Trend Micro flaw could have allowed attacker to steal all passwords

Trend has patched that problem and another remote execution flaw

A discovery by a well-known Google security researcher provides further proof how antivirus programs designed to shield computers from attacks can sometimes provide a doorway for hackers.

Tavis Ormandy, an information security engineer with Google, wrote he found bugs in Trend Micro's antivirus product that could allow remote code execution by any website and steal all of a users' passwords.

The security firm has confirmed it has released an automatic update that fixes the problems.

"As part of our standard vulnerability response process we worked with him to identify and address the vulnerability," wrote Christopher Budd, global threat communications manager at Trend Micro, in an email on Monday. "Customers are now getting protections through automatic updates."

Ormandy posted emails he exchanged with Trend officials, occasionally expressing his frustration that the company wasn't moving fast enough.

"So this means anyone on the internet can steal all of your passwords completely silently, as well as execute arbitrary code with zero user interaction," Ormandy wrote. "I really hope the gravity of this is clear to you, because I'm astonished about this."

Trend's antivirus product has a password manager, and users can elect to export their passwords to it. The password manager is written in JavaScript and opens up multiple HTTP remote procedure call ports to handle API requests, Ormandy wrote.

In 30 seconds, Ormandy wrote he found one that would accept remote code. He also found an API that allowed him to access passwords stored in the manager.

Overall, Ormandy wrote that he found over 70 APIs exposed to the Internet, not all of which he had investigated for security issues. He suggested Trend should hire an external consultancy to audit the code.

Antivirus applications run with high-level privileges on operating systems, which means that exploiting a vulnerability can give an attacker deep access to a computer.

Dozens of serious vulnerabilities have been found in the last seven months in antivirus products from vendors including Kaspersky Lab, ESET, Avast, AVG Technologies, Intel Security (formerly McAfee) and Malwarebytes.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?