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Prepare yourself for "time bomb" exploits that attack web-based systems at a pre-determined time.

A recent whitepaper, Second-order Code Injection Attacks, by UK security consultancy NGS Software (NGS) explains how new techniques for attacking web-based applications alter the security landscape. Gunter Ollmann, professional services director at NGS, and author of the paper, explains: "Many forms of code injection targeted at web-based applications (for instance cross-site scripting and SQL injection) rely upon the instantaneous execution of the embedded code to carry out the attack. [But] in some cases it may be possible for an attacker to inject their malicious code into a data storage area that may be executed at a later date or time".

These "second-order code injection attack" involve injecting malicious code into applications where it is later retrieved, rendered and executed by the victim. Targeted systems could be internal application - not just the web-based application - creating a higher risk than classical code injection attacks, according to NGS' David Litchfield. "Malicious code could be injected at any time and not "activated" until some later period - ideal for professional criminals," he added.

More about the new type of attack and how it can be combated can be found in NGS' white paper here. NGS discovered the flaw which was exploited by the infamous Slammer worm and is highly regarded in the field of vulnerability research. ®

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