Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Please click for more information, or scroll down to pass the ad, or Close Ad.
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Data Security
Real-time info services with Neustar
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Flame Virus Leads Microsoft To Update Windows Update
Flame Virus Leads Microsoft To Update Windows Update

By Barry Levine
June 5, 2012 1:53PM

    Bookmark and Share
The anti-virus researchers who discovered Flame indicate that, in addition to getting into a network, Flame's "man-in-the-middle" attack was intended to help spread Flame from one computer to another in the same network. Apparently, Flame intercepted requests to Windows Update by uninfected computers, and then delivered its virus to those computers.
 



The Flame computer virus, apparently targeted at Iran, is now leading Microsoft to button up its security. This week, the Redmond, Wash.-based technology giant said it was increasing security on its Windows Update software, which apparently helped distribute the Flame virus.

Microsoft said that whoever built the Flame virus exploited a vulnerability in Update, so that it looked like a legitimate download to the receiving computer or computers.

'Cryptographic Collision Attack'

A week ago, security experts revealed the existence of the Flame virus, which they described as one of the most complex viruses ever found. It's not clear who created it, or for what purpose, but most experts believe it was targeted specifically at computers in Iran and possibly other Middle Eastern countries.

The virus' creator has been attributed, without confirmation, to either the United States or Israel, or both. According to experts, it probably infected no more than a few thousand computers.

On Microsoft's official corporate security response blog, called the Security Response Center, Senior Director Mike Reavey wrote on Tuesday that the "Flame malware used a cryptographic collision attack," in combination with unauthorized digital certificates, which made it appear "as if it came from Microsoft."

To increase protection for customers, he added, "the next action of our mitigation strategy is to further harden Windows Update as a defense-in-depth precaution."

On Monday, Reavey had written that the company's analysis found "some components of the malware have been signed by certificates" that could exploit an older cryptography algorithm used by Microsoft's Terminal Server Licensing Service. This kind of exploitation is known as a "man-in-the-middle" attack, in that there is an "impersonation" of a download delivered through Microsoft Update.

'Most Sophisticated' Ever

In order to mitigate that risk, Reavey said the company was releasing a Security Advisory outlining ways that customers can block software signed by the unauthorized certificates. An update automatically takes that step for customers, and the Terminal Server Licensing Service is no longer issuing certificates that allow for code to be signed.

Reavey also noted that the now-corrected flaw could otherwise have been used by developers of less-sophisticated viruses.

The anti-virus researchers who discovered Flame indicate that, in addition to getting into a network, this man-in-the-middle attack was intended to help spread Flame from one computer to another in the same network. Apparently, Flame intercepted requests to Windows Update by uninfected computers, and then delivered its virus to those computers.

Even as Microsoft and security researchers are trying to nail shut the barn door, they are clearly in awe of the technical prowess that produced Flame. Security firm Kaspersky Labs, which helped discover Flame, has written on its SecureList blog that, as their investigation continues, they have discovered that "this is one of the most interesting and complex malicious programs we have ever seen."

In short, the Labs wrote, while the previous Stuxnet and Duqu super-virus weapons "raised the stakes," Flame is possibly "the most sophisticated cyber weapon yet released."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR) is a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information and analysis to the Internet, telecommunications, information services, financial services, retail, media and advertising sectors. Neustar applies its advanced, secure technologies in location, identification, and evaluation to help its customers promote and protect their businesses. More information is available at www.neustar.biz.


 Data Security
1.   Heartbleed Exploit Could Cost Millions
2.   Michaels: Nearly 3M Cards Breached
3.   Malware Targets Facebook Users
4.   IBM Adds Disaster Recovery to SoftLayer
5.   How To Beat the Heartbleed Bug


advertisement
Heartbleed Exploit Could Cost Millions
But it could have been prevented.
Average Rating:
Michaels: Nearly 3M Cards Breached
But the hack has been contained.
Average Rating:
Don't Reset Passwords for Heartbleed?
Added caution needed to ensure security.
Average Rating:


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Heartbleed Could Cost Millions, Could Have Been Prevented
Early estimates of Heartbleed’s cost to enterprises are running in the millions. The reason: revoking all the SSL certificates the bug exposed will come at a very hefty price. Some say it all could have been avoided.
 
Michaels Says Nearly 3M Credit, Debit Cards Breached
Arts and crafts retail giant Michaels Stores has confirmed that a data breach at its POS terminals from May 2013 to Jan. 2014 may have exposed nearly 3 million customer credit and debit cards.
 
Google's Street View Software Unravels CAPTCHAs
The latest software Google uses for its Street View cars to read street numbers in images for Google Maps works so well that it also solves CAPTCHAs, those puzzles designed to defeat bots.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Vaio Fit 11A Battery Danger Forces Recall by Sony
Using a Sony Vaio Fit 11A laptop? It's time to send it back to Sony. In fact, Sony is encouraging people to stop using the laptop after several reports of its Panasonic battery overheating.
 
Continued Drop in Global PC Shipments Slows
Worldwide shipments of PCs fell during the first three months of the year, but the global slump in PC demand may be easing, with a considerable slowdown from last year's drops.
 
Google Glass Finds a Home in Medical Education, Practice
The innovative headpiece may find its niche in markets where hands-free access to data can be a big advantage. Glass experiments for doctors are already under way, with some promising results.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Review: Siri-Like Cortana Fills Windows Phone Gap
With the new Cortana virtual assistant, Windows catches up with Apple's iOS and Google's Android in a major way, taking some of the best parts of Apple's and Google's virtual assistants, with new tools too.
 
With Galaxy S5, Samsung Proves Less Can Be More
Samsung has produced the most formidable rival yet to the iPhone 5s: the Galaxy S5. The device is the fifth edition of the company's successful line of Galaxy S smartphones, and shows less can be more.
 
Facebook Rolls Out Potentially Intrusive Location-Sharing
Looking for friends? Facebook users in the U.S. will soon be able to see which of their friends are nearby, using a smartphone's GPS. Could be a cool feature in some cases, or way too much information.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | Small Business | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters | XML/RSS Feed

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.