Microsoft just patched a 15-year-old bug that in some cases allows attackers to take complete control of PCs running all supported versions of Windows. The critical vulnerability will remain unpatched in Windows 2003, leaving that version wide open for the remaining five months Microsoft pledged to continue supporting it.
The flaw, which took Microsoft more than 12 months to fix, affects all users who connect to business, corporate, or government networks using the Active Directory service. The database is built into Windows and acts as a combination traffic cop and security guard, granting specific privileges to authorized users and mapping where on a local network various resources are available. The bug—which Microsoft classifies as MS15-011 and the researcher who first reported it calls Jasbug—allows attackers who are in a position to monitor traffic passing between the user and the Active Directory network to launch a man-in-the-middle exploit that executes malicious code on vulnerable machines.
“All computers and devices that are members of a corporate Active Directory may be at risk,” warned a blog post published Tuesday by JAS Global Advisors, the firm that reported the bug to Microsoft in January 2014. “The vulnerability is remotely exploitable and may grant the attacker administrator-level privileges on the target machine/device. Roaming machines—Active Directory member devices that connect to corporate networks via the public Internet (possibly over a Virtual Private Network (VPN))—are at heightened risk.”
Microsoft has explained how Jasbug can take over your computer when using free wifi: Microsoft’s Coffee Shop Scenario
In this scenario, the attacker has observed traffic across the switch and found that a specific machine is attempting to download a file located at the UNC path:\\10.0.0.100\Share\Login.bat.
On the attacker machine, a share is set up that exactly matches the UNC path of the file requested by the victim: \\*\Share\Login.bat.
- The attacker will have crafted the contents of Login.bat to execute arbitrary, malicious code on the target system. Depending on the service requesting Login.bat, this could be executed as the local user or as the SYSTEM account on the victim’s machine.
The attacker then modifies the ARP table in the local switch to ensure that traffic intended for the target server 10.0.0.100 is now routed through to the attacker’s machine.
When the victim’s machine next requests the file, the attacker’s machine will return the malicious version of Login.bat.This scenario also illustrates that this attack cannot be used broadly across the internet – an attacker need to target a specific system or group of systems that request files with this unique UNC.
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