Browsers under attack

July 26th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

Hackers have focused their attacks on browsers which ultimately has common theme for benefiting from the end users. As old versions of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) are typically now blocked in the browser by default, Java applets require explicit activation from users.

Bromium Labs researchers said, “so this attack vector becomes harder and harder to leverage” and “It’s evident that attackers continue to shift focus in between ubiquitous internet facing applications, but there’s a common theme throughout – attacking the end users.” It leaves hackers looking to other popular applications to exploit.

According to the reports by the lab, Microsoft’s IE was one of the most patched and one of the most exploited applications in 2014’s first half, targeted more often than Mozilla’s Firefox, Google Chrome, Java, Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader or Microsoft Office.

The lab also mentioned different techniques used in the attacks which are given below –

  • Zero day techniques in which attackers used Adobe Flash to launch action script virtual machine (ASVM) attacks.
  • Action script spray facilitates the use of return-oriented programming (ROP), which allows attackers to execute malicious code in the presence of security defenses

“This technique leverages the way dense arrays are allocated in memory,” wrote Bromium researchers. “If a vulnerability allows an attacker to control the size of a vector, they could make it as big as the whole memory space and then search for the necessary API calls and ROP gadgets.”

“Traditional heap spray was supposed to deal with early address randomization techniques implemented in various operating systems. Nowadays defenses are much more sophisticated. Malicious code must ‘know’ addresses of crucial libraries and API functions in order to execute,” said Vadim Kotov, Bromium’s senior security researcher. “Actionscript spray provides this ‘knowledge,’ while its ancestor doesn’t even address this issue.”

“Action heap spray — as well as traditional heap spray — is merely an instrument to exploit security vulnerabilities,” Kotov said. “If you want to reduce the probability of being compromised, you need to have reasonable patching policy and invest in protection software.”

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