Feeds

Black hats target Windows Media Encoder bug

Quick on the draw

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Miscreants have wasted no time exploiting a critical hole in Microsoft's Windows Media Encoder. Just four days after Redmond released fixes for that flaw and seven others, security experts found attack code in the wild that preys on users who have yet to install the patch.

Public attack code was published on the Milw0rm exploit list as early as Friday - just three days after Microsoft's Patch Tuesday - though it was dated Wednesday, September 10. By Saturday, honeypots maintained by researchers at Symantec began detecting variants.

"This attack chronology is another example of the rapid adoption of public exploits into widely deployed exploit toolkits," Symantec researcher Sean Hittel writes here.

Attackers are distributing the attacks in at least two different ways. One is through a simple clear-text program on Milw0rm where the sample shellcode has been modified. A second method comes courtesy of a widely deployed toolkit that goes by the name e2, according to Hittel.

e2 appends a first stage-encrypted block to legitimate web pages, causing visitors to be redirected to a second website that launches an attack. The e2 encryptor is similar to later versions of MPack in that it feeds an encrypted block through a two-key decoder.

Symantec doesn't say how widespread the attacks are or how successful they are at actually infecting end-users' PCs. Microsoft has warned that the bug can allow attackers to take complete control of a vulnerable machine, so the smartest course of action is to install right away. To make sure the patch has been applied to your PC go to Start > All Programs > Windows Update. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.