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Win32 Trojan - Exploiting Browser vulnerabilities

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    NormCameron's Avatar

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    Win32 Trojan - Exploiting Browser vulnerabilities

    Recently I posted about attacks that involve exploits of the recently discovered vulnerability in Internet Explorer. Based on MMPC stats, since the vulnerability has gone public, roughly 0.2% of users worldwide may have been exposed to websites containing exploits of this latest vulnerability. That percentage may seem low, however it still means that a significant number of users have been affected. The trend for now is going upwards: MPC reports an increase of over 50% in the number of reports each day. The SANS Internet Storm Center, which tracks hacking trends, said that while the exploit does not appear to be widely in use at the moment, that situation is likely to change soon, since instructions showing criminals how to take advantage of this flaw have been posted online. According to knownsec, earlier this year a rumor emerged in the Chinese underground about an IE7 vulnerability and in October it began to be traded privately. In November it got into underground black market and was traded for about $15K. Later in December, it emerged and people sold the exploit second or third hand for about $650. Finally, someone purchased those second hand exploits to develop and deploy a Chinese gaming Trojan.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/sec..._internet.html

    MMPC points to the Win32 Trojan as being the principle offender.

    However Secunia have a different take

    "The exploits contain shellcode that installs the Downloader-AZN, a well-known trojan that hijacks a PC's configuration settings and downloads additional pieces of malware. Anti-virus software from McAfee, and presumably other companies, detects the trojan - though at the time of writing, it appeared they didn't yet detect the zero-day exploit itself. The attacks target a flaw in the way IE handles certain types of data that use the extensible markup language, or XML, format. The bug references already freed memory in the mshtml.dll file. According to IDG News, exploits work about one in three times, and only after a victim has visited a website that serves a malicious piece of javascript.
    Microsoft researchers are looking in to the reports, a company spokesman said Tuesday morning. Some eight hours later, the company had not yet issued an update.
    The reports came just hours ahead of Patch Tuesday, Microsoft's monthly release of security updates. The patches included a cumulative update for IE that fixed four flaws that were rated critical because they could be used to remotely install malware with little or no action required of the user. Unfortunately, the miscreants are exploiting a separate security hole in IE, so the updates do nothing to protect users against the attacks.
    In all, the Microsoft patch batch fixed 28 vulnerabilities, 23 of which carried the critical rating. Other Microsoft products that were updated included the Windows operating system, Office and Windows Media Player."

    In-the-wild attacks find hole in (fully-patched) IE 7 € The Register


    I have seen several people posting on this forum today who were infected with Trojan virus's that may well be a result of these exploits.

    Significantly Secunia say the IE patches DO NOT repair the vulnerabilities


    The following info is from the Microsoft Malware Protection Centre

    About the Virus


    Trojan:Win32/VB.IQ.dr is a trojan that drops other malware in the system.

    As of this writing, exploits for the Pointer Reference Memory Corruption Vulnerability in Internet Explorer are known to drop this trojan in vulnerable systems. Microsoft released Security Bulletin MS08-078 on December 17, 2008 that fixes this vulnerability. Microsoft recommends that users apply this update immediately. Users are advised to refer to Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-078 for more information.

    Upon execution, Trojan:Win32/VB.IQ.dr drops a copy of itself in the Windows folder as ppsap.exe. It then drops the file kimo.exe also in the Windows folder.

    It then modifies the system registry so that kimo.exe and another file, bravo.exe, are automatically run when Windows starts:

    Adds value: "civic"
    With data: "%windir%\kimo.exe"
    Adds value: "ppsap"
    With data: "%windir%\bravo.exe"
    To subkey: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

    It then executes kimo.exe and bravo.exe, which are both detected as Trojan:Win32/VB.IQ.

    Take note that Trojan:Win32/VB.IQ.dr does not drop bravo.exe but attempts to execute it, as it is assumed that bravo.exe is already in the system and possibly dropped by kimo.exe.

    Prevention


    This trojan may arrive in the system when you visit a website that contains code that exploits the Pointer Reference Memory Corruption Vulnerability in Internet Explorer discussed in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-078. Microsoft recommends that you apply the update immediately. Please refer to Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-078 for more information.
    Take the following steps to help prevent infection on your system:


    • Enable a firewall on your computer.
    • Get the latest computer updates for all your installed software.
    • Use up-to-date antivirus software.
    • Use caution when opening attachments and accepting file transfers.
    • Use caution when clicking on links to web pages.
    • Protect yourself against social engineering attacks.

    Enable a firewall on your computer

    Use a third-party firewall product or turn on the Microsoft Windows Internet Connection Firewall.
    To turn on the Windows Firewall in Windows Vista

    • Click Start, and click Control Panel.
    • Click Security.
    • Click Turn Windows Firewall on or off.
    • Select On.
    • Click OK.


    To turn on the Internet Connection Firewall in Windows XP

    • Click Start, and click Control Panel.
    • Click Network and Internet Connections. If you do not see Network and Internet Connections, click Switch to Category View.
    • Click Change Windows Firewall Settings.
    • Select On.
    • Click OK.

    Get the latest computer updates

    Updates help protect your computer from viruses, worms, and other threats as they are discovered. It is important to install updates for all the software that is installed in your computer. These are usually available from vendor websites.

    You can use the Automatic Updates feature in Windows to automatically download future Microsoft security updates while your computer is on and connected to the Internet.
    To turn on Automatic Updates in Windows Vista

    • Click Start, and click Control Panel.
    • Click System and Maintainance.
    • Click Windows Updates.
    • Select a setting. Microsoft recommends selecting Install updates automatically and choose a time that is convenient for you. If you do not choose Automatic, but you choose to be notified when updates are ready, a notification balloon appears when new downloads are available to install. Click the notification balloon to review and install the updates.

    To turn on Automatic Updates in Windows XP

    • Click Start, and click Control Panel.
    • Click System.
    • Click Automatic Updates.
    • Select a setting. Microsoft recommends selecting Automatic. If you do not choose Automatic, but you choose to be notified when updates are ready, a notification balloon appears when new downloads are available to install. Click the notification balloon to review and install the updates.

    Use up-to-date antivirus software

    Most antivirus software can detect and prevent infection by known malicious software. To help protect you from infection, you should always run antivirus software that is updated with the latest signature files. Antivirus software is available from several sources. For more information, see Windows Vista Antivirus Software - Windows Live OneCare - Microsoft.
    Use caution when opening attachments and accepting file transfers

    Exercise caution with e-mail and attachments received from unknown sources, or received unexpectedly from known sources. Use extreme caution when accepting file transfers from known or unknown sources.
    Use caution when clicking on links to web pages

    Exercise caution with links to web pages that you receive from unknown sources, especially if the links are to a web page that you are not familiar with or are suspicious of. Malicious software may be installed in your system simply by visiting a web page with harmful content.
    Avoid downloading pirated software

    Threats may also be bundled with software and files that are available for download on various torrent sites. Downloading "cracked" or "pirated" software from these sites carries not only the risk of being infected with malware, but is also illegal. For more information. please see our article 'The risks of obtaining and using pirated software'.
    Protect yourself from social engineering attacks

    While attackers may attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in hardware or software in order to compromise a system, they also attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in human behavior in order to do the same. When an attacker attempts to take advantage of human behavior in order to persuade the affected user to perform an action of the attacker's choice, it is known as 'social engineering'. Essentially, social engineering is an attack against the human interface of the targeted system. For more information, please see our article 'What is social engineering?'.
    Recovery Steps

    Note:

    This trojan may arrive in the system when you visit a website that contains code that exploits the Pointer Reference Memory Corruption Vulnerability in Internet Explorer discussed in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-078. Microsoft recommends that you apply the update immediately. Please refer to Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-078 for more information.

    Manual removal is not recommended for this threat. To detect and remove this threat and other malicious software that may have been installed, run a full-system scan with an up-to-date antivirus product such as the Microsoft online scanner (http://safety.live.com). For more information, see Windows Vista Antivirus Software - Windows Live OneCare - Microsoft.



    Malware Protection Center - Entry: Trojan:Win32/VB.IQ.dr

    Last edited by NormCameron; 23 Dec 2008 at 09:34 PM.
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  3. #2
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    Re: Win32 Trojan - Exploiting Browser vulnerabilities

    Yes, very serious problem. Good article Norm.

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    Re: Win32 Trojan - Exploiting Browser vulnerabilities

    Hi Norm,

    Great Post and thanks ...

    Correct me if I'm wrong ...

    Is this the vulnerability that led to the out of band patch on the 17th or is it another one

    It's just that the article mentions discovery just prior to patch Tuesday

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  5. #4
    NormCameron's Avatar

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    Re: Win32 Trojan - Exploiting Browser vulnerabilities

    Quote Originally Posted by barman58 View Post
    Hi Norm,

    Great Post and thanks ...

    Correct me if I'm wrong ...

    Is this the vulnerability that led to the out of band patch on the 17th or is it another one

    It's just that the article mentions discovery just prior to patch Tuesday
    It's the same one but unfortunately there are claims out there that the IE out of band patch has left a hole that is still being exploited

    Of course there are always doom and gloomers who seek to continue the debacle but there are also some serious voices who make the same claims. I'll try to keep this updated if you want.

    Norm

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    Re: Win32 Trojan - Exploiting Browser vulnerabilities

    Hi Norm,

    If you can keep this updated I think it would be a good idea, there is as you say a lot of FUD surrounding this issue, Not helped by the fact that it's made the national news.

    Am not saying that this is not a serious issue, it is, and I think that its important that we here at the forum provide our members with complete un-biased information from as many sources as possible so that they may make an informed decision.

    Keep up the good work, I for one, and I don't think I'm alone, appreciate your efforts

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    NormCameron's Avatar

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    Re: Win32 Trojan - Exploiting Browser vulnerabilities

    Quote Originally Posted by barman58 View Post
    Hi Norm,

    If you can keep this updated I think it would be a good idea, there is as you say a lot of FUD surrounding this issue, Not helped by the fact that it's made the national news.

    Am not saying that this is not a serious issue, it is, and I think that its important that we here at the forum provide our members with complete un-biased information from as many sources as possible so that they may make an informed decision.

    Keep up the good work, I for one, and I don't think I'm alone, appreciate your efforts
    Thanks Nigel. Appreciate your kind words.

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    Re: Win32 Trojan - Exploiting Browser vulnerabilities

    Yes Norm, your efforts are gladly received.

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  9. #8
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    Re: Win32 Trojan - Exploiting Browser vulnerabilities

    Quote Originally Posted by NormCameron View Post

    Recovery Steps

    Note:

    This trojan may arrive in the system when you visit a website that contains code that exploits the Pointer Reference Memory Corruption Vulnerability in Internet Explorer discussed in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-078. Microsoft recommends that you apply the update immediately. Please refer to Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-078 for more information.

    Manual removal is not recommended for this threat. To detect and remove this threat and other malicious software that may have been installed, run a full-system scan with an up-to-date antivirus product such as the Microsoft online scanner (http://safety.live.com). For more information, see Windows Vista Antivirus Software - Windows Live OneCare - Microsoft.



    Malware Protection Center - Entry: Trojan:Win32/VB.IQ.dr

    Thanks Norm for yet another very informative post.

    However, it should be pointed out that Microsoft will not allow use of Mozilla Firefox Browser to run the Windows Live OneCare Safety Scanner for Windows Vista, beta version. It is necessary to use Internet Explorer 7 or higher to run the scan.



    • Extract from Safety Scanner FAQ -

    Which browsers will Windows Live OneCare safety scanner, Windows Vista beta edition, work with? Windows Live OneCare safety scanner, Windows Vista beta edition, is compatible with Windows Internet Explorer 7 or higher, or MSN 9.5.




    • In Firefox, attempt to download Safety Scanner - beta version results in this 'sorry about that' notice -

    We're sorry. This version of the Windows Live OneCare safety scanner doesn't work with your Web browser or operating system.

    So I'm afraid folks, it's off to IE just to run the Safety Scanner!!

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  10. #9
    NormCameron's Avatar

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    Re: Win32 Trojan - Exploiting Browser vulnerabilities

    Quote Originally Posted by sassofalco View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NormCameron View Post

    Recovery Steps

    Note:

    This trojan may arrive in the system when you visit a website that contains code that exploits the Pointer Reference Memory Corruption Vulnerability in Internet Explorer discussed in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-078. Microsoft recommends that you apply the update immediately. Please refer to Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-078 for more information.

    Manual removal is not recommended for this threat. To detect and remove this threat and other malicious software that may have been installed, run a full-system scan with an up-to-date antivirus product such as the Microsoft online scanner (http://safety.live.com). For more information, see Windows Vista Antivirus Software - Windows Live OneCare - Microsoft.



    Malware Protection Center - Entry: Trojan:Win32/VB.IQ.dr

    Thanks Norm for yet another very informative post.

    However, it should be pointed out that Microsoft will not allow use of Mozilla Firefox Browser to run the Windows Live OneCare Safety Scanner for Windows Vista, beta version. It is necessary to use Internet Explorer 7 or higher to run the scan.



    • Extract from Safety Scanner FAQ -

    Which browsers will Windows Live OneCare safety scanner, Windows Vista beta edition, work with? Windows Live OneCare safety scanner, Windows Vista beta edition, is compatible with Windows Internet Explorer 7 or higher, or MSN 9.5.




    • In Firefox, attempt to download Safety Scanner - beta version results in this 'sorry about that' notice -

    We're sorry. This version of the Windows Live OneCare safety scanner doesn't work with your Web browser or operating system.

    So I'm afraid folks, it's off to IE just to run the Safety Scanner!!
    If you are using Firefox the post isn't aimed at you. It doesn't have this particular vulnerability. And, the one care scanner is not the bees knees of scanners. There are many other better options. I wouldn't use IE just because of one care. And I don't use, nor would I use One-Care. Nor would I use IE because I couldn't do a manual update without it.

    Norm

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  11. #10
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    Re: Update. Firefox, Apple and Opera - Get Updates!

    A thorough search of the internet suggests the Out of Band Patch was successful in closing the hole in IE. There are no reports of continuing Zero day vulnerabilities on a fully patched IE browser. However there are still plenty of warnings out there about continuing exploits.

    An example of the reports circulating is here:-

    "Out-of-Band Security Update

    The vulnerability was discovered one day after Microsoft's most recent Patch Tuesday, its monthly dispatch of software updates and patches. It took eight days for company engineers to research the vulnerability and decide to release a fix before January's Patch Tuesday.
    "Normally, when a vulnerability is exploited, it's a problem, but at least Microsoft has a fix. In this case, the vulnerability was being exploited, but there was no patch from Microsoft [until Wednesday]. Many people will still not have rolled out the fix. Fortunately, some antivirus companies were already able to defend users' computers -- but the Microsoft patch is the ideal way to permanently fix this security hole in Internet Explorer," Cluley told TechNewsWorld.
    Microsoft took an relatively unusual step and released a so-called out-of-band security update, the second in two months, because the vulnerability was being so widely exploited by hackers. As Internet Explorer is the world's most-used Internet browser, there was a huge number of potential victims.
    "The story of the Internet Explorer bug had hit the mainstream news and was damaging their reputation. Microsoft should actually be congratulated for producing a fix so quickly. Indeed, I suspect that they have done it in less time than it will take many people to install the patch on their own PCs,"


    Welcome to TechNewsWorld

    Dangerous Times


    One of Firefox's strengths to date has been it's limited use. A new report states Firefox useage has now reached 20% and is now, in my opinion, big enough to become a target in it's own right.

    "Microsoft's web browsers account for nearly 70% of worldwide web browser use. Firefox recently exceeded 20% for the first time. Safari is third at 7.13% with newcomer Google Chrome at 0.83% already surpassing Opera, which fell to 0.71%."

    TG Daily - Microsoft releases emergency update for critical IE patch

    "The mounting number of exploits taking advantage of the security hole, including those that hijacked legitimate sites to use them as a means of attacking visitors, only highlights cybercriminals' proclivity to wait for opportunities and strike unwary users.
    "I don't think the cybercriminals ever took it easy. They don't take vacations, they don't take time off. One thing you can be sure of is that hackers will be continuing to steal money, data, identities and resources from Internet users throughout the holiday season and into 2009," stated Cluley.
    Even if all IE users patch their browsers quickly, there will be other exploits discovered, and criminals will user other tricks -- including social engineering -- to make their fortunes, he said.
    "It would also be very shortsighted for people who don't use Internet Explorer to feel smug," Cluely continued.
    For example, Apple has just published a whopping 190 MB update to OS X which included numerous important security fixes. Opera updated from version 9.62 to 9.63 on Tuesday, also to close some known security holes. Firefox has just notified users of the release of version 3.0.5, fixing what are referred to as "several security issues," including three considered "critical -- vulnerability can be used to run attacker code and install software, requiring no user interaction beyond normal browsing."
    "One mitigating factor for Firefox and Opera users is that we're not yet aware of any active exploitation online of those vulnerabilities. Still, best not take the chance. Get those patches downloaded ASAP," he concluded"


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