Qualys Blog

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72 posts

Adobe Fixes Half a Dozen Flash Vulnerabilities and More

Flash has been the top target for exploit kits and we have observed that defender behavior, i.e. how fast patches are applied along with other factors in the threat landscape could have led to a decline in the number of Flash vulnerabilities being weaponized in exploit kits.  In 2016, the time to patch 80% of Flash vulnerabilities reduced by more than half to 62 days as compared to the previous year when it was 144 days. This data is based on more than 3 billion scans performed by Qualys and could be one of the contributing factors why Flash-based attack integration in exploit kits is declining. If organizations patch quickly it gives less time for exploit kits to integrate the exploits and the chances of phishing vulnerable users reduce greatly if more machines are patched quickly.

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Microsoft Fixes Malware Protection Engine and Several 0-Day Vulnerabilities, and Deprecates SHA-1

Hours before today’s Patch Tuesday release on the eve of May 8, Microsoft released an emergency updated to fix a vulnerability in their Malware Protection Engine. This critical vulnerability allows an attacker to take complete control of the victim’s machine by just sending an e-mail attachment. When the malware protection engine scans the attachment the malicious code in the file gets executed, allowing the attacker complete and full access to the computer. The attack can also be carried out by sending the file via an instant message or having the victim download the file from a website. It is absolutely essential that organizations using Microsoft Malware Protection Engine make sure that they are at version Version 1.1.13704.0 or later. Users should also check if they are patched for CVE-2017-0290, which was released for the same issue today.

In today’s Patch Tuesday update Microsoft released a total of 57 vulnerability fixes. Highest priority should go to patching 0-day issues which are actively exploited.  On top of our list is the Office patch for CVE-2017-0261 which is triggered when a victim opens an Office file containing a malformed graphics image.  The file could be delivered via email or any other means. As this is actively exploited in the wild and attackers can take complete control of the victim system, this should be treated with priority.

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Shadow Brokers Fix for IBM Lotus Domino Released

IBM has released a patch for Lotus Domino to plug a security flaw which was disclosed in the latest Shadow Broker revelations. Lotus Domino includes an IMAP server. IMAP or Internet Message Access Protocol is an Internet standard protocol used by e-mail clients to retrieve e-mail messages from the mail server over a TCP/IP connection. The server contains a stack buffer overflow in the handling of mailbox names. This vulnerability affects Domino server 9.0.1FP8 and earlier versions, and this exploit has been referred to by the “EMPHASISMINE” code name by Shadow Brokers. CVE-2017-1274 has been assigned to this issue.

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Oracle Plugs Struts and Shadow Brokers hole along with 299 Total Vulnerabilities

Today Oracle released a total of 299 new security fixes across all product families. It is important to note that it fixed 25 instances of the infamous Apache Struts vulnerability which could allow a remote attacker to take complete control of the server running Struts. The struts fix was applied to 19 instances of Oracle Financial Services Applications along with WebCenter, WebLogic, Siebel, Oracle Communications, MySQL and Oracle Retail.

Oracle also released Patch 25878798 for Solaris 10 and 11.3 which fixed the second Shadow Brokers EXTREMEPARR vulnerability CVE-2017-3622. EXTREMEPARR  has a CVSS Base Score of 7.8, and if successfully exploited allows a local privilege escalation in the ‘dtappgather’ component. The other Shadow Brokers vulnerability CVE-2017-3623 (a.k.a. “Ebbisland” or “Ebbshave”) was previously addressed by Oracle in several Solaris 10 patch distributions issued since January 26th 2012 and does not affect Solaris 11.

Out of the 299 total fixes MySQL, Financial Services, Retail and Fusion Middleware take the lion’s share of fixes and the distribution is shown in the chart below. Majority of the vulnerabilities in the Financial Services, Retail and Fusion Middleware could be exploited via the HTTP protocol and attackers can take complete control of the system remotely without the need of any credentials.

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April 2017 Patch Tuesday Video Highlights

Microsoft Fixes 45 Vulnerabilities with new Security Update Guide and says goodbye to Security Bulletins. Adobe Fixes Flash, PDF reader and Photoshop.

Microsoft Fixes 45 Vulnerabilities with new Security Update Guide – says goodbye to Security Bulletins

Today is the first month since 1998 in which Microsoft stopped releasing security bulletins with the familiar MSxx-xxx format and replaced it with the new security update guide. We talked about this change earlier in a few blog posts and finally today it’s time to say good bye to security bulletins which essentially combined related vulnerabilities and products for easy of consumption.

In today’s release Microsoft fixed a total of 45 vulnerabilities that could lead to remote code execution, denial-of-service, elevation of privileges, security feature bypass and spoofing. Top priority goes to the Office and WordPad CVE-2017-0199 which fixed a 0-day vulnerability that is being actively exploited in the wild. Exploitation of this vulnerability requires that a user open or preview a specially crafted file with an affected version of Office or WordPad. Attacker could accomplish this by sending a specially crafted file to the user and then convincing the user to open the file. We recommend administrators patch this as soon as possible.

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Adobe Fixes Flash, PDF reader and Photoshop in April

Adobe released five security bulletins today following a pre-notification which was released on Thursday of last week. Highest priority goes to the Flash update APSB17-10 as flash has been the top choice for malware and exploit kits. If left un-patched, the vulnerabilities allow attackers to take complete control of user’s computer if the user views malicious flash content hosted by the attacker. Although flash based exploit kit activity has reduced as compared to last year we still recommend updating this first. The affected versions are listed in the table below:

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Massive Microsoft Patch Tuesday Security Update for March

Today Microsoft released a massive Patch Tuesday security update consisting of 17 security bulletins that fixed a total of 134 vulnerabilities.  Out of the 17 security bulletins 8 were marked as Critical which could lead to remote code execution while the remaining were marked as Important. Since there were no patches released for February, in one way, a massive update was expected this month. We also liked the fact that Microsoft kept the older way of clubbing KB articles and patches in security bulletins which, in our opinion, is easy to read and provides better overall picture. But the Microsoft blog here, allude that sometime in the future Microsoft will stop publishing security bulletins.

The highest priority overall goes to the Windows GDI bulletin MS17-013 which could allow remote code execution if a user either visits a specially crafted website or opens a specially crafted document. This gets highest priority as CVE-2017-0005 is a zero day issue which is currently being exploited actively in the wild. This issue could be incorporated soon by ExploitKits using Silverlight as the attack vector as we have seen that happen in the past.

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Examining the Current State of Database Security

Considering that database systems hold extremely valuable and sensitive information, one would assume that most organizations would fiercely protect these “crown jewels” with great care. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Throngs of databases in organizations worldwide are unsafe, at high risk of being breached by malicious hackers, rogue employees and crooked partners. This sorry state of database security puts financial data, customer information, health records, intellectual property treasures and more in grave danger.

Below we’ll discuss the two main causes for database security breakdowns — unpatched vulnerabilities and configuration errors — along with helpful tips for reducing the risk of database breaches.

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Microsoft February Patch Tuesday Cliffhanger and Adobe Fix for Flash

UPDATE: Microsoft has announced that all updates will be delivered in the March 14 patch cycle.

As covered in our January blog, today Microsoft was supposed to scrap the existing system in which users used to get a bulletin like MS17-001 in favor of a new ‘single destination for security vulnerability information’ called the Security Updates Guide. But as per Microsoft’s blog, February’s Patch Tuesday has been delayed as Microsoft discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and could not resolve it in time for the planned update. This comes on the heels of the announcement that individual patches will not be available as they will be bundled together in the monthly Security update or monthly Cumulative update. If there is a problem in the patch for one kernel vulnerability for example, then all kernel or related vulnerabilities cannot be released as they are bundled together. A zero day SMB vulnerability was expected to be patched today and as of this writing there is no official statement on the new release date.

On the Adobe front, three security updated were released and the most important one is for Flash APSB17-04 which affects Windows, Mac, Linux and ChromeOS. If left un-patched this allows attackers to take complete control of the system. An attacker would host malicious flash content and the vulnerability will trigger when victim views the content.

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