• What happens when third-party patches are ignored

    05 Dec 2011

    The majority of people I speak with claim they have no means for patching third-party software. As Kelly Jackson Higgins mentions in her recent Dark Reading blog post regarding the rash of Java exploitations, when third-party software goes unmanaged, bad things can happen.

    It’s great that Metasploit has a a module for Java exploitation – something that’ll not only benefit me in my security assessments but will also help bring to light what can happen in any given enterprise. But you know as well as I do that criminal hackers will use it for ill-gotten gains.

    In my work, I certainly don’t see what HD Moore was quoted as saying in the Dark Reading piece regarding most enterprises not allowing admin privileges on desktops. Between my clients and the people in at my speaking engagements, maybe 5-10% of businesses have their desktops truly locked down. I will agree with the reality that Java is pervasive across any given business. In fact, I had to install Java on a system yesterday and believe the following screenshots underscore the issue:

    Given such proclamations, where do you think the bad guys are going to focus their efforts?

    Another funny thing about Java is what Microsoft recently documented in its 2011 Security Intelligence Report. Microsoft found that Java exploits make up to 50% of all exploits. Wow. Another side note from this report that I found interesting is that 0.1% of attacks are related to the sky is falling zero-day exploits that so many people (especially vendors) are claiming to be a huge problem.

    Bottom line: as I talked about this piece – unless and until you get your arms around third-party patches, you’re going to continue to be vulnerable, especially given how simple Metasploit is to use.