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Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Updated RSA's Internet authentication product can be bypassed using a combination of Unicode characters which IIS recognises but RSA's security technology fails to decode.

RSA's WebID agent is supposed to deny access to a corporate intranet until a user is properly authenticated by a SecurID server.

The potentially serious security vulnerability in RSA's product was discovered by ProCheckUp, a UK security consultancy. That is at least according to CERT, but not RSA which said it informed customers of the issue and put out a fix back in July (see below).

In any case, a variation of the same Unicode directory transversal-style exploit would allow a hacker to obtain a directory listing on vulnerable systems. Hackers could knock up a url string featuring Unicode characters that would trick the url filter on RSA's WebID agent and bypass the security software.

Richard Brain, technical director of ProCheckUp, said the vulnerability meant that unauthenticated users could be able to read files and even execute programs on a supposedly secure server.

The issue is important because the Web agent of SecurID is used by government organisations and the like to secure access to intranets or for Outlook Web access.

RSA Security has issued a new release of the C libraries used in SecurID which guards against the flaw, according to ProCheckUp.

Users are advised to get the latest version ACE/Agent for Windows (4.4.3.) or ACE/Agent for Windows 2000 (1.1.2) to protect themselves against the vulnerability. This software can be obtained from the SecureCare online portion of RSA's Web site, which only its customers can access.

Updated

RSA Security has finally been in touch (after a week) to say that it discovered the vulnerability back in July and that ProCheckUp issued its alert without consulting it. This sits oddly with CERT's October 24 alert on the vulnerability and RSA didn't have an immediate explanation of this. ®

Related Link

Security bulletins on the issue by ProCheckUp

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