Archive for the ‘CVE-2012-0507’ Category

Economies of scale: A perspective on cross-platform vulnerabilities

July 31st, 2012 No comments

A year ago, we published a blog post titled ‘Backdoor Olyx – is it malware on a mission for Mac?‘. It explored the intriguing questions that lay behind this backdoor’s discovery, delivery and targets. We provided our observations and analysis, and suggested that this threat was used in a targeted attack against unknown victims. However, we found no clue at that time as to ‘how’ the threat was installed to its targets – an important missing piece that we’ve continued to investigate over time.

As shown in the timeline below, a succeeding variation of threats can be identified with the same suggested attack tactic – exploiting known vulnerabilities in software to install a backdoor to its target.

Upon closer inspection of this event, we observed that this malicious code may be delivered via the Web by exploiting Java vulnerabilities (referred to in CVE-2011-3544 and CVE-2012-0507). The second form of delivery we observed was via email attachment, where the malware distributors may attempt to take advantage of known Word document vulnerabilities (referred to in CVE-2010-3333) and the vulnerabilities resolved with the release of Microsoft Security Bulletin MS09-027. It is also important to point out that these vulnerabilities affect multiple platforms, and in this case, affect both Windows and Mac.

This observation is limited and based on the samples we identified, acquired and processed, however, this understanding provides us with an opportunity to recognize a trend we can describe as economies of scale in cross-platform vulnerabilities. This method of distribution allows the attacker to maximize their capability on multiple platforms. Thus, regardless of a particular attacker’s motive, the value and demand for these vulnerabilities is likely to persist – we know for a fact that Java vulnerabilities CVE-2011-3544 and CVE-2012-0507 are widely used by cybercriminals’ in exploit kits, such as Blacole/Blackhole.

If we look at this trend, then we start to notice that the following vulnerabilities in Java, Adobe PDF and Flash, and Microsoft Office documents, listed in the table below, may be used to target and attack multiple platforms. Note that these vulnerabilities have been patched; appropriate security updates for them have been released.

This highlights the importance of keeping security software up-to-date, and ensuring operating system and 3rd party security patches are installed (soon after they become available) in order to reduce the risk of malware infection. And, this best practice should extend to all devices and platforms, especially those in large enterprise networks.

Methusela Cebrian Ferrer
MMPC Melbourne

A tangled web…

April 27th, 2012 No comments

The moment of infection, and the circumstances that lead to the introduction of malware to a system, are often not obvious. This short case study examines our observations and investigations into a particular example that illustrates a fairly typical method of compromise that is played out countless times each day​ all over the web.

A couple of days ago, our attention was drawn to a website that appeared to use the Microsoft brand. We received reports that a website with the word “Microsoft” in big friendly letters at the top of the page, may have been serving malware. We were worried that users may visit the site with confidence and trust its content because it carried our name. So, we took a closer look at this “Microsoft” website.


We can see it does use the title “MSPinoy – Microsoft Philippines Users Group”, and when you click on the Forums tab up top, it sends you directly to an actual Microsoft website. Everything goes well initially, but after less than a minute, the system becomes sluggish and Microsoft Security Essentials reports a possible malware infection.

So the question is: who is “MSPinoy”? After some searching, we found out that the website has existed since June 2008 and has a legitimate registration contact in the Philippines. Based on our research, we assume that this website is probably not malicious, but is a community users group which references some official Philippines Microsoft links for its users.

So, if the site is a real users group (if not Microsoft endorsed per se), then how are visitors getting infected? When we looked further into the webpage source a suspicious iframe emerges at the end of the page. This iframe, which referenced a different host (, soon redirected to another one. Upon being redirected the new webpage contained several malicious Java applets that tried to exploit vulnerabilities on the system and download other malware. When we visited, these exploits were detected as variants of Exploit:Java/CVE-2010-0840 (example file SHA1s observed 626D495992C77BE9E47A9F2A1ED573739F34636F and A67C7CC6BD6C516D865C8BB37134F457E0B89A3D) and Exploit:Java/CVE-2012-0507 (example SHA1 of file observed 374F8FDB2EB49D5C883785A6ED627BE6CF9BACC9).

We also then did an online search into


Looks like the registrant is from Australia and belongs to an organization called The registration date is just a couple of days ago. We continued to monitor this website and found that the malicious iframe was refreshed every day with a different host (such as or which was also registered to

So, it looks like the MSPinoy website we investigated had been compromised, and the hijack code is being refreshed daily, presumably from a C&C server.

So, our last question: Who is According to their website, is a company that provides a privacy protection service for domain owners, so that their registration contact details are not generally available to the public. So the true identity behind these domains is still a mystery.

As stated, this short case study is a fairly typical illustration of how malware is distributed, and it teaches some valuable lessons about how to defend yourself:

  • Use a complete AV solution (such as Microsoft Security Essentials)
  • Update your AV daily. As this example shows, the bad guys update their code daily, so you need to as well.
  • Get and install the latest updates for ALL of your computer programs. Be proactive – this is really important.
  • Be vigilant. Bad guys will attempt to take advantage of your existing trusted relationships (such as the relationship you might have with a company like Microsoft).
  • Be aware that these types of attack are prevalent and dangerous and that attackers will try to take advantage of you, your computer and your assets. Use caution online.

Tim Liu


Categories: CVE-2010-0840, CVE-2012-0507, exploits Tags: