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.

Vendor-Disclosed Zero Days and Targeted Trojans

Posted April 3, 2013    BeyondTrust Research Team

Here at BeyondTrust, we are constantly keeping an eye on the underground parts of the internet, monitoring for things like zero day vulnerabilities and how malware authors are exploiting vulnerabilities in the wild.

As such, we wanted to keep you apprised of a vulnerability that was addressed within VMware ESXi 5.0. A patch was released that addressed a vulnerability in the libxml2 library, which allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code within the context of the service using libxml2. So how does this relate to zerodays? Well, a patch was only released for ESXi 5.0, while the ESXi 5.1, 4.1, and 4.0, as well as ESX 4.1 and 4.0, have not received patches yet. This means that attackers can now analyze the patch for ESXi 5.0 and create exploits that can be used to target the yet-to-be-patched vulnerable versions of ESX/ESXi. So if you run any of these vulnerable versions, keep a close watch on updates released and get pending patches applied as soon as possible.

Another recent disclosure discusses a trojan that used advanced evasion techniques, to avoid analysis by security researchers. It exploits CVE-2012-0158, a vulnerability in certain ActiveX controls in MSCOMCTL.OCX, which is used by Microsoft Office 2003, 2007, and 2010, among other software packages. This vulnerability was patched in April 2012. We have seen this same vulnerability used in other targeted attacks, such as Operation Beebus, Rocra (Red October), and Sanny (Win32.Daws).

Knowing this type of information is extremely helpful in making informed decisions about how to go about patching systems. That’s why we include this type of information in our Retina CS solution. In the case of systems using the vulnerable ActiveX control, in addition to being informed that the system is vunerable, you would also be shown which exploit packs and other malware have targeted that vulnerability, allowing you to make better decisions about patch prioritization for your environment. For more information, check out Retina CS today.

Retina will detect systems vulnerable to the VMware vulnerability with the following audits:
– 18614 – VMware ESX/ESXi Server libxml2 Vulnerability (20130328) (Zero-Day) – ESXi 5.1
– 18615 – VMware ESX/ESXi Server libxml2 Vulnerability (20130328) – ESXi 5.0
– 18616 – VMware ESX/ESXi Server libxml2 Vulnerability (20130328) (Zero-Day) – ESXi 4.1
– 18617 – VMware ESX/ESXi Server libxml2 Vulnerability (20130328) (Zero-Day) – ESXi 4.0
– 18618 – VMware ESX/ESXi Server libxml2 Vulnerability (20130328) (Zero-Day) – ESX 4.1/4.0
Retina will detect systems vulnerable to the ActiveX component vulnerability with the following audits:
– 16213 – Microsoft Windows Common Controls Code Execution (2664258)
– 16214 – Microsoft Windows Common Controls Code Execution (2664258) – x64

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