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Archive for the ‘Mitigations’ Category

Solving Uninitialized Stack Memory on Windows

May 13th, 2020 No comments

This blog post outlines the work that Microsoft is doing to eliminate uninitialized stack memory vulnerabilities from Windows and why we’re on this path. This blog post will be broken down into a few parts that folks can jump to: Uninitialized Memory Background Potential Solutions to Uninitialized Memory Vulnerabilities InitAll – Automatic Initialization Interesting Findings …

Solving Uninitialized Stack Memory on Windows Read More »

The post Solving Uninitialized Stack Memory on Windows appeared first on Microsoft Security Response Center.

General Availability for Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) 5.0

July 31st, 2014 No comments

Today, we are excited to announce the general availability of Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) 5.0. EMET is a free tool, designed to help customers with their defense in depth strategies against cyberattacks, by helping block and terminate the most common techniques adversaries might use in comprising systems. EMET 5.0 further helps to protect with two new mitigations, and with new capabilities giving customers additional flexibility on their deployments.

EMET helps to protect systems, even before new and undiscovered threats are formally addressed by security updates and antimalware software.

This is what some customers have said about EMET:

"EMET is not a policy-changing tool, but it might just be that additional piece of security software that is worth investing in.” – Wolfgang Kandek, Qualys, Windows EMET Tool Guards Against Java Exploits, 2014

“(The Java- and plugin-blocking feature should) effectively stymie most of the historical attack methods related to Java and Flash. Those two applications have historically caused a lot of heartburn for security teams." – Andrew Storms, CloudPassage, Windows EMET Tool Guards Against Java Exploits, 2014

 

Let’s take a look at some of the key new capabilities in EMET 5.0:

Two new mitigations further expand EMET protections

Enhanced with the feedback that we received from EMET 5.0 technical preview participants, two new mitigations become generally available today.

First, the new Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) mitigation provides a mechanism to help block specific modules or plug-ins within an application, in certain conditions. For example, customers can now configure EMET to prevent their browser from loading Java plug-ins on external websites, while still continuing to allow Java plug-ins on their internal company websites.

Second, the brand new Export Address Table Filtering Plus (EAF+) mitigation introduces two new methods for helping disrupt advanced attacks. For example, EAF+ adds a new “page guard” protection to help prevent memory read operations, commonly used as information leaks to build exploitations.

Also, with 5.0, four EMET mitigations become available on 64-bit platforms. You can read more on that and find a deep dive of all the new features on our Security Research and Defense (SRD) Blog.

New configuration options deliver additional flexibility

EMET 5.0 offers new user interface (UI) options so that customers can configure how each mitigation applies to applications in their environment, taking into account their enterprise frameworks and requirements. For example, users can configure which specific memory addresses to protect with the HeapSpray Allocation mitigation using EMET 5.0. We continue to provide smart defaults for many of the most common applications used by our customers.

Many enterprise IT professionals deploy EMET through Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and apply Group Policies in Windows Active Directory to comply with enterprise account, user, and role policies. With version 5.0, propagating EMET configuration changes via Group Policy becomes even easier, as we have improved how EMET handles configuration changes, when applied in an enterprise network.

The new Microsoft EMET Service is another feature our enterprise customers will find helpful in monitoring status and logs of any suspicious activity. With this new service, our customers can use industry standard processes, such as Server Manager Dashboard of Windows Server, for monitoring.

Additionally, with EMET 5.0, we have improved the Certificate Trust feature, allowing users to turn on a setting, in order to block navigation to websites with untrusted, fraudulent certificates, helping protect from Man-In-The-Middle attacks.

New default settings provide protections from the get-go

EMET’s Deep Hooks capability helps protect the interactions between an application and the operating system. In EMET 5.0, Deep Hooks is turned on by default, helping provide stronger protections by default. Furthermore, this default setting is now compatible with a wider range of productivity, security and business software.

Since we released EMET 5.0 Technical Preview in February this year, our customers and the community showed strong interest. Through user forums and Microsoft Premier Support Services, which assists enterprise EMET users, we received valuable feedback to shape the product roadmap ahead.

In the same lines, we invite you to download EMET 5.0 and let us know what you think.

Protect your enterprise. Deploy EMET today.

Thanks,

Chris Betz
Senior Director, MSRC

Categories: EMET, Mitigations Tags:

General Availability for Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) 5.0

July 31st, 2014 No comments

Today, we are excited to announce the general availability of Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) 5.0. EMET is a free tool, designed to help customers with their defense in depth strategies against cyberattacks, by helping block and terminate the most common techniques adversaries might use in comprising systems. EMET 5.0 further helps to protect with two new mitigations, and with new capabilities giving customers additional flexibility on their deployments.

EMET helps to protect systems, even before new and undiscovered threats are formally addressed by security updates and antimalware software.

This is what some customers have said about EMET:

"EMET is not a policy-changing tool, but it might just be that additional piece of security software that is worth investing in.” – Wolfgang Kandek, Qualys, Windows EMET Tool Guards Against Java Exploits, 2014

“(The Java- and plugin-blocking feature should) effectively stymie most of the historical attack methods related to Java and Flash. Those two applications have historically caused a lot of heartburn for security teams." – Andrew Storms, CloudPassage, Windows EMET Tool Guards Against Java Exploits, 2014

 

Let’s take a look at some of the key new capabilities in EMET 5.0:

Two new mitigations further expand EMET protections

Enhanced with the feedback that we received from EMET 5.0 technical preview participants, two new mitigations become generally available today.

First, the new Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) mitigation provides a mechanism to help block specific modules or plug-ins within an application, in certain conditions. For example, customers can now configure EMET to prevent their browser from loading Java plug-ins on external websites, while still continuing to allow Java plug-ins on their internal company websites.

Second, the brand new Export Address Table Filtering Plus (EAF+) mitigation introduces two new methods for helping disrupt advanced attacks. For example, EAF+ adds a new “page guard” protection to help prevent memory read operations, commonly used as information leaks to build exploitations.

Also, with 5.0, four EMET mitigations become available on 64-bit platforms. You can read more on that and find a deep dive of all the new features on our Security Research and Defense (SRD) Blog.

New configuration options deliver additional flexibility

EMET 5.0 offers new user interface (UI) options so that customers can configure how each mitigation applies to applications in their environment, taking into account their enterprise frameworks and requirements. For example, users can configure which specific memory addresses to protect with the HeapSpray Allocation mitigation using EMET 5.0. We continue to provide smart defaults for many of the most common applications used by our customers.

Many enterprise IT professionals deploy EMET through Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and apply Group Policies in Windows Active Directory to comply with enterprise account, user, and role policies. With version 5.0, propagating EMET configuration changes via Group Policy becomes even easier, as we have improved how EMET handles configuration changes, when applied in an enterprise network.

The new Microsoft EMET Service is another feature our enterprise customers will find helpful in monitoring status and logs of any suspicious activity. With this new service, our customers can use industry standard processes, such as Server Manager Dashboard of Windows Server, for monitoring.

Additionally, with EMET 5.0, we have improved the Certificate Trust feature, allowing users to turn on a setting, in order to block navigation to websites with untrusted, fraudulent certificates, helping protect from Man-In-The-Middle attacks.

New default settings provide protections from the get-go

EMET’s Deep Hooks capability helps protect the interactions between an application and the operating system. In EMET 5.0, Deep Hooks is turned on by default, helping provide stronger protections by default. Furthermore, this default setting is now compatible with a wider range of productivity, security and business software.

Since we released EMET 5.0 Technical Preview in February this year, our customers and the community showed strong interest. Through user forums and Microsoft Premier Support Services, which assists enterprise EMET users, we received valuable feedback to shape the product roadmap ahead.

In the same lines, we invite you to download EMET 5.0 and let us know what you think.

Protect your enterprise. Deploy EMET today.

Thanks,

Chris Betz
Senior Director, MSRC

Categories: EMET, Mitigations Tags:

August 2013 Security Bulletin Webcast, Q&A, and Slide Deck

August 19th, 2013 No comments

Today we’re publishing the August 2013 Security Bulletin Webcast Questions & Answers page.  We fielded 13 questions on various topics during the webcast, with specific bulletin questions focusing primarily on Exchange Server (MS13-061) and Windows Kernel (MS13-063).  There were 3 additional questions during the webcast that we were unable to answer on air, and we have also answered those on the Q&A page.

We invite our customers to join us for the next public webcast on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, at 11 a.m. PDT (UTC -8), when we will go into detail about the September bulletin release and answer questions live on the air.

Customers can register to attend the webcast at the link below:

Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Time: 11:00 a.m. PDT (UTC -7)
Register:
Attendee Registration

Thanks,

Dustin Childs
Group Manager, Response Communications
Microsoft Trustworthy Computing

 

 

August 2013 Security Bulletin Webcast, Q&A, and Slide Deck

August 19th, 2013 No comments

Today we’re publishing the August 2013 Security Bulletin Webcast Questions & Answers page.  We fielded 13 questions on various topics during the webcast, with specific bulletin questions focusing primarily on Exchange Server (MS13-061) and Windows Kernel (MS13-063).  There were 3 additional questions during the webcast that we were unable to answer on air, and we have also answered those on the Q&A page.

We invite our customers to join us for the next public webcast on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, at 11 a.m. PDT (UTC -8), when we will go into detail about the September bulletin release and answer questions live on the air.

Customers can register to attend the webcast at the link below:

Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Time: 11:00 a.m. PDT (UTC -7)
Register:
Attendee Registration

Thanks,

Dustin Childs
Group Manager, Response Communications
Microsoft Trustworthy Computing

 

 

Microsoft Releases Security Advisory 2794220

December 29th, 2012 No comments

Today, we released Security Advisory 2794220 regarding an issue that impacts Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8. We are only aware of a very small number of targeted attacks at this time. This issue allows remote code execution if users browse to a malicious website with an affected browser. This would typically occur by an attacker convincing someone to click a link in an email or instant message.

Internet Explorer 9 and 10 are not affected by this issue, so upgrading to these versions will help protect you from this issue.

While we are actively working to develop a security update to address this issue, we encourage customers using affected versions of Internet Explorer to deploy the following workarounds and mitigations included in the advisory to help protect themselves: 

  • Set Internet and local intranet security zone settings to “High” to block ActiveX Controls and Active Scripting in these zones
    This will help prevent exploitation but may affect usability; therefore, trusted sites should be added to the Internet Explorer Trusted Sites zone to minimize disruption.
  • Configure Internet Explorer to prompt before running Active Scripting or to disable Active Scripting in the Internet and local intranet security zones
    This will help prevent exploitation but can affect usability, so trusted sites should be added to the Internet Explorer Trusted Sites zone to minimize disruption.
  • Deploy the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET)
    This will help prevent exploitation by providing mitigations to protect against this issue and should not affect usability of websites. An easy guide for EMET installation and configuration is available in
    KB2458544.

Over on the SRD blog, MSRC’s own Jonathan Ness and Cristian Craioveanu go over some of the issue details. We are also actively working to package an easy, one-click Fix it solution that will help protect your computer. In their blog, Jonathan and Cristian describe the shim that will be included in the Fix it, and how it will be able to be used to help prevent the exploit from succeeding. We expect the Fix it will be available in the next few days and will update this blog when it is ready.

As always, we encourage people to follow the “Protect Your Computer” guidance of enabling a firewall, applying all software updates and installing anti-virus and anti-spyware software. We also encourage folks to exercise caution when visiting websites and avoid clicking suspicious links, or opening email messages from unfamiliar senders. Additional information can be found at www.microsoft.com/protect.

We are monitoring the threat landscape very closely and if the situation changes, we will post updates here on the MSRC blog and on Twitter at @MSFTSecResponse.

Thank you,

Dustin Childs
Group Manager, Response Communications
Trustworthy Computing

November 2012 Bulletin Release

November 13th, 2012 No comments

Security Updates
Today we released six security bulletins to help protect our customers – four Critical, one Important, and one Moderate – addressing 19 vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows Shell, Windows Kernel, Internet Explorer, Internet Information Services (IIS), .NET Framework, and Excel. For those who need to prioritize deployment, we recommend focusing on these two Critical updates first:

MS12-071 (Internet Explorer): This bulletin addresses three privately disclosed issues, none of which are currently known to be under active attack. Successful exploitation of these issues could result in code execution with the current user’s privileges. As such, we recommend the best practice of running applications with the least privileges possible in order to help mitigate potential risks. These issues do not affect Internet Explorer 10.

MS12-075 (Windows Kernel): This security update addresses three privately reported issues, none of which are currently known to be under active attack. This bulletin affects all supported versions of Microsoft Windows. The most severe issue could result in remote code execution if an attacker is able to lure a user to a website with a maliciously crafted TrueType font file embedded.

Security Update Re-release
In October we released Security Advisory 2749655 that addresses potential compatibility issues due to signature timestamps expiring before they should and noted we would be providing updates as they become available. Today we are providing one such update for MS12-046 (Visual Basic), which is now listed as available in the advisory. We have also released MS12-062 (System Center Configuration Manager 2007) to address an issue in the localization of resource files. Users who have already successfully installed the English versions of this update do not need to take any action.

You can find more information about this month’s security updates on the Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary web page. For an overview of the bulletins please watch the video below.

 

 

 

We recommend that customers deploy all security updates as soon as possible. Below is our deployment priority guidance to further assist customers in deployment planning (click for larger view).

 

Our risk and impact graph provides an aggregate view of this month’s severity and exploitability index (click for larger view).

 

Thanks for reading and join us tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012) at 11 a.m. PST for a live webcast with Jeremy Tinder and myself, as we share greater details about these bulletins. As always, we will answer bulletin-related questions live during the webcast. You may register for that one-hour event here.

Thank you,

Dustin Childs
Group Manager
Microsoft Trustworthy Computing

August 2012 Security Bulletin Webcast, Q&A, and Slide Deck

August 18th, 2012 No comments

Hello.

Today we’re publishing the August 2012 Security Bulletin Webcast Questions & Answers page. During the webcast, we fielded twelve questions focusing primarily on MS12-060 covering Windows Common Controls,  MS12-052 regarding Internet Explorer, and Security Advisory 2661254 addressing trust certificates with RSA keys less than 1024 bit key lengths. Three additional questions were answered after the webcast. All questions are included on the Q&A page.

We invite our customers to join us for the next public webcast on Wednesday, September 12th at 11 a.m. PDT (-7 UTC), when we will go into detail about the September bulletin release and answer questions live on the air.

Customers can register to attend at the link below:

Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Time: 11:00 a.m. PDT (UTC -7)

Register: AttendeeRegistration

Thanks,

Yunsun Wee

Director, Trustworthy Computing.

Announcing the BlueHat Prize for Advancement of Exploit Mitigations

July 28th, 2011 No comments

Protecting the general computing ecosystem is a really tough job, and given some of the media headlines, it’s easy to get discouraged and wallow in the problems. It seems like we’re constantly bombarded with statistics measuring the number of bugs, vulnerabilities, or attacks in an attempt to build an accurate “state of the state.” The popular question of late seems to be “Is the ecosystem getting more or less secure?”

In my role, I talk with a lot of customers.  In fact, we had recent meetings on Microsoft’s campus with CSOs from some of the world’s largest companies.  While the topic sometimes starts with the “state of the state” and recent changes in the threat landscape, they always end up in the same place —customers want to discuss and collaborate on solutions, rather than wallowing in the problems.

We’ve collaborated with many of the thousands of brilliant security researchers across the globe over the years, and they’ve helped us improve the security of our products & services.  There are also hundreds of security providers in the industry that we work closely with. In fact, three years ago we took an unconventional approach to security challenges by creating the Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP) to help unify this group of defenders.  This program shifted advantage to the good guys by promoting collaboration within the industry, even among competitors, in order to quickly build defensive technologies for over a billion of our shared customers around the world.

The success of that program – which inspired industry collaboration – got us thinking about whether we could do something similar for the security research community. Our goal was to inspire new lines of research in areas that have the most impact and leverage in protecting customers. That means not building incentives to find single bugs, but instead rewarding work on innovative solutions that could mitigate entire classes of attacks.

Today, I am pleased to announce the BlueHat Prize to inspire security researchers to seek innovations in exploit mitigation technologies. This is the first and largest incentive prize ever offered by Microsoft, and possibly the industry, for defensive computer security technology. In the age of increased risk of attacks on personal, corporate and government computer systems, Microsoft recognizes the need to encourage and nurture innovation in the area of exploit mitigations. At Microsoft, we believe in hiring the best and brightest minds in security to help us improve the security of our products and services, but also recognize it will take a “global village” to address today’s security challenges.

With over a quarter million dollars in cash and prizes, Microsoft believes the BlueHat Prize will motivate the community and foster even more collaboration with researchers throughout the security industry. To understand more about this competition, please visit Katie Moussouris’ EcoStrat blog or the BlueHat Prize contest page.

-Matt Thomlinson

A guide to exploit mitigations and the July 2011 security bulletin release

July 12th, 2011 No comments

Hello all —

Over the years we’ve often talked about exploit mitigations – DEP, ASLR, SEHOP and so forth – as effective tools for improving computer security, reducing risk, preventing attacks, and minimizing operational disruption. Today we’re releasing a user’s guide to the toolbox: “Mitigating Software Vulnerabilities,” a white paper with practical information on choosing and enabling those mitigations. We hope this paper becomes an indispensable reference for developers, IT pros and end users looking for advice and answers concerning exploit mitigations. The paper, which is in PDF format, is available from the Download Center. For more insight, Matt Miller of the Microsoft Security Engineering Center has written about the paper on the SRD blog.

As I previously mentioned in the Advance Notification Blog on Thursday, today we are releasing four security bulletins, one of which is rated as Critical, and three of which are rated Important. These bulletins will increase protection by addressing 22 vulnerabilities in the following Microsoft products. We’ve marked one bulletin, MS11-053, as our highest deployment priority for the month:

  • MS11-053 (Bluetooth Stack). This security bulletin resolves one privately reported vulnerability in the Windows Bluetooth Stack. This bulletin is rated Critical for Windows Vista and Windows 7 platforms. All prior versions of Windows are unaffected.

Despite its high deployment priority, we have assigned MS11-053 an Exploitability Index rating of 2. For more information on that decision, please see the SRD blog. We encourage all customers to apply this bulletin first, before deploying the rest of our July updates as soon as possible. Of note, consumers with Automatic Update enabled on their computers will not need to take any action; the tool ensures that the updates are applied and the systems protected.

The SRD blog also has insight from MSRC Engineering concerning MS11-056, an Important-level bulletin addressing five issues in Windows’ client/server runtime subsystem.

In this video, Jerry Bryant discusses this month’s bulletins in further detail.

Below is our deployment priority guidance to further assist customers in their deployment planning (click for larger view).

Our risk and impact graph shows an aggregate view of this month’s severity and exploitability index (click for larger view).

More information about this month’s security updates can be found on the Microsoft Security Bulletin summary web page.  

Per our usual process, we’ll offer the monthly technical webcast on Wednesday, hosted by Jerry Bryant and Dustin Childs. I invite you to tune in and learn more about the July security bulletins, as well as other announcements made today. The webcast is scheduled for Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 11 a.m. PDT, and the registration can be found here.

For all the latest information, you can also follow the MSRC team on Twitter at @MSFTSecResponse.

Thank you,

Angela Gunn
Trustworthy Computing.