Researchers sound alarm about bug in free antivirus scanner

A bug in Trend Micro's free online virus scanning service can be used by hackers to hijack Windows PCs running Internet Explorer.

A bug in Trend Micro's free online virus scanning service can be used by hackers to hijack Windows PCs running Internet Explorer, security researchers warned.

Attackers able to dupe users into visiting a malicious Web page could exploit a vulnerability in the custom ActiveX control that Trend Micro distributes to users of its free HouseCall service, said Danish bug tracker Secunia ASP in an alert posted Sunday.

HouseCall bills itself as a free scanning tool that checks "whether your computer has been infected by viruses, spyware, or other malware."

"The vulnerability is caused due to a use-after-free error in the HouseCall ActiveX control (Housecall_ActiveX.dll)," said Secunia's warning. "This can be exploited to dereference previously freed memory by tricking the user into opening a Web page containing a specially crafted 'notifyOnLoadNative' callback function."

Trend Micro has fixed the flaw in the ActiveX control and patched the public HouseCall servers, but it noted that the latter has not been extensively tested, and essentially waived responsibility if it turns out not to be sufficient.

"This hot fix was developed as a workaround or solution to a customer-reported problem. As such, this hot fix has received limited testing and has not been certified as an official product update," Trend Micro said in its own advisory, published last Thursday. "Consequently, this hot fix is provided 'as is'. Trend Micro makes no warranty or promise about the operation or performance of this hot fix nor does it warrant that this hot fix is error free."

Users running Microsoft's Internet Explorer -- the only browser that requires the ActiveX control -- should run Version 6.6 of the service, rather than the older HouseCall 6.5, said Secunia.

Companies running HouseCall Server in-house should request the HouseCall 6.6 Hot Fix Build 1285 update through their normal support channels, Trend Micro advised.

Secunia rated the vulnerability as "highly critical," the second-highest ranking in its five-step scoring system.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags antivirustrend micro

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Budget

TerraCycle Zero Waste Box Pens and Markers Small

Learn more >

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?