If at first you don't succeed; call it version 1.0
Monday, September 25, 2006

The code for exploiting the unpatched VML vulnerability is in-the-wild for a week or so. This was enough time for Anti Virus, IPS/IDS and other reactive security products' vendors to create a signature for the in-the-wild exploit.
So, I put my hand on one of the in-the-wild and tested it using Virus Total. The results were not so good. Only 10 of 27 Anti-Viruses detected the exploit on the malicious web page.
According to ISC diary: "Some reports indicate that client-side anti-virus is not sufficient to protect, some AV apparently only catches the VML exploit code once Internet Explorer writes the temp file to disk, which can be too late.".
Now, what if the exploit is detected by the AV signatures? Are those signatures generic enough? I've decided to check it out.

I've used 5 simple methods, trying to evade being detected by the signature:
1) I've replaced the location where EIP should jump when the exploit is activated, with a different valid address.
2) I've replaced the VML element from "rect" with one of the other VML elements.
3) I've replaced the payload with a different valid shell code.
4) I've replaced the namespace key with a random key.
5) A combination of all of the above.

Please note that when I changed the code using any of the methods, the exploit still worked.

The following is the results of each evasion method, when tested using Virus Total:
1) Only 8 of the 10 Anti-Viruses detected the exploit.
2) Only 6 of the 10 Anti Viruses detected the exploit.
3) Only 5 of the 10 Anti-Viruses detected the exploit.
4) Only 5 of the 10 Anti-Viruses detected the exploit.
5) Only 1 (one!) of the 10 Anti-Viruses detected the exploit.

IPS/IDS vendors also wrote signatures for detecting exploitation of the VML vulnerability.
According to a post in the Bleeding Edge Snort forums: "this signature 2003106 that should detect a vml exploit is a bit too generic." .
I say the opposite! The signature is too specific. It can be easily bypassed, by using method 2 or method 4.

As you can see, evading AV/IPS/IDS signatures of web page exploits is too easy.

P.S. Randomization of any of the evasion methods (e.g. using a random VML element) can be implemented by using server side scripting.

[UPDATE:] H.D. Moore has published a new metasploit module for the VML vulnerability. This module uses evasion methods 2 and 4. It also uses an evasion technique I did not mention - Randomizing javascript variables. So, it will probably not be detected by most AV/IPS/IDS signatures.
[UPDATE2:] According to H.D. Moore, the new module is not detected by any of the current AV/IPS/IDS signatures. Virus Total test confirms this.


Monday, September 25, 2006 12:13:58 AM UTC | Comments [4] | Security#
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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.