Researchers have identified a strain of malware that’s being used in a string of targeted attacks against defense contractors, government agencies and other organizations by leveraging exploits against zero-day vulnerabilities. The attacks may have been going on since 2009 in some form and the emails containing the malicious attachments are specifically targeted at executives and officials in various industries using fake conference invitations.
Browsing Category: Microsoft
Ralph Langner is the closest thing to a rock star that you get in the Dockers and pocket-protector world of industrial control systems. The German researcher made headlines in 2010 as among the first security experts to analyze parts of the Stuxnet worm’s code devoted to manipulating programmable logic controllers by Siemens, and the first to explicitly link the Stuxnet malware with an effort to disable Iran’s uranium enrichment operation.
Security researchers have seen attackers going after the newly patched CVE-2012-0003 vulnerability in the Windows Media Player. The flaw, which was patched earlier this month by Microsoft, is a critical one that can enable remote code execution, and it affects a wide range of Windows systems.
A Russian man was added to the list of defendants in a civil complaint filed by Microsoft at the operators of the Kelihos botnet.
The Pwn2Own contest at the CanSecWest conference has become one of the landmark events on the calendar each year, as researchers gather with nervous vendors in a tiny room to see who can own which browser on which platform and how quickly. But this year’s contest will have a much different look than past editions, with participants vying for more than $100,000 in cash by amassing points over the course of three days.
MIAMI–The world’s foremost expert on the Stuxnet worm said an analysis of source code for a critical component of the malware prove that Iran’s nuclear program was the target, and that attackers were able to exploit weak design in Siemens software, rather than having to exploit a software vulnerability to carry out their attack.
There’s an odd bit of behavior that some Windows systems will exhibit when certain kinds of installers are launched, automatically elevating the privileges of the installer process to system-level privileges. In theory, the issue shouldn’t be exploitable because at one point in the process the system will generate an MD5 hash of a DLL that’s to be loaded, and unless the attacker can replace that DLL with a malicious one that sports the same hash, an attack is impossible. But those constraints may not hold for all attackers, a researcher says.
UPDATE: A decade ago this week, Chairman Bill Gates kicked off the Trustworthy Computing Initiative at Microsoft with a company-wide memo. The echoes of that memo still resonate throughout the software industry today as other firms, from Apple to Adobe, and Oracle to Google have followed the path that Microsoft blazed over the past ten years.
MIAMI BEACH–It’s the accepted wisdom these days that many of the traditional security defenses organizations depend on just aren’t effective at deterring attackers. But this glosses over the fact that the last few years have included some major advances in defensive technologies, including the widespread adoption of exploit mitigations such as ASLR and DEP and the use of sandboxes in many applications. However, as these advances have made their way into the mainstream, the folks on the offensive side of the game have not been sitting idly by, either, as was made abundantly clear during the talks at the Infiltrate conference here.
MIAMI BEACH–It’s been a decade now since Microsoft began focusing on product security as a top priority and there have been a lot of successes and some failures along the way. But in that time, one of the things that most definitely has changed as a result of the Trustworthy Computing program is how difficult and expensive it’s become for attackers to compromise Windows machines. That’s not to say, however, that the fight has been won. It’s only beginning, in fact, a senior Microsoft security official said.