Security Market Segment LS
Thursday, 23 March 2017 11:14

Windows flaw lets attackers take over A-V software Featured

By

A 15-year-old flaw in every version of Windows right from XP to Windows 10 allows a malicious attacker to take control of a system through the anti-virus software running on the system.

Researchers at the cyber security firm Cybellum said normally malicious code was caught by anti-virus software; in this case, what happened was the other way around.

To initiate an attack, code had to be injected into the anti-virus application using a new zero-day vulnerability.

The company said it had named the attack DoubleAgent as it turned what should have been a protector into an attack vector.

"DoubleAgent exploits a legitimate tool of Windows called ‘Microsoft Application Verifier’ which is a tool included in all versions of Microsoft Windows and is used as a runtime verification tool in order to discover and fix bugs in applications," the team wrote.

"Our researchers discovered an undocumented ability of Application Verifier that gives an attacker the ability to replace the standard verifier with his own custom verifier.

"An attacker can use this ability in order to inject a custom verifier into any application. Once the custom verifier has been injected, the attacker now has full control over the application.

"Application Verifier was created in order to strengthen application security by discovering and fixing bugs, and ironically DoubleAgent uses this feature in order to perform malicious operations."

The following software is vulnerable: Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, Trend Micro, Comodo, ESET, F-Secure, Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, McAfee, Panda, Quick Heal and Norton.

Surprisingly, though Microsoft has developed some means of mitigation for attacks of this kind three years ago, no vendor had incorporated it into their software, Cybellum said.

"Microsoft has provided a new design concept for antivirus vendors called Protected Processes. The new concept is specially designed for anti-virus services. Anti-virus processes can be created as 'Protected Processes' and the protected process infrastructure only allows trusted, signed code to load and has built-in defence against code injection attacks," the team wrote.

"This means that even if an attacker found a new zero-day technique for injecting code, it could not be used against the anti-virus as its code is not signed. Currently no anti-virus (except Windows Defender) has implemented this design. Even though Microsoft made this design available more than three years ago."

But this was not a catch-call, Cybellum added. "It’s important to note, that even when the anti-virus vendors would block the registration attempts, the code injection technique and the persistency technique would live forever since it’s a legitimate part of the Windows OS."


Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here

Now’s the Time for 400G Migration

The optical fibre community is anxiously awaiting the benefits that 400G capacity per wavelength will bring to existing and future fibre optic networks.

Nearly every business wants to leverage the latest in digital offerings to remain competitive in their respective markets and to provide support for fast and ever-increasing demands for data capacity. 400G is the answer.

Initial challenges are associated with supporting such project and upgrades to fulfil the promise of higher-capacity transport.

The foundation of optical networking infrastructure includes coherent optical transceivers and digital signal processing (DSP), mux/demux, ROADM, and optical amplifiers, all of which must be able to support 400G capacity.

With today’s proprietary power-hungry and high cost transceivers and DSP, how is migration to 400G networks going to be a viable option?

PacketLight's next-generation standardised solutions may be the answer. Click below to read the full article.

CLICK HERE!

WEBINAR PROMOTION ON ITWIRE: It's all about webinars

These days our customers Advertising & Marketing campaigns are mainly focussed on webinars.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 2 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site itwire.com and prominent Newsletter promotion https://www.itwire.com/itwire-update.html and Promotional News & Editorial.

This coupled with the new capabilities 5G brings opens up huge opportunities for both network operators and enterprise organisations.

We have a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you.

MORE INFO HERE!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Sam Varghese

website statistics

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & ON-DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments