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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Microsoft

Hacker Discloses Unpatched Windows Zero-Day Vulnerability (With PoC)

Hacker Discloses Unpatched Windows Zero-Day Vulnerability (With PoC)
August 28, 2018Swati Khandelwal
A security researcher has publicly disclosed the details of a previously unknown zero-day vulnerability in the Microsoft's Windows operating system that could help a local user or malicious program obtain system privileges on the targeted machine. And guess what? The zero-day flaw has been confirmed working on a "fully-patched 64-bit Windows 10 system." The vulnerability is a privilege escalation issue which resides in the Windows' task scheduler program and occured due to errors in the handling of Advanced Local Procedure Call (ALPC) systems. Advanced local procedure call (ALPC) is an internal mechanism, available only to Windows operating system components, that facilitates high-speed and secure data transfer between one or more processes in the user mode. The revelation of the Windows zero-day came earlier today from a Twitter user with online alias SandboxEscaper, who also posted a link to a Github page hosting a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit for the

Microsoft Detects More Russian Cyber Attacks Ahead of Mid-Term Election

Microsoft Detects More Russian Cyber Attacks Ahead of Mid-Term Election
August 21, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Microsoft claims to have uncovered another new Russian hacking attempts targeting United States' Senate and conservative think tanks ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The tech giant said Tuesday that the APT28 hacking group—also known as Strontium, Fancy Bear , Sofacy, Sednit, and Pawn Storm, which is believed to be tied to the Russian government—created at least six fake websites related to US Senate and conservative organizations to trick its visitors and hack into their computers. Three fake web domains were intended to look as if they belonged to the U.S. Senate, while one non-political website spoofed Microsoft's own online products. The two other phony websites were designed to mimic two U.S. conservative organizations: The Hudson Institute — a conservative Washington think tank hosting extended discussions on topics including cybersecurity, among other important activities. The International Republican Institute (IRI) — a nonprofit group that promotes

Email Phishers Using New Way to Bypass Microsoft Office 365 Protections

Email Phishers Using New Way to Bypass Microsoft Office 365 Protections
August 15, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Phishing works no matter how hard a company tries to protect its customers or employees. Security researchers have been warning of a new phishing attack that cybercriminals and email scammers are using in the wild to bypass the Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) mechanism implemented by widely used email services like Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft Office 365 is an all-in-solution for users that offers several different online services, including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and other Office Web Apps, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote. On the top of these services, Microsoft also offers an artificial intelligence and machine learning powered security protection to help defend against potential phishing and other threats by going one level deep to scan the links in the email bodies to look for any blacklisted or suspicious domain. But as I said, phishers always find a way to bypass security protections in order to victimize users. Just over

Microsoft Releases Patches for 60 Flaws—Two Under Active Attack

Microsoft Releases Patches for 60 Flaws—Two Under Active Attack
August 14, 2018Mohit Kumar
Get your update caps on. Just a few minutes ago Microsoft released its latest monthly Patch Tuesday update for August 2018, patching a total of 60 vulnerabilities, of which 19 are rated as critical. The updates patch flaws in Microsoft Windows, Edge Browser, Internet Explorer, Office, ChakraCore, .NET Framework, Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server and Visual Studio. Two of these vulnerabilities patched by the tech giant is listed as publicly known and being exploited in the wild at the time of release. According to the advisory released by Microsoft, all 19 critical-rated vulnerabilities lead to remote code execution (RCE), some of which could eventually allow attackers to take control of the affected system if exploited successfully. Besides this, Microsoft has also addressed 39 important flaws, one moderate and one low in severity. Here below we have listed brief details of a few critical and publically exploited important vulnerabilities: Internet Explorer Memory Co

Microsoft Offers $100,000 Bounty for Finding Bugs in Its Identity Services

Microsoft Offers $100,000 Bounty for Finding Bugs in Its Identity Services
July 18, 2018Mohit Kumar
Microsoft today launched a new bug bounty program for bug hunters and researchers finding security vulnerabilities in its "identity services." Hacking into networks and stealing data have become common and easier than ever but not all data holds the same business value or carries the same risk. Since new security today depends on the collaborative communication of identities and identity data within, and across domains, digital identities of customers are usually the key to accessing services and interacting across the Internet. Microsoft said the company has heavily invested in the "creation, implementation, and improvement of identity-related specifications" that encourage "strong authentication, secure sign-on, sessions, API security, and other critical infrastructure tasks." Therefore, to further bolster its customers' security, the tech giant has launched an all-new, and independent bug bounty program. Dubbed Microsoft Identity Bounty

Microsoft Releases Patch Updates for 53 Vulnerabilities In Its Software

Microsoft Releases Patch Updates for 53 Vulnerabilities In Its Software
July 10, 2018Swati Khandelwal
It's time to gear up your systems and software for the latest July 2018 Microsoft security patch updates. Microsoft today released security patch updates for 53 vulnerabilities, affecting Windows, Internet Explorer (IE), Edge, ChakraCore, .NET Framework, ASP.NET, PowerShell, Visual Studio, and Microsoft Office and Office Services, and Adobe Flash Player. Out of 53 vulnerabilities, 17 are rated critical, 34 important, one moderate and one as low in severity. This month there is no critical vulnerability patched in Microsoft Windows operating system and surprisingly, none of the flaw patched by the tech giant this month is listed as publicly known or under active attack. Critical Flaws Patched In Microsoft Products Most of the critical issues are memory corruption flaws in IE, Edge browser and Chakra scripting engine, which if successfully exploited, could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on a targeted system in the context of the cur

Two Zero-Day Exploits Found After Someone Uploaded 'Unarmed' PoC to VirusTotal

Two Zero-Day Exploits Found After Someone Uploaded 'Unarmed' PoC to VirusTotal
July 02, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers at Microsoft have unveiled details of two critical and important zero-day vulnerabilities that had recently been discovered after someone uploaded a malicious PDF file to VirusTotal, and get patched before being used in the wild . In late March, researchers at ESET found a malicious PDF file on VirusTotal, which they shared with the security team at Microsoft "as a potential exploit for an unknown Windows kernel vulnerability." After analyzing the malicious PDF file, the Microsoft team found that the same file includes two different zero-day exploits—one for Adobe Acrobat and Reader, and the other targeting Microsoft Windows. Since the patches for both the vulnerabilities were released in the second week of May, Microsoft released details of both the vulnerabilities today, after giving users enough time to update their vulnerable operating systems and Adobe software. According to the researchers, the malicious PDF including both the zero-days e

Microsoft June 2018 Patch Tuesday Pushes 11 Critical Security Updates

Microsoft June 2018 Patch Tuesday Pushes 11 Critical Security Updates
June 12, 2018Mohit Kumar
It's time to gear up for the latest June 2018 Microsoft security patch updates. Microsoft today released security patch updates for more than 50 vulnerabilities, affecting Windows, Internet Explorer, Edge, MS Office, MS Office Exchange Server, ChakraCore, and Adobe Flash Player—11 of which are rated critical and 39 as important in severity. Only one of these vulnerabilities, a remote code execution flaw ( CVE-2018-8267 ) in the scripting engine, is listed as being publicly known at the time of release. However, none of the flaws are listed as under active attack. Discovered by security researcher Dmitri Kaslov, the publicly known vulnerability is a remote memory-corruption issue affecting Microsoft Internet Explorer. The flaw exists within the IE rendering engine and triggers when it fails to properly handle the error objects, allowing an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the currently logged-in user. Microsoft has also addressed an important vulnera

Confirmed—Microsoft Buys GitHub For $7.5 Billion

Confirmed—Microsoft Buys GitHub For $7.5 Billion
June 04, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Here's the biggest news of the week—Microsoft has reportedly acquired GitHub for $7.5 billion. For those unaware, GitHub is a popular code repository hosting service that allows developers to host their projects, documentation, and code in the cloud using the popular Git source management system, invented in 2005 by Linux founder Linus Torvalds. GitHub is used by many developers and big tech companies including Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and IBM to store their corporate code and privately collaborate on software, but Microsoft is one of the top contributors to the web-hosting service. Microsoft has uploaded several of its most important projects, including PowerShell , the .NET framework, and the Microsoft Edge JavaScript engine , to the website under open source licenses. Microsoft also partnered with Canonical to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10 . Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that GitHub opted to sell to Microsoft in part because it was impr

Microsoft Patches Two Zero-Day Flaws Under Active Attack

Microsoft Patches Two Zero-Day Flaws Under Active Attack
May 08, 2018Swati Khandelwal
It's time to gear up for the latest May 2018 Patch Tuesday. Microsoft has today released security patches for a total of 67 vulnerabilities, including two zero-days that have actively been exploited in the wild by cybercriminals, and two publicly disclosed bugs. In brief, Microsoft is addressing 21 vulnerabilities that are rated as critical, 42 rated important, and 4 rated as low severity. These patch updates address security flaws in Microsoft Windows, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Exchange Server, Outlook, .NET Framework, Microsoft Hyper-V, ChakraCore, Azure IoT SDK, and more. 1) Double Kill IE 0-day Vulnerability The first zero-day vulnerability ( CVE-2018-8174 ) under active attack is a critical remote code execution vulnerability that was revealed by Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 last month and affected all supported versions of Windows operating systems. Dubbed " Double Kill " by the researchers, the vulnera

Microsoft Issues Emergency Patch For Critical Flaw In Windows Containers

Microsoft Issues Emergency Patch For Critical Flaw In Windows Containers
May 03, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Just a few days prior to its monthly patch release, Microsoft released an emergency patch for a critical vulnerability in the Windows Host Compute Service Shim (hcsshim) library that could allow remote attackers to run malicious code on Windows computers. Windows Host Compute Service Shim (hcsshim) is an open source library that helps "Docker for Windows" execute Windows Server containers using a low-level container management API in Hyper-V. Discovered by Swiss developer and security researcher Michael Hanselmann , the critical vulnerability (tracked as CVE-2018-8115) is the result of the failure of the hcsshim library to properly validate input when importing a Docker container image. This, in turn, allows an attacker to remotely execute arbitrary code on the Windows host operating system, eventually letting the attacker create, remove, and replace files on the target host. As Hanselmann explained  in his personal blog, "Importing a Docker container image or

Windows 10 'S Mode' Coming Soon — For Security and Performance

Windows 10 'S Mode' Coming Soon — For Security and Performance
March 09, 2018Mohit Kumar
Microsoft has confirmed that the company is planning to convert Windows 10 S from a dedicated operating system to a special " S Mode " that will be available in all versions of Windows. Windows 10 S, a new operating system designed for simplicity, security, and speed, was released by Microsoft last year. It locks a computer down to run applications only downloaded from official Windows Store, but the slimmed-down and restricted flavor of Windows did not exactly turn out to be a success. Therefore, the company has now decided Windows 10 S be offered as an optional mode rather than a dedicated operating system. Windows 10 S was developed to simplify administration for school or business sysadmins that want the 'low-hassle' guaranteed performance version. It has been designed to deliver predictable performance and quality through Microsoft-verified apps via the Microsoft Store. However, in a blog post published Wednesday, the corporate VP of Microsoft's

Microsoft Won't Patch a Severe Skype Vulnerability Anytime Soon

Microsoft Won't Patch a Severe Skype Vulnerability Anytime Soon
February 14, 2018Swati Khandelwal
A serious vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft-owned most popular free web messaging and voice calling service Skype that could potentially allow attackers to gain full control of the host machine by granting system-level privileges to a local, unprivileged user. The worst part is that this vulnerability will not be patched by Microsoft anytime soon. It's not because the flaw is unpatchable, but because fixing the vulnerability requires a significant software rewrite, which indicates that the company will need to issue an all-new version of Skype rather than just a patch. The vulnerability has been discovered and reported to Microsoft by security researcher Stefan Kanthak and resides in Skype's update installer, which is susceptible to Dynamic Link Libraries (DLL) hijacking. According to the researcher, a potential attacker could exploit the "functionality of the Windows DLL loader where the process loading the DLL searches for the DLL to be loaded fi

Microsoft Issues Security Patch Update for 14 New Critical Vulnerabilities

Microsoft Issues Security Patch Update for 14 New Critical Vulnerabilities
February 14, 2018Mohit Kumar
Microsoft's Patch Tuesday for this month falls the day before the most romantic day of the year. Yes, it's Valentine's, and the tech giant has released its monthly security update for February 2018, addressing a total of 50 CVE-listed vulnerabilities in its Windows operating system, Microsoft Office, web browsers and other products. Fourteen of the security updates are listed as critical, 34 are rated as important, and 2 of them are rated as moderate in severity. The critical update patches serious security flaws in Edge browser and Outlook client, an RCE in Windows' StructuredQuery component, and several memory corruption bugs in the scripting engines used by Edge and Internet Explorer. Critical Microsoft Outlook Vulnerability One of the most severe bugs includes a memory corruption vulnerability ( CVE-2018-0852 ) in Microsoft Outlook, which can be exploited to achieve remote code execution on the targeted machines. In order to trigger the vulnerability

Microsoft Releases Patches for 16 Critical Flaws, Including a Zero-Day

Microsoft Releases Patches for 16 Critical Flaws, Including a Zero-Day
January 09, 2018Mohit Kumar
If you think that only CPU updates that address this year's major security flaws— Meltdown and Spectre —are the only ones you are advised to grab immediately, there are a handful of major security flaws that you should pay attention to. Microsoft has issued its first Patch Tuesday for 2018 to address 56 CVE-listed flaws, including a zero-day vulnerability in MS Office related that had been actively exploited by several threat groups in the wild. Sixteen of the security updates are listed as critical, 38 are rated important, one is rated moderate, and one is rated as low in severity. The updates address security flaws in Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Edge, ChakraCore, ASP.NET, and the .NET Framework. The zero-day vulnerability ( CVE-2018-0802 ), described by Microsoft as a memory corruption flaw in Office, is already being targeted in the wild by several threat actor groups in the past few months. The vulnerability, discovered by several researchers from Chinese com

Microsoft Issues Emergency Windows Security Update For A Critical Vulnerability

Microsoft Issues Emergency Windows Security Update For A Critical Vulnerability
December 07, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Microsoft has just released an emergency security patch to address a critical remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in its Malware Protection Engine (MPE) that could allow an attacker to take full control of a victim's PC. Enabled by default, Microsoft Malware Protection Engine offers the core cybersecurity capabilities, like scanning, detection, and cleaning, for the company's antivirus and antimalware programs in all of its products. According to Microsoft, the vulnerability affects a large number of Microsoft security products, including Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials along with Endpoint Protection, Forefront Endpoint Protection, and Exchange Server 2013 and 2016, impacting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows RT 8.1, and Windows Server. Tracked as CVE-2017-11937 , the vulnerability is a memory corruption issue which is triggered when the Malware Protection Engine scans a specially crafted file to check for any potential threat.

Patch Tuesday: Microsoft Releases Update to Fix 53 Vulnerabilities

Patch Tuesday: Microsoft Releases Update to Fix 53 Vulnerabilities
November 14, 2017Swati Khandelwal
It's Patch Tuesday—time to update your Windows devices. Microsoft has released a large batch of security updates as part of its November Patch Tuesday in order to fix a total of 53 new security vulnerabilities in various Windows products, 19 of which rated as critical, 31 important and 3 moderate. The vulnerabilities impact the Windows OS, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Scripting Engine, .NET Core, and more. At least four of these vulnerabilities that the tech giant has now fixed have public exploits, allowing attackers to exploit them easily. But fortunately, none of the four are being used in the wild, according to Gill Langston at security firm Qualys . The four vulnerabilities with public exploits identified by Microsoft as CVE-2017-8700 (an information disclosure flaw in ASP.NET Core), CVE-2017-11827 (Microsoft browsers remote code execution), CVE-2017-11848 (Internet Explorer information disclosure) and CVE-2017-11883 (denial of ser

Russian 'Fancy Bear' Hackers Using (Unpatched) Microsoft Office DDE Exploit

Russian 'Fancy Bear' Hackers Using (Unpatched) Microsoft Office DDE Exploit
November 09, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Cybercriminals, including state-sponsored hackers, have started actively exploiting a newly discovered Microsoft Office vulnerability that Microsoft does not consider as a security issue and has already denied to patch it. Last month, we reported how hackers could leverage a built-in feature of Microsoft Office feature, called Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE), to perform code execution on the targeted device without requiring Macros enabled or memory corruption. DDE protocol is one of the several methods that Microsoft uses to allow two running applications to share the same data. The protocol is being used by thousands of apps, including MS Excel, MS Word, Quattro Pro, and Visual Basic for one-time data transfers and for continuous exchanges for sending updates to one another. Soon after the details of DDE attack went public , several reports emerged about various widespread attack campaigns abusing this technique in the wild to target several organisations with malware. Now,
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