Woburn, MA – January 22, 2018 – According to Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT researchers, a variety of serious vulnerabilities have been identified in the Hardware Against Software Piracy (HASP) license management system of popular license management software used in corporate and ICS environments to activate software on PCs and servers. If these vulnerabilities are left unpatched, the popular license management USB-token can be used to open a hidden remote access channel for cyberattackers.
Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT researchers have identified 14 vulnerabilities in a component of the software solution, including multiple denial-of-service (DoS) vulnerabilities and several RCEs (remote execution of arbitrary code) which, for instance, are automatically exploited not with user rights, but with the most privileged system rights. This provides attackers with an opportunity to execute any arbitrary codes. All identified vulnerabilities can be potentially very dangerous and result in major losses for businesses.
The USB-tokens in question are widely used in different organizations to serve the purpose of convenient software license activation. In normal use case scenarios, a company’s system administrator would need to approach the computer with the software that needs to be activated and insert the token. It will then confirm that the software of interest is legitimate (not pirated) and would activate it.
Once the token is attached to a PC or a server for the first time, Windows OS downloads the software driver from the vendor’s servers in order to make the token hardware work properly with the computer hardware. In other cases, the driver comes installed with third party software which uses the aforementioned system for license protection. Our experts have found that, upon installation, this software adds port 1947 of the computer to the list of exclusions of the Windows Firewall with no proper user notification, which makes it vulnerable to a remote attack. An attacker would only need to scan the targeted network for open port 1947 in order to identify any remotely available computers.
More importantly, the port remains open after the token has been detached, which is why even in a patched and protected corporate environment, an attacker would only need to install software using the HASP solution, or attach the token to a PC once (even a locked one) in order to make it available for remote attacks.
Although the number of systems affected by the vulnerability is uncertain, due to the popularity of the software, it may amount to hundreds of thousands of users worldwide. All of the research has been reported to the vendor. All discovered vulnerabilities received the following CVE numbers:
- CVE-2017-11496 – Remote Code Execution
- CVE-2017-11497 – Remote Code Execution
- CVE-2017-11498 – Denial of Service
- CVE-2017-12818 – Denial of Service
- CVE-2017-12819 – NTLM hash capturing
- CVE-2017-12820 – Denial of Service
- CVE-2017-12821 – Remote Code Execution
- CVE-2017- 12822 – Remote manipulations with configuration files
“Given how popular this license management system is, the possible scale of the consequences of these vulnerabilities going unpatched is very large,” said Vladimir Dashchenko, head of vulnerability research group, Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT. “Since these tokens are not only used in regular corporate environments, but also in critical facilities with strict remote access rules, the vulnerabilities we discovered could be putting thousands of critical networks in danger.”
Upon discovery, Kaspersky Lab reported these vulnerabilities to the affected software vendors and the companies subsequently released security patches.
Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT strongly recommends that corporate and ICS organizations using the affected products do the following:
- Install the latest (secure) version of the driver as soon as possible, or contact the vendor for instructions on updating the driver.
- As long as it does not interfere with business processes, close port 1947, at least on the external firewall (on the network perimeter).
You can read more about these vulnerabilities in the blog post on the Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT website here.