This Week In Security: VMWare, Microsoft Teams, Python Fuzzing, And More

There’s a VMWare problem that’s being exploited in the wild, according to the NSA (PDF). The vulnerability is a command injection on an administrative console. The web host backing this console is apparently running as root, as the vulnerability allows executing “commands with unrestricted privileges on the underlying operating system.”

The wrinkle that makes this interesting is that VMWare learned about this vuln from the NSA, which seems to indicate that it was a zero-day being used by a foreign state. The compromise chain they list is also oddly specific, making me suspect that it is a sanitized account of observed attacks.

Microsoft Teams, And the Non-CVE

[Oskars Vegeris] found a pair of interesting problems in the Microsoft Teams client, which together allows an interactionless, wormable RCE. The first vuln is an XSS problem, where a message containing a “mention” can be modified in transit to include arbitrary Javascript. To get that JS past the XSS protection filter, a unicode NULL byte is included in the payload. The second vuln is using the built-in file download code in the Teams app to download and auto-run a binary. Put together, anyone who simply loads the message in their Teams app runs the code.

Vegeris points out that since so many users have a presence in multiple rooms, it would be trivial to use this exploit to build a worm that could infect the majority of Teams users worldwide. The bug was reported privately to Microsoft and fixed back in October. A wormable RCE in a widely used tool seems like a big deal, and should net a high CVE score, right? Microsoft gave two ratings for this attack chain, for the two versions of Teams that it can affect. For the Office365 client, it’s “Important, Spoofing”, which is about as unimportant as a bug can be. The desktop app, at least, was rated “critical” for an RCE. The reason for that seems to be that the sandbox escape only works on the standalone desktop app.

But no CVE was issued for the exploit chain. In the security community, collecting CVEs is an important proof of work for your resume. Microsoft replied that they don’t issue CVEs for products that get updated automatically without user interaction. Kerfuffle ensued. Continue reading “This Week In Security: VMWare, Microsoft Teams, Python Fuzzing, And More”

This Week In Security: Fuzzing Fixes, Foul Fonts, TPM Timing Attacks, And More!

An issue was discovered in libarchive through Google’s ClusterFuzz project. Libarchive is a compression and decompression library, widely used in utilities. The issue here is how the library recovers from a malformed archive. Hitting an invalid header causes the memory in use to be freed. The problem is that it’s possible for file processing to continue even after that working memory has been freed, leading to all kinds of problems. So far an actual exploit hasn’t been revealed, but it’s likely that one is possible. The problem was fixed back in May, but the issue was just announced to give time for that update to percolate down to users.

Of note is the fact that this issue was found through Google’s fuzzing efforts. Google runs the oss-fuzz project, which automatically ingests nightly builds from around 200 open source projects and runs ClusterFuzz against them. This process of throwing random data at programs and functions has revealed over 14,000 bugs.
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DEF CON: HDMI CEC Fuzzing

HDMI is implemented on just about every piece of sufficiently advanced consumer electronics. You can find it in low-end cellphones, and a single board Linux computer without HDMI is considered crippled. There’s some interesting stuff lurking around in the HDMI spec, and at DEF CON, [Joshua Smith] laid the Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) part of HDMI out on the line, and exposed a few vulnerabilities in this protocol that’s in everything with an HDMI port.

CEC is designed to control multiple devices over an HDMI connection; it allows your TV to be controlled from your set top box, your DVD player from your TV, and passing text from one device to another for an On Screen Display. It’s a 1-wire bidirectional bus with 500bits/second of bandwidth. There are a few open source implementations like libCEC, Android HDMI-CEC, and even an Arduino implementation. The circuit to interface a microcontroller with the single CEC pin is very simple – just a handful of jellybean parts.

[Joshua]’s work is based off a talk by [Andy Davis] from Blackhat 2012 (PDF), but greatly expands on this work. After looking at a ton of devices, [Joshua] was able to find some very cool vulnerabilities in a specific Panasonic TV and a Samsung Blu-ray player.

A certain CEC command directed towards the Panasonic TV sent a command to upload new firmware from an SD card. This is somewhat odd, as you would think firmware would be automagically downloaded from an SD card, just like thousands of other consumer electronics devices. For the Samsung Blu-Ray player, a few memcpy() calls were found to be accessed by CEC commands, but they’re not easily exploitable yet.

As far as vulnerabilities go, [Joshua] has a few ideas. Game consoles and BluRay players are ubiquitous, and the holy grail – setting up a network connection over HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC) – are the keys to the castle in a device no one  would ever think of taking a close look at.

Future work includes a refactor of the current code, and digging into more devices. There are millions of CEC-capable devices out on the market right now, and the CEC commands themselves are not standardized. The only way for HDMI CEC to be a reliable tool is to figure out commands for these devices. It’s a lot of work, but makes for a great call to action to get more people investigating this very interesting and versatile protocol.

ToorCon 9: Real World Fuzzing


We dropped in on [Charlie Miller]’s fuzzing seminar at the end of the day yesterday. Fuzzing become a fairly popular topic in the last year and essentially involves giving a program garbage input, hoping that it will break. If it can’t handle the fake data and fails in a non-graceful fashion, you could have found a potentially exploitable bug. Fuzzing is a fairly simple idea, but as Charlie points out, without some thinking while you’re doing it it’s unlikely to be very productive.

Continue reading “ToorCon 9: Real World Fuzzing”

This Week In Security: Android And Linux, VirusTotal, More Psychic Signatures

To start our week of vulnerabilities in everything, there’s a potentially big vulnerability in Android handsets, but it’s Apple’s fault. OK, maybe that’s a little harsh — Apple released the code to their Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) back in 2011 under the Apache License. This code was picked up and shipped as part of the driver stack for multiple devices by various vendors, including Qualcomm and MediaTek. The problem is that the Apple code was terrible, one researcher calling it a “walking colander” of security problems.

Apple has fixed their code internally over the years, but never pushed those updates to the public code-base. It’s a fire-and-forget source release, and that can cause problems like this. The fact that ALAC was released under a permissive license may contribute to the problem. Someone (in addition to Apple) likely found and fixed the security problems, but the permissive license doesn’t require sharing those fixes with a broader community. It’s worth pondering whether a Copyleft license like the GPL would have gotten a fix distributed years ago.

Regardless, CVE-2021-0674 and CVE-2021-0675 were fixed in both Qualcomm and MediaTek’s December 2021 security updates. These vulnerabilities are triggered by malicious audio files, and can result in RCE. An app could use this trick to escape the sandbox and escalate privileges. This sort of flaw has been used by actors like the NSO group to compromise devices via messaging apps. Continue reading “This Week In Security: Android And Linux, VirusTotal, More Psychic Signatures”

This Week In Security: More Protestware, Another Linux Vuln, And TLStorm

It seems I have made my tiny, indelible mark on internet security history, with the term “protestware“. As far as I can tell, I first coined this particular flavor of malware while covering the Faker.js/Colors.js vandalism in January.

Yet another developer, [RIAEvangelist] has inserted some malicious code (Mirror, since the complaint has been deleted) in an existing project, in protest of something, in this case the war in Ukraine. The behavior here is to write a nice note on the desktop, preaching “peace not war”. However, a few versions of this sample have a nasty surprise — it does a GeoIP lookup, and attempts to wipe the entire drive if it detects a Russian location. Yes, node-ipc versions 10.1.1 and 10.1.2 contain straight-up malware. It’s not clear how many users ran the potentially malicious code, as it was quickly reverted and released 10.1.3. Up-to-date versions of node-ipc still create the desktop file, and Unity Hub has already confirmed they shipped the library in this state, and have since issued a hotfix.
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This Week In Security: Chrome 0-day,Cassandra, And A Cisco PoC

Running Chrome or a Chromium-based browser? Check for version 98.0.4758.102, and update if you’re not running that release or better. Quick tip, use chrome://restart to trigger an immediate restart of Chrome, just like the one that comes after an update. This is super useful especially after installing an update on Linux, using apt, dnf, or the like.

CVE-2022-0609 is the big vulnerability just patched, and Google has acknowledged that it’s being exploited in the wild. It’s a use-after-free bug, meaning that the application marks a section of memory as returned to the OS, but then accesses that now-invalid memory address. The time gap between freeing and erroneously re-using the memory allows malicious code to claim that memory as its own, and write something unexpected.

Google has learned their lesson about making too many details public too early, and this CVE and associated bug aren’t easily found in in the Chromium project’s source, and there doesn’t seem to be an exploit published in the Chromium code testing suite. Continue reading “This Week In Security: Chrome 0-day,Cassandra, And A Cisco PoC”