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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?