Security Newsletter
4 March 2019
Malspam Exploits WinRAR ACE Vulnerability to Install a Backdoor
Researchers have discovered a malspam campaign that is distributing a a malicious RAR archive that may be the first one to exploit the newly discovered WinRAR ACE vulnerability to install malware on a computer.
It allows a specially crafted ACE archive to extract a file to the Window Startup folder when it is extracted. This allows the executable to gain persistence and launch automatically when the user next logs in to Windows. As the developers of WinRAR no longer have access to the source code for the vulnerable UNACEV2.DLL library, instead of fixing the bug, they removed the DLL and ACE support from the latest version of WinRAR 5.70 beta 1. While this fixes the vulnerability, it also removes all ACE support from WinRAR.
If UAC is running, when you attempt to extract the archive it will fail to place the malware in the C:\ProgramData folder due to lack of permissions. This will cause WinRAR to display an error stating "Access is denied" and "operation failed" as shown below.
If you are unable to upgrade for some reason, then you can use 0Patch's WinRAR micropatch to address this specific WinRAR bug. This micropatch will fix the vulnerability in all 32-bit and 64-bit versions of WinRAR versions using the UNACEV2.DLL since 2005.
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Chaos Monkey Guide for Engineers
In 2010 Netflix announced the existence and success of their custom resiliency tool called Chaos Monkey. Netflix designed Chaos Monkey to test system stability by enforcing failures via the pseudo-random termination of instances and services within Netflix's architecture. Following their migration to the cloud, Netflix's service was newly reliant upon Amazon Web Services and needed a technology that could show them how their system responded when critical components of their production service infrastructure were taken down. Intentionally causing this single failure would suss out any weaknesses in their systems and guide them towards automated solutions that gracefully handle future failures of this sort.
In 2011, Netflix announced the evolution of Chaos Monkey with a series of additional tools known as The Simian Army. Inspired by the success of their original Chaos Monkey tool aimed at randomly disabling production instances and services, the engineering team developed additional "simians" built to cause other types of failure and induce abnormal system conditions. For example, the Latency Monkey tool introduces artificial delays in RESTful client-server communication, allowing the team at Netflix to simulate service unavailability without actually taking down said service. This guide will cover all the details of these tools in The Simian Army chapter.
New Flaws Re-Enable DMA Attacks On Wide Range of Modern Computers
Security researchers have discovered a new class of security vulnerabilities that impacts all major operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, Linux, and FreeBSD, allowing attackers to bypass protection mechanisms introduced to defend against DMA attacks.
Known for years, Direct memory access (DMA)-based attacks let an attacker compromise a targeted computer in a matter of seconds by plugging-in a malicious hot plug device—such as an external network card, mouse, keyboard, printer, storage, and graphics card—into Thunderbolt 3 port or the latest USB-C port.
Researchers have reported their findings to all major hardware and operating system vendors, and most of them have already shipped substantial mitigation to address the Thunderclap vulnerabilities. Though not all software patches can entirely block DMA attacks, users are still advised to install available security updates to reduce the attack surface. According to the researchers, the best way to fully protect yourself is to disable the Thunderbolt ports on your machine, if applicable.
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