iDEFENSE Security Advisory 04.18.05: McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005 Insecure File Permission Vulnerability

From: iDEFENSE Labs (
Date: 04/19/05

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    Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2005 18:08:20 -0400
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    McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005 Insecure File Permission

    iDEFENSE Security Advisory 04.18.05
    April 18, 2005


    McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005 is a product used to protect a
    personal computer from virus infections, and additionally provides
    firewall and privacy control functionality.


    Local exploitation of an insecure permission vulnerability in McAfee
    Internet Security Suite 2005 allows attackers to escalate
    non-Administrator privileges or disable protection.

    The vulnerability specifically exists in the default file Access Control
    List (ACL) settings that are applied during installation. When an
    administrator installs McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005, the default
    ACL allows non-Administrator users to modify the installed files.
    Because of the fact that some of the programs run as system services, a
    non-Administrator user can simply replace an installed McAfee Internet
    Security Suite 2005 file with their own malicious code that will later
    be executed with system privileges.


    Successful exploitation allows local attackers to escalate privileges to

    the system level. It is also possible to use this vulnerability to
    simply disable protection by moving all of the executable files so that
    they cannot start upon a reboot.


    iDEFENSE has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in McAfee
    Internet Security Suite 2005. It is suspected earlier versions are also


    Apply proper Access Control List settings to the directory that McAfee
    Internet Security Suite 2005 is installed in. The ACL rules should make
    sure that no regular users can modify files in the directory.


    "McAfee has acknowledged this issue and is providing automated fixes for
    registered users. This issue affects an extremely small subset of the
    McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005 user base as the vast majority of
    home users do not use non-Administrator Windows accounts.

    Registered McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005 users should have
    automatically downloaded and installed high-priority McAfee security
    software updates by default, and now have fixes for this vulnerability
    installed on their computers.

    To manually check for updates, users can right-click the McAfee system
    tray icon (white M on red background) and select 'Updates'. In the
    resulting dialogue box, they should click 'Check Now' to check the
    server for updates. The user will be walked through the update process
    or be notified that all software is up to date. If a user has not yet
    registered, a registration web page or the registration wizard will
    pop-up, guiding the user through the update process.

    McAfee's key priority is the security of our customers. In the event
    that a vulnerability is found within any of McAfee's software, we have a
    strong process in place to work closely with the relevant security
    research group to ensure the rapid and effective development of a fix
    and communication plan."


    The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
    names CAN-2005-1107 to these issues. This is a candidate for inclusion
    in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
    security problems.


    02/04/2005 Initial vendor notification
    02/07/2005 Initial vendor response
    04/18/2005 Coordinated public disclosure


    The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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    Copyright (c) 2005 iDEFENSE, Inc.

    Permission is granted for the redistribution of this alert
    electronically. It may not be edited in any way without the express
    written consent of iDEFENSE. If you wish to reprint the whole or any
    part of this alert in any other medium other than electronically, please
    email for permission.

    Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate
    at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use
    of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition.
    There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the
    author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect,
    or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on,
    this information.

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