Archive for January, 2010

MS Patch released: MS10-002 IE 0-day

Thursday, 21 January, 2010

Just finished attending McAfee’s monthly Hacking Exposed Live Special Edition to cover the “Operation Aurora”, which I talked about in my yesterday’s post. As always, Stuart McGlure demonstrated a simple and quick exploit to show how easy it is for this exploit to be executed in a vulnerable system.

In McGlure’s demo, he accessed his customized website using IE-6, which is vulnerable to the attack and showed how the exploit is downloaded to the machine, saved, decoded, and ran. Exploits like these make it really scary for everyone because it does not even require the end user to perform anything such as clicking or downloading something.

To make things worst, the downloaded file was a jpg (or could be gif, png). To some, it could just be a simple image file, but it is actually an executable file. The process is automatic. The jpg file is downloaded, repackaged, and then the binary is executed. The payload could be anything as installing a backdoor Trojan that sits in your computer to steal information, or it could be a nasty virus that wipes out your entire drive.

While I’ve been stressing enough to everyone to be aware about clicking links from emails or visiting suspicious websites, sometimes at the end of the day, it boils down to how your system is configured for protection. What are your protections, walls, or shields from these evildoers? Do you have your system locked down, updated, or patched?

PATCH. One best step to do is to patch your system so you are not vulnerable. Today, Microsoft released an out-of-band security patch to addressed this zero-day vulnerability. I highly recommend you to install this patch as your first line of defense. Here is the link: Again, do not install any third-party patches. Trust only the one that comes from vendor. Currently, I am attending the Microsfot’s Out-of-Band Security Release bulletin webcast, which they covered what is included in this patch.

BROWSER. It is discovered that other versions of IE, not only IE-6 could be vulnerable to this attack. So, it is not a bad idea to use an alternate browser like Firefox, Opera, or Chrome. I might also include your favorite email clients such as Outlook can easily launch the attack too, since email is displayed in HTML. So be aware of all the avenues where this attack can get through.

DEFENSE. For home users it is highly advised that you have an antivirus software and an up-to-date virus definitions. Having host firewall or IPS (Intrusion Protection System) also adds more layer of protection. In the corporate world, taking advantage of the powerful features of your Firewall, Proxy, nIPS, hIPS, and your Antivirus is very crucial.

Inline proxies can block those file downloads that are suspicious or deemed infected, thereby, protecting the corporate users. With a good signature and inline IDS, you can also block or drop these type of attacks or traffic. Likewise, an updated Antivirus can catch this before it can wreak havoc. Multiple lines of defense implemented correctly can provide you or your company a better protection mechanism.

So again, download and install the patch now, it is available from the link above; update your antivirus – protect yourself!

Haiti Earthquake and Scam emails

Thursday, 21 January, 2010

Haiti Earthquake Landslide

The recent earthquake disaster that struck Haiti is sometimes unbearable to watch. With an estimate of 80,000 death and rising or 200,000 according to Haitian government. The damages sum up to billion of dollars. It is indeed a disaster that melts your heart in pity.

More than 5 years ago, a colossal disaster hit Indonesia and other parts of the world with an earthquake in the Indian ocean that caused huge and deadly tsunamis in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Africa, and other countries. All of these sad stories easily spread out the Internet, including heart-touching pictures.

These stories always touch the heart of many. And this is exactly what bad guys take advantage of. In a previous post about Phishing, we’ve uncovered how it works. This is what these scammers is going to use again to exploit vulnerable people. So again, BEWARE of these scam emails asking for donations to help Haiti Earthquake victims. They can appear legitimate but always ensure that you do not click on any link they provide.

Example below is a capture from McAfee’s blog of what could be a similar scam email to lure to donating money to them. This one is from a French origin.

Haiti Scam email

Last week the United States FBI released an immediate warning and reminder to Internet users to be very diligent and apply critical eyes in responding to emails asking for donations of the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. I’ve outlined below with their guidelines:

Read the rest of this entry »

Aurora – IE 0-day vulnerability

Wednesday, 20 January, 2010


Aurora Borealis or the Northern Light is a jaw-dropping awe vista to witness. I have not witnessed one but it’s one of my dreams. While we know the beauty of it, there is another and different aurora (not borealis) that is not to be messed with.

The Operation Aurora dubbed by McAfee to describe the very recent Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Zero-Day vulnerability is a “coordinated attack which included a piece of computer code that exploits a vulnerability in Internet Explorer to gain access to computer systems.” It was used to exploit Google and other 30 more companies as previously reported. Last Friday, George Kurtz, McAfee’s CTO talked in his Security blog about the Aurora exploit that is used to attack Google in December is now in public.

Any zero-day vulnerability is always a bad thing. Two weeks ago, one of my older computers crashed and for what I know it could be caused by this same exploit. While the discovery of this vulnerability has been a while now, Microsoft has yet to release an official patch.

The bad thing is, there are third-party patches out there that have gone out to provide temporary fix for this vulnerability. I would not really recommend installing these third-party patches since we don’t know what the ill-effects in the long run. The good news is, Microsoft is going to release a patch tomorrow, January 21st. Read Microsoft’s Bulletin.

To learn more about Operation Aurora from McAfee, watch the video from George Kurtz and the McAfee team here.

Read the rest of this entry »

2010: SecureToday

Tuesday, 19 January, 2010

So one of the many challenges about our website/blog is the time to catch up with all the many interesting articles and topics happening around the world. There are those great topics that we have drafted but never got a chance to publish them here. There are also those experiences that we are so dying to share here but never managed to get them on.

So there are always the challenges and trials that we have to go through. Once we pass the first, another comes, and the life cycle just go on and on and on.

And although many obstacles are there as may seem, we still have the passion to continue pressing on sharing and writing interesting security articles here on our blog. The old drafts that we have started will be rewritten and posted as we move forward. We still hope and believe it will help in small ways or another in your daily duty in securing today.

One thing that we have started doing is redesigning the site into a different look and add some features. It is part of the project team to do something different for this new year. And yeah, SecureToday is using Twitter. Follow us

So this year 2010, we look forward in starting to provide you more helpful, relevant and interesting articles in securing your own today! Cheers!