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Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Land of the Rising IE 0day

Posted September 17, 2013    BeyondTrust Research Team

A new Internet Explorer zeroday has surfaced that affects every supported version of Internet Explorer. It has been observed in the wild in targeted attacks in Japan. Current attacks are focusing on exploiting Internet Explorer 8 and 9 on Windows XP and 7 machines.

This is a use-after-free vulnerability in mshtml.dll, which is a DLL used by Windows to present HTML content to the user. The current exploitation vector relies on an extremely common Microsoft Office DLL, hxds.dll, which was compiled without address space layout randomization (ASLR) support. Attackers use DLLs like this to be able to more easily exploit a system, allowing them to execute arbitrary code at will.

To help mitigate this vulnerability, Microsoft has released a Fix it, which can be found here. Additionally, EMET 4.0 can be used to mitigate this vulnerability, as well as others.

Because the Fix it has been released, as well as a detailed blog post by Microsoft discussing the vulnerability, attackers will be able to deduce where the vulnerability lies, which greatly increases the likelihood of seeing this vulnerability exploited in areas outside of Japan. We expect to see this vulnerability incorporated into exploit frameworks in the near future.

The exploitation of this vulnerability is mitigated by built-in memory protections utilized by PowerBroker Endpoint Protection Platform, and is detected by Retina in the following audits:
30541 – Microsoft Internet Explorer MSHTML NULL_IMPORT_DESCRIPTOR (Zero-Day)
30542 – Microsoft Internet Explorer MSHTML NULL_IMPORT_DESCRIPTOR (Zero-Day) – x64

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Additional articles

How To Implement The Australian Signals Directorate’s Top 4 Strategies

Posted October 20, 2014    Morey Haber

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), also known as the Defence Signals Directorate, has developed a list of strategies to mitigate targeted cyber intrusions. The recommended strategies were developed through ASD’s extensive experience in operational cyber security, including responding to serious security intrusions and performing vulnerability assessments and penetration testing for Australian government agencies. These recommendations…

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Exploiting MS14-059 because sometimes XSS is fun, sometimes…

Posted October 17, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This October, Microsoft has provided a security update for System.Web.Mvc.dll which addresses a ‘Security Feature Bypass’. The vulnerability itself is in ASP.NET MVC technology and given its wide adoption we thought we would take a closer look. Referring to the bulletin we can glean a few useful pieces of information: “A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability exists…

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Four Best Practices for Passing Privileged Account Audits

Posted October 16, 2014    Chris Burd

Like most IT organizations, your team may periodically face the “dreaded” task of being audited. Your process for delegating privileged access to desktops, servers, and infrastructure devices is a massive target for the auditor’s microscope. An audit’s findings can have significant implications on technology and business strategy, so it’s critical to make sure you’re prepared…

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