What is the Windows Shortcut Exploit?
The Windows Shortcut Exploit, also known as CPLINK, is a zero-day vulnerability in all versions of Windows that allows a Windows shortcut link, known as an .lnk file, to run a malicious DLL file. The dangerous shortcut links can also be embedded on a website or hidden within documents.
It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but more evidence has come to light that cybercriminals are actively exploiting the Windows shortcut vulnerability (also known as CVE-2010-2568).
Like the earlier Stuxnet attack, more examples of specially crafted shortcut (.LNK) files that point to malicious code and trick Windows into executing it without user interaction have been analysed in our labs.
Overnight Sophos saw two malware samples that were being spread by the .LNK vulnerability. Customers of Sophos products were already protected as we detect the .LNK shortcuts generically as Exp/Cplink-A or Troj/Cplink – however, here is more information on the specific malware:
Also known as Chymine, this keylogging Trojan horse is designed to steal information from infected computers.
Troj/Chymin-A may be downloaded by exploited Windows Shortcut (.LNK) files.
W32/Dulkis-A is the more interesting of the two examples of malware we saw related to the exploit overnight, as it drops .LNK shortcut files that exploit the vulnerability to removable drives such as USB sticks. Sophos products detect these .LNK files as Exp/Cplink-A.
W32/Dulkis-A is a Windows worm, written in obfuscated Visual Basic, which copies itself to any attached removable storage device using the files 9.tmp (detected as Mal/TDSSPack-Z), xxx.dll (detected as W32/Dulkis-A) and <randomname>.tmp (detected as Troj/Nebule-Gen).
If there are any breathless fans of Justin Bieber reading this – let me calm you straight away: Justin Bieber has not died in a car crash.
But you may have imagined that he did if you checked out some of his YouTube videos this long US Independence Day holiday weekend, or read one of the many internet rumours that spread over the last day or so.
A vulnerability in YouTube’s comment system was exploited widely this weekend, allowing mischief-makers to embed code through a cross-site scripting (XSS) flaw. And one of the things they did was post messages claiming that the teen pop sensation had died in a car crash.
Normally YouTube is smart enough to weed out offending code left in the comments left for videos, but it appears that the hackers found a way to waltz past the site’s defences.
Those watching YouTube videos of Justin Bieber and others could find their eyeballs assaulted by other prankish pop-ups and offensive messages or redirected to tasteless websites.
It took about two hours before Google, YouTube’s parent company, got things under control.
XSS attacks are a serious problem, of course. Potentially they can fool unsuspecting users into handing over their login details (although this doesn’t appear to have happened on this occasion) or direct them to a malicious webpage.
Users around the world will be pleased to learn that Adobe has managed to release an accelerated security update for Adobe Reader and Acrobat (APSB10-15) before the planned release date (13th July). The latest version of Adobe Acrobat and Reader for Windows is now 9.3.3.
The security update includes fixes for 17 vulnerabilities, which means that the guys from Adobe PSIRT have been working very hard in the last month or so.
From the malware protection point of view the most important vulnerability patched with the latest update is CVE-2010-1297 which has been actively exploited since its discovery on June 5th.
Adobe has issued a security bulletin detailing critical vulnerabilities that have been discovered in the current versions of Adobe Flash Player for Windows, Macintosh, Solaris and Linux.
An update issued by Adobe claims to resolve 32 vulnerabilities in Flash Player – which if left unpatched could leave open a door for hackers to infect innocent users’ computers. Some of the security holes are already being exploited by malicious hackers.
Adobe is recommending that users upgrade to Adobe Flash Player 10.1.53.64.
If you’re not sure which version of the Adobe Flash Player you have installed, visit theAbout Flash Player page. Remember that if you use more than one browser on your computer you should check the version number on each.
Adobe further recommends that users of Adobe AIR version 22.214.171.12430 and earlier versions update to Adobe AIR 2.02.12610.
It is becoming more and more common for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities in Adobe’s software – so it would be a very good idea for everyone to update vulnerable computers as soon as possible.
Whether you own a Windows or Mac OS X computer, if you’re a user of Apple’s Safari browser, it’s time to update your computer against a swarm of security vulnerabilities.
With the attention of most Apple devotees diverted this week towards the sleek new iPhone 4, some may have missed that the Cupertino-based company has also issued a brand new version of its web browser, Safari.
Most interestingly to us, however, is the news that Safari 5.0 not only includes new functionality, but also plugs at least 48 different security vulnerabilities that (if left unpatched) could be exploited by hackers.
Mac OS X version 10.4 users (which Safari 5 doesn’t support) aren’t left in the lurch either. Apple has issued Safari version 4.1 for those customers, which addresses the same set of security issues.
Adobe’s products are once again in the firing line, as hackers are reportedly exploiting critical unpatched vulnerabilities in the products Adobe Reader, Acrobat and Flash Player.
Adobe has published a security advisory describing the problems which affect users regardless of whether they’re running Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris or UNIX.
Adobe has labelled the zero-day vulnerabilities as “critical”, the most serious rating it has.
Adobe says that Adobe Reader and Acrobat version 8.x are not vulnerable, and that the Flash Player 10.1 release candidate “does not appear to be vulnerable”.
Although Adobe has published a way to mitigate the problem for Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.x for Windows, the workaround is clearly not ideal:
Deleting, renaming, or removing access to the authplay.dll file that ships with Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.x mitigates the threat for those products, but users will experience a non-exploitable crash or error message when opening a PDF file that contains SWF content.
A researcher has found a critical security flaw on Facebook that could be exploited by hackers to expose sensitive information about users.
M J Keith, a senior security analyst with security firm Alert Logic, discovered the vulnerability which could lead to private information being exposed, or users’ Facebook pages being maliciously defaced.
IDG security reporter Robert McMillan has explained the problem well:
The bug has to do with the way that Facebook checked to make sure that browsers connecting with the site were the ones they claimed to be. Facebook's servers use code called a "post_form_id" token to check that the browser trying to do something -- liking a group, for example -- was actually the browser that had logged into the account. Facebook's servers check this token before making any changes to the user's page, but Keith discovered that when he simply deleted the token from messages, he could change many settings on any Facebook account.
This is called a CSRF (Cross-site request forgery attack), which – if left unpatched – would allow hackers to set up malicious webpages that could submit instructions to the victim’s Facebook account without validation.
The consequence? Well, a hacker could make your hitherto private information public, or force your profile to “like” a Facebook group that you may find embarrassing.
M J Keith reports on AlertLogic’s website that he informed Facebook of the problem on the 11th of May, and that the problem has now been fixed.
However, IDG has reported that the security hole is still present.
Hopefully, if it’s not already patched, this privacy flaw – which comes at an embarrassing time for Facebook – will be removed soon.
If you’re a regular user of Facebook, you could do a lot worse than join the Sophos page on the site to ensure you are kept up-to-date with the latest security news. Oh, and remember to be careful about clicking on suspicious links..
By Graham Cluley, Sophos
It was “Patch Tuesday” yesterday, which means another parcel of security updates for computer users to unwrap, and this time the fixes aren’t just from Microsoft, but from Adobe too.
First on the menu is Microsoft, which has served up two security bulletins detailing vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers to execute malicious code (such as a worm) on your computer.
The first of these security holes exists in Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and Windows Live Mail. Microsoft’s Security Research & Defense blog goes into some detail about the vulnerability, explaining that although the security hole is given a “critical rating” on Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008, it is considered less serious for Windows 7 users as Windows Live Mail is not installed by default on that platform.
The other patch from Microsoft addresses a vulnerability in Visual Basic for Applications, a component used by Microsoft Office and other third-party products. Microsoft has given this security update its highest possible rating – “Critical” – for all supported versions of Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications SDK and third-party applications that use Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications. It is also rated “Important” for all supported editions of Microsoft Office XP, Microsoft Office 2003, and the 2007 Microsoft Office System.
Next up is Adobe, who have released patches to squash over 20 security vulnerabilities in its Shockwave and ColdFusion products.
The critical vulnerabilities identified in Adobe Shockwave Player 126.96.36.1996 and earlier versions impact both Windows and Macintosh users, and could allow attackers to run malicious code on your computer.
Adobe recommends that users update their version of Adobe Shockwave Player to version 188.8.131.529.
Details of the ColdFusion vulnerabilities, classed as “important”, are provided in Adobe Security Bulletin APSB10-11.
Enough of waffle. Download and install the patches if your computer is affected.
By Graham Cluley, Sophos