Security Market Segment LS
Wednesday, 25 September 2019 19:25

Unknown dev posts zero-day exploit for vBulletin forum software Featured

Unknown dev posts zero-day exploit for vBulletin forum software Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

An unknown developer has published details of a zero-day exploit in the popular vBulletin forum software on the Full Disclosure mailing list, raising fears that there may be a spate of attacks across the Internet.

Though vBulletin, which is written in PHP, is proprietary software, it is extremely popular and is widely used, counting Sony Pictures, the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans. Steam, EA, NASA and Zynga among its more than 100,000 users.

The zero-day permits a user who does not have an account on a given forum to run shell commands on a server that is running vBulletin.

The attacker can use an HTTP POST request to execute commands without having to authenticate.

The exploit is written in Python and is less than 20 lines of code.

A researcher who goes by the handle @notdan pointed to what he termed a "tentative patch" posted by another researcher who goes by the name Nick.

iTWire has contacted vBulletin for comment.

Commenting on the exploit, Gavin Millard, the vice-president of Intelligence at security firm Tenable, said: "Given that this vBulletin flaw offers remote code execution, and that it can be paired with the ability to leverage Shodan [the Internet search tool] to find potential targets, makes it critically important that security professionals take action.

"With just a few taps of the keyboard anyone could take a small piece of code, gather the IP addresses of hundreds of vulnerable systems, and automatically exploit them.

"Pair that with the fact that, post exploitation, you can run any command against the compromised device and we could easily see mass attacks on sites running this ubiquitous news forum software.

"Organisations and hobbyists should drop everything to verify what version of vBulletin they are running and if affected, and until a patch is available, I would take the unprecedented move to take the system offline. It really is that bad."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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