Feeds

Yahoo! patch squashes messenger bug

Vuln researcher questions company's disclosure practices

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Yahoo! bug crushers have plugged a serious hole in Yahoo! Messenger that made it possible for bad guys to remotely take control of a user's machine. The update became available less than 24 hours after an anonymous hacker posted proof-of-concept code that demonstrated how the vulnerability could be exploited.

The vulnerability stems from a buffer overflow flaw in the messenger's ActiveX control. Attackers could use it to remotely execute malicious code, or for other, less serious things, such forcing a user to log out of a chat or instant messaging session or crash Internet Explorer or another application. To carry out the attack, a miscreant must first prompt the victim to visit a booby-trapped website that contains specially crafted html code.

Ironically, Yahoo!'s own discussion of the flaw may have led to the exploit code, according to Marc Maiffret, a researcher at eEye Digital Security, the security firm that discovered the security hole. An advisory eEye posted on Wednesday warned only that "multiple flaws exist within Yahoo! Messenger which allow for remote execution of arbitrary code with minimal user interaction", eEye refused to say more publicly, out of concern the additional details would enable someone to target the holes.

That didn't stop a Yahoo! spokeswoman from disclosing in a story by Information Week that the security issue was connected to a buffer overflow in Yahoo! Messenger's ActiveX control. She revealed that it was part of the code the program uses to upload and view web cam images.

Shortly thereafter, a person going by the name of Danny posted exploit code here and in the same dispatch included a link to the Information Week article.

A Yahoo! spokeswoman didn't have an immediate comment on the company's vulnerability disclosure practices.

Maiffret, who holds up Microsoft as a model for responsible vulnerability handling, he has no doubt Yahoo! tipped its hands to hackers by giving so many details before a patch was available for download. He says companies responding to security problems should learn from the mistake.

"A lot of these non-Microsoft companies, if you will, are still behind in vulnerability response practices," he says. "This just goes to show it. There's no reason at all for a vendor to list the components." ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Apple iPhone 6: Missing sapphire glass screen FAIL explained
They just cannae do it in time, says analyst
Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed
It feels very familiar - but it's still good
Oh noes, fanbois! iPhone 6 Plus shipments 'DELAYED' in the UK
Is EMBIGGENED Apple mobile REALLY that popular?
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.