval warriors of Westeros?

That’s exactly what my latest article explores. If you’re interested in the Six InfoSec Tips I Learned from Game of Thrones, check out my article below, and join me for A Song of Ice and Firewalls:

If you enjoy the article, and want to share your own pop culture security tips, I’d love to hear from you! Unfortunately, Help Net Security doesn’t have commenting in their articles, but if you want to share some Game of Thrones tips of your own, please feel free to comment below. — Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Advanced Attackers Exploit IE & Flash 0days in the Wild

Over the weekend, Microsoft released a critical security advisory warning customers of a serious new zero day vulnerability in Internet Explorer (IE), which attackers are exploiting in the wild. Around the same time, Kaspersky also noted an attack campaign leveraging a new Adobe Flash zero day flaw, which Adobe patched today. I’ll discuss both issues below, starting with the IE issue.

IE Zero Day in the Wild

According to this blog post, researchers at FireEye discovered advanced attackers exploiting this zero day IE flaw as part of a persistent attack campaign they are calling “Operation Clandestine Fox.” The attack targets IE 9-11 and also leverages a Flash flaw to help bypass some of Windows’ security features.

Shortly after FireEye’s post, Microsoft released a security advisory confirming the previously undiscovered flaw in IE. The advisory warns that the flaw affects all versions of IE (though the attack seems to target IE 9-11). While Microsoft is still researching the issue, the vulnerability seems to be a “use after free” class of memory corruption vulnerability. In short, if an attacker can entice you to a web page containing maliciously crafted content, he could exploit this flaw to execute code on your machine, with your privileges. As usual, if you have local administrator privileges, the attacker would gain full control of your machine. It’s interesting to note, the attackers also leverage a known Adobe Flash issue to help defeat some of Microsoft’s Windows memory protection features.

Zero day IE vulnerabilities are relatively rare, and very dangerous. Attackers are already exploiting this IE one in the wild, so it poses a significant risk. Unfortunately, Microsoft just learned of the flaw, so they haven’t had time to patch it yet. I suspect Microsoft will release an out-of-cycle patch for this flaw very shortly since this is a high-profile issue. In the meantime here a few workarounds to help mitigate the flaw:

  • Temporarily use a different web browser – I’m typically not one to recommend one web browser over another, as far as security is concerned. They all have had vulnerabilities. However, this is a fairly serious issue.  So you may want to consider temporarily using a different browser until Microsoft patches.
  • Install Microsoft EMETEMET is an optional Microsoft tool that adds additional memory protections to Windows. I described EMET in a previous episode of WatchGuard Security Week in Review. Installing EMET could help protect your computer from many types of memory corruption flaws, including this one. This Microsoft blog post shares more details on how it can help with this issue.
  • Configure Enhanced Security Configuration mode on Windows Servers – Windows Servers in Enhanced Security Configuration mode are not vulnerable to many browser-based attacks.
  • Disable VML in IE – This exploit seems to rely on VML to work. Microsoft released a blog post detailing how disabling VML in IE, or running IE in “Enhanced Protection Mode” can help.
  • Make sure your AV and IPS is up to date – While not all IPS and AV systems have signatures for all these attacks yet, they will in the coming days. In fact, WatchGuard’s IPS engineers have already created signatures to catch this attack. We are QA testing the signatures now, but they should be available to XTM devices shortly. Whatever IPS system you use, be sure to keep your AV and IPS systems updating regularly, to get the latest protections.
  • WatchGuard XTM customers can block Flash with proxies – If you own a WatchGuard XTM security appliance, you can use our proxy policies to block certain content, including Flash content. For instance, you can use our SMTP or HTTP proxies to block SWF files by extensions (.SWF) or by MIME type (application/x-shockwave-flash). Keep in mind, blocking Flash blocks both legitimate and malicious content. So only implement this workaround if you are ok with your users not accessing normal Flash pages.

Adobe Patches Flash Zero Day

Coincidentally, Adobe also released an emergency Flash update today fixing a zero day exploit that other advanced attackers are also exploiting in a targeted watering hole campaign. The patch fixes a single vulnerability in the popular Flash media player, which attackers could exploit to run arbitrary code on your system; simply by enticing you to a web site containing specially crafted Flash content. This exploit was discovered in the wild by Kaspersky researchers (one of our security partners). According to Kaspersky’s research, the exploit was discovered on a Syrian website, and seems to be designed to target potential Syrian dissidents.

The good news is there is a patch for this flaw. So if you use Adobe Flash, go get the latest update now. By the way, some browsers like Chrome and IE 11 embed Flash directly, so you will also have to update those browsers individually. Finally, though the IE zero day I mentioned earlier does rely on a Flash issue, this particular zero day Flash flaw is totally unrelated. One additional note; WatchGuard’s IPS engineers have also created a signature for this exploit as well. It will be available shortly, once testing is complete.

So to summarize, if you use IE, disable VML, install EMET, and watch for an upcoming patch. If you use Flash, updates as soon as you can. I will be sure to inform you here, as soon as Microsoft releases their real patch or FixIt. — Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

iOS Malware- WSWiR Episode 104

Apple Updates, Reappearing Backdoors, and iOS Malware

If you looking for a quick security news round up, subscribe to this weekly Infosec vlog. Today, I cover a number of Apple stories, from the latests patches to iOS malware; I warn about a supposedly fixed router backdoor that has re-appeared; and I talk about the trend of governments withholding zero day exploits. Watch the video below for the details, and check out the References for more information and news. Here’s a bonus security tip;  If you jump out a plane (like I did), take a parachute! Have a great weekend. (Episode Runtime: 7:38) Direct YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfJbCaLlFns

Episode References:

Extras:

— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Apple Releases Critical OS X, iOS, and Apple TV Patches

Hey Apple users; it’s time to patch.

This week, Apple released three security updates to fix vulnerabilities in OS X, iOS, and Apple TV. The updates fix a wide range of vulnerabilities, including memory corruption flaws attackers could use to execute code, and something called a “triple handshake attack,” which attackers could leverage in man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks against your SSL sessions. If you use OS X, iOS, or Apple TV, you should download and install Apple’s updates immediately, or let their automatic Software Updater do it for your.

See the links below for more information about each update:

If you’d like to keep up with Apple’s latest security updates, be sure to bookmark their Security page, and you can find links to all their patches on the Download page.

In a related note, Kristin Paget, an ex-Apple security researcher, published a blog post criticizing Apple’s patching process. Apparently, Apple had already released updates to OS X previously that fix the same Webkit vulnerabilities that iOS 7.1.1. fixes this month. Paget argues that Apple needs to release all the like fixes at the same, otherwise attackers could reverse the patches from OS X to exploit against iOS, or vice versa. This is good advice, which I hope Apple adopts in the future — Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Oracle CPU – WSWiR Episode 103

Oracle Patches, Heartbleed Update, and Cool Gaming Hacks

Information security has become a hot topic, with tens of new infosec articles and issues showing up each week. Perhaps you’re concerned with the latest security news, but don’t have to time to keep up with it among your other administrative tasks. If that sounds like you, check out my weekly infosec news video for a quick summary of the week’s most interesting stories.

Today’s episode is quite simple. I quickly cover Oracle’s April Critical Patch Update (CPU), share some interesting Heartbleed vulnerability updates, and end with a fun, gaming-related hack to cap off the week. Watch the video below, and browse the Reference section for links to more stories and details.

Have a great Easter weekend.

(Episode Runtime: 6:42)

Direct YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtwbM82vVF0

Episode References:

Extras:

— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Heartbleed Bug- WSWiR Episode 102

April Patch Day, Raided Pen-Tester, and OpenSSL Heartbleed

Information security news never stops, even if I have to post it from a Changi Airport lounge. If you need to learn the latest cyber security news, including what to do about the biggest vulnerability of the year (so far), you’ve found the right weekly video blog.

This week’s “on-the-road” episode covers Adobe and Microsoft’s Patch Day, an allegory on why you should avoid greyhat pen-testing, but most important of all, information and advice about the major OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability. If you use the Internet, you need to know about the Heartbleed flaw, so click play below to watch this week’s video. Finally, make sure to check the Reference section for links to the stories and some extras; especially if you are interested in all the WatchGuard Heartbleed information.

(Episode Runtime: 8:05)

Direct YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEw-o2GQd1U

Episode References:

Extras:

Heartbleed described by XKCD

— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Latest Flash Update Mends Four Flaws

Summary:

  • This vulnerability affects: Adobe Flash Player running on all platforms and Adobe Air
  • How an attacker exploits it: By enticing users to visit a website containing malicious Flash content
  • Impact: In the worst case, an attacker can execute code on the user’s computer, potentially gaining control of it
  • What to do: Download and install the latest version of Adobe Flash Player for your platform

Exposure:

Adobe Flash Player displays interactive, animated web content called Flash. Although Flash is optional, 99% of PC users download and install it to view multimedia web content. It runs on many operating systems, including mobile operating systems like Android.

This week, Adobe released a security bulletin describing four security vulnerabilities (based on CVE numbers) that affect Flash Player running on any platform. It doesn’t describe the flaws in much technical detail, other than saying they consist mostly of buffer overflow vulnerabilities and other types of memory corruption flaws (and a cross-site scripting issue). That said, Adobe does warn that if an attacker can entice one of your users to visit a malicious website containing specially crafted Flash content, he could exploit many of these unspecified vulnerabilities to execute code on that user’s computer, with that user’s privileges. If your Windows users have local administrator privileges, an attacker could exploit this flaw to gain full control of their PCs.

Though it doesn’t look like attackers are exploiting these flaws in the wild yet, Adobe rates the flaws as a “Priority 1” issues for Windows and Macintosh users, and recommends you apply the updates within 72 hours. These vulnerabilities also affect other platforms as well, such as Internet Explorer (IE) 11 and Chrome. I recommend you update any Flash capable platform as soon as you can.

Solution Path

Adobe has released new versions of Flash Player to fix these issues. If you allow Adobe Flash in your network, you should download and install the new versions immediately. If you’ve enabled Flash Player’s recent “silent update” option, you will receive this update automatically.

You can download Flash for your computer at the link provided below. See the bulletin’s “Affected Software” section for more details on getting Flash updates for other platforms:

Keep in mind, if you use Google Chrome or IE 11, you’ll have to update it seperately.

For All WatchGuard Users:

Good News! WatchGuard’s Gateway Antivirus and Intrusion Prevention services can often prevent these sorts of attacks, or the malware they try to distribute. For instance, our IPS signature team has developed signatures that can detect and block many of the memory corruption vulnerabilities described in Adobe’s alert:

  • WEB  Adobe Flash Player High Surrogate Parsing Cross Site Scripting  (CVE-2014-0509)
  • WEB-CLIENT Adobe Flash Player Information Disclosure (CVE-2014-0508)
  • EXPLOIT Adobe Flash Player Memory Corruption (CVE-2014-0506)
  • EXPLOIT Adobe Flash Player Memory Corruption (CVE-2014-0507)

Your XTM appliance should get this new IPS update shortly.

Furthermore, our Reputation Enabled Defense (RED) and WebBlocker services can often prevent your users from accidentally visiting malicious (or legitimate but booby-trapped) web sites that contain these sorts of attacks. Nonetheless, we still recommend you install Adobe’s Flash update to completely protect yourself from all of these flaws.

Status:

Adobe has released updates to fix these Flash vulnerabilities.

References:

This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Windows File Handling Remote Code Execution Flaw

Severity: Medium

Summary:

  • These vulnerabilities affect: All current versions of Windows
  • How an attacker exploits them: By tricking your users into running a .bat or .cmd file from a network location
  • Impact: In the worst case, an attacker can gain complete control of your Windows computer
  • What to do: Install the appropriate Microsoft patches as soon as possible, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you

Exposure:

As part of Patch Day, Microsoft released a Windows security bulletin describing a code execution vulnerability involving the way it handles .bat and .cmd files, otherwise known as Windows batch files. Windows batch files allow you to write multiple, scripted commands which will run together (as a batch) when you run the file. Window’s suffers from a vulnerability in they way they process these files, which attackers could exploit to execute arbitrary code. If an attacker can trick one of your users into running a .bat or .cmd file from a network location, they could exploit this issue to execute any code with that user’s privileged. In most Windows environments, users have local administrator privileges, so this attack could give hackers full control of your machine.

That said, this flaw takes significant user interaction to succeed, and most savvy Windows users know batch files could be dangerous, and don’t run them randomly. Nonetheless, we recommend you patch Windows as soon as you can.

Also note, this will be the last security update for Windows XP. If you haven’t figured out your Windows XP migration path yet, you really should start thinking about it. That said, security companies like WatchGuard will continue to develop IPS and anti-malware signatures to detect and block threats against Windows XP systems. If you absolutely cannot upgrade XP, be sure to at least implement IPS, AV, and UTM systems to protect your vulnerable computers.

Solution Path:

Microsoft has released updates that correct this vulnerability. You should download, test, and deploy the appropriate update throughout your network as soon as you can. If you choose, you can also let Windows Update automatically download and install them for you. As always, you should test your updates before deploying them. Especially, server related updates.

For All WatchGuard Users:

Though WatchGuard’s XTM appliances offer defenses that can mitigate some of the risk of this flaw (such as allowing you to block .bat and cmd files, or enabling GAV or IPS services to detect attacks and the malware they distribute), attackers can exploit it over the local network too. Since your gateway XTM appliance can’t protect you against local attacks, we recommend you install Microsoft’s updates to completely protect yourself from these flaws.

Status:

Microsoft has released patches correcting these issues.

References:

This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept).


What did you think of this alert? Let us know at your.opinion.matters@watchguard.com.

11.8.3 Update 1 now available to fix Heartbleed vulnerabilty in Fireware XTM OS

New Release: Fireware XTM 11.8.3 Update 1
Yesterday we posted an update about the Heartbleed vulnerability (CVE-2014-0160) in OpenSSL. We are pleased to announce that 11.8.3 Update 1 is now available at the software download site with a critical patch to address this issue in WatchGuard appliances.  We recommend you update immediately if you use Fireware XTM v11.8.x. This flaw does not affect appliances running Fireware XTM v11.7.4 or earlier.

WatchGuard is not aware of any breaches involving this vulnerability, but because of its critical nature and the length of time it has been available to exploit, we recommend that you take measures to change passwords and renew certificates used in your XTM device after you upgrade. We have published a knowledge base article with details on how to do this. 

The WatchGuard IPS service now includes four signatures  in the version 4.404 set that protect against exploits of the heartbleed vulnerability.

Does This Release Pertain to Me?
This release applies to all XTM appliances, except XTM 21/21-W, 22/22-W, or 23/23-W appliances, but only those running 11.8.x versions of the firmware. Please read the Release Notes before you upgrade, to understand what’s involved.

What about other WatchGuard products?
WatchGuard SSL VPN, Dimension and the WSM Management software are not affected. Yesterday we reported that there is an impact on the SecureMail functionality in XCS. On further analysis, we’ve determined that this is even less than thought. The vulnerable OpenSSL library is used within XCS only for communications between the XCS appliance and our SecureMail encryption provider, Voltage. XCS acts as a client for those connections, not a listening server. Therefore, the flaw could only be exploited by Voltage themselves, and no one else; as such, we believe there is no actual risk. Nevertheless, we are building a hotfix that we hope to release by the end of the week.

How Do I Get the Fireware XTM Release?
XTM appliances owners who have a current LiveSecurity Service subscription can obtain this update without additional charge by downloading the applicable packages from the Articles & Software section of WatchGuard’s Support Center. To make it easier to find the relevant software, be sure to uncheck the “Article”, and “Known Issue” search options, and press the Go button.

If you need support, please enter a support incident online or call our support staff directly. (When you contact Technical Support, please have your registered Product Serial Number, LiveSecurity Key, or Partner ID available.)

IE Patch Squashes Six Memory Corruption Flaws

Summary:

  • This vulnerability affects: All current versions of Internet Explorer
  • How an attacker exploits it: By enticing one of your users to visit a web page containing malicious content
  • Impact: Various, in the worst case an attacker can execute code on your user’s computer, potentially gaining complete control of it
  • What to do: Deploy the appropriate Internet Explorer patches immediately, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you

Exposure:

In a security bulletin released today as part of Patch Day, Microsoft describes six new vulnerabilities that affect all current versions of Internet Explorer (IE). Microsoft rates the aggregate severity of these new flaws as Critical.

Though these vulnerabilities differ technically, they share the same general scope and impact, and involve various memory corruption flaws having to do with how IE handles certain HTML objects. If an attacker can lure one of your users to a web page containing malicious web code, he could exploit any one of these memory corruption vulnerabilities to execute code on that user’s computer, inheriting that user’s privileges. Typically, Windows users have local administrative privileges. In that case, the attacker could exploit these flaws to gain complete control of the victim’s computer.

Technical differences aside, the memory corruption flaws in IE pose significant risk. You should download and install the IE cumulative patch immediately.

Keep in mind, today’s attackers often hijack legitimate web pages and booby-trap them with malicious code. Typically, they do this via hosted web ads or through SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks. Even recognizable and authentic websites could pose a risk to your users if hijacked in this way, and the vulnerabilities described in today’s bulletin are perfect for use in drive-by download attacks.

Solution Path:

You should download, test, and deploy the appropriate IE updates immediately, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you. You can find links to the various IE updates in the “Affected and Non-Affected Software” section of Microsoft’s April IE security bulletin.

For All WatchGuard Users:

Good News! WatchGuard’s Gateway Antivirus and Intrusion Prevention services can often prevent these sorts of attacks, or the malware they try to distribute. For instance, our IPS signature team has developed signatures that can detect and block many of the memory corruption vulnerabilities described in Microsoft’s alert:

  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-1755)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-1753)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-1751)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-1752)

Your XTM appliance should get this new IPS update shortly.

Furthermore, our Reputation Enabled Defense (RED) and WebBlocker services can often prevent your users from accidentally visiting malicious (or legitimate but booby-trapped) web sites that contain these sorts of attacks. Nonetheless, we still recommend you install Microsoft’s updates to completely protect yourself from all of these flaws.

Status:

Microsoft has released patches to fix these vulnerabilities.

References:

This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept).

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