Attackers Targeting Zero-Day Access Flaw

Attackers Targeting Zero-Day Access Flaw
Attackers Targeting Zero-Day Access Flaw,1895,2234056,00.asp 

By Lisa Vaas
December 13, 2007

Attackers are going after Microsoft Office Access databases, US-CERT 
warned earlier in the week, taking advantage of an unpatched stack 
buffer overflow to deliver malicious databases that are leading to 
system hijacking in an undetermined number of cases.

Security researchers didn't have many details on the attacks, but 
US-CERT's advisory did say that users don't have to do anything beyond 
open a rigged Access database in order for a successful exploit to be 
sprung on them. The malicious files are of file type .MDB.

McAfee's Avert Labs said in a Dec. 12 posting that attacks could come 
via a number of vectors: via the Web, e-mail or instant messaging, 
"coupled with well-establishing social engineering techniques" to trick 
victims into launching an attachment that's been booby trapped.

US-CERT is recommending that, in lieu of a patch, users take these 
mitigation steps:

* Avoid opening attachments from people they don't know or trust or that 
  they haven't solicited.
* Block high-risk file attachments at e-mail gateways.

Microsoft Director of Security Response Mark Miller said in a statement 
that, "Microsoft is aware of public reports of a malicious Microsoft 
Access Database file being used to compromise users," though he didn't 
provide information on how widespread the attack is at this point.

The file type in question.MDBis considered unsafe, Miller noted, since 
it's one of multiple file types that allow embedded script operations. 
Macros in Word files (*.doc) or in Excel files (*.xls) are other 
examples of file types that can be risky because of their 
less-than-obvious leniency on embedded scripts, according to this 
Microsoft support page on unsafe file types.

.MDB was used by Access Database versions up until 2003 and is either 
blocked by some Microsoft applications or provokes warnings before users 
can open such files, Miller said in his statement.

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