Feeds

JPEG exploit toolkit spotted online

DIY buffer overflow assault

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A toolkit designed to exploit a recently-disclosed Microsoft JPEG vulnerability has been released onto the net. The toolkit (screen shot from AV firm F-Secure here) makes it trivially easy for maliciously-minded attackers, however unskilled they might be, to exploit unpatched Windows systems and run malicious code.

The attack mechanism used here takes advantage of a recently discovered flaw in the way Microsoft applications process JPEG image files. Malformed JPEG files are capable of triggering a buffer overflow in a common Windows component (the GDI+ image viewing library), it was revealed last week. This behaviour creates a ready mechanism to inject exploit code into vulnerable systems. Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 make use of vulnerable library by default. Other Windows OSes might be vulnerable, depending on what applications users have installed.

Microsoft, which unsurprisingly rates the vulnerability as critical, released a patch to defend against the flaw on 14 September. To be at risk, users have to open a JPEG file modified to trigger the flaw using either IE or Outlook. They also need to be unpatched. Unfortunately there's plenty of scope for both conditions to be met and the gene pool of potential victims is huge.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact JPEG files are typically viewed "as a benign and trusted file format... as such it is possible to cause image files to be viewed with minimal user-interaction through several applications including many email clients such as Outlook and Outlook Express," Security tools vendor ISS notes. "There is also potential for automatic exploitation in the form of a network-propagating worm."

Since the Microsoft's update security firm ScanSafe, which looks for malware in web traffic, has stopped numerous JPEG files identified as containing the exploit.

Users are strongly advised to download and install the latest software patches from Microsoft and to update their anti-virus definitions as soon as possible. If you haven't done it already now would be a very good time. Sysadmins need to include the contents of JPEG files among the types of traffic scanned by network security tools. Several gateway AV scanners, for example, do not inspect image files by default. ®

Related stories

Microsoft warns of poisoned picture peril
Malware by numbers: online virus creation tool spotted
Virus toolkits are s'kiddie menace

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.