Last Friday, Microsoft released a new security update that brings patches for major security flaws. One of the most important ones is the one found in the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine (MsMpEng), which is an essential security service part for the entire ecosystem. The bug wore the codename CVE-2017-8558 and it had an influence on an x86 emulator that came together with the Malware Protection Engine. The vulnerability was discovered by Tavis Ormandy, who is a researcher for Google Project Zero.
A Dangerous Flaw
This particular flaw let attackers run code on the victim’s computer. As such, they could gain LocalSystem privileges, thus taking over the entire system. And the method was shockingly easy. It required the attacker to send a malicious and malformed file to the victim with the help of various methods: through file download, email, chat message or making people access certain websites that have the JS file.
In fact, there is no need for any user interaction, since the MsMpEng will immediately start to scan the new content. As such, immediate access is granted to the attacker. Obviously, this was a big issue, and even more so since the Malware Protection Engine is a built-in service for all the versions of the Windows OS since Windows 7.
Moreover, it’s an essential component of lots of Microsoft security products: Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Defender, Microsoft Endpoint Protection, Windows Intune Endpoint Protection, as well as the Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection. As such, the attacker can pass through all these systems.
If such an issue gets sold on hacking forums, malicious people may get as much as millions of dollars. And no wonder, since many people would give an arm to have access to all the Windows computers found at this moment on Earth.