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posted by janrinok on Friday January 14 2022, @05:22AM   Printer-friendly

Widespread, Easily Exploitable Windows RDP Bug Opens Users to Data Theft:

Most Windows versions are at risk of remote, unprivileged attackers abusing RDP from the inside to hijack smart cards and get unauthorized file system access.

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) pipes have a security bug that could allow any standard, unprivileged Joe-Schmoe user to access other connected users' machines. If exploited, it could lead to data-privacy issues, lateral movement and privilege escalation, researchers warned.

Insider attackers could, for instance, view and modify other people's clipboard data, or impersonate other logged-in users using smart cards.

The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2022-21893, wasn't ballyhooed amid yesterday's crowded mega-dump of Patch Tuesday security updates, but it's more than worthy of scrutiny, according to a Tuesday report from CyberArk, which discovered the bug lurking in Windows Remote Desktop Services.

What's more, it's a widespread issue. The bug dates back at least to Windows Server 2012 R2, CyberArk software architect and security champion Gabriel Sztejnworcel wrote, leading the firm to conclude that the latest versions of Windows – including client and server editions – are affected.

"We can say that the majority of Windows versions in use today are affected," he confirmed. It's also easy to exploit. Microsoft said that an exploit of the vulnerability would be of low complexity[,] leading to a CVSS criticality rating of 7.7 out of 10, making it "important" in severity.

[...] As remote work has surged, cybercriminals have taken note of the increased adoption of RDP – not hard to do, given that a simple Shodan search reveals thousands of vulnerable servers reachable via the internet, along with millions of exposed RDP ports. In fact, between Q1 and Q4 2020, attacks against RDP surged by 768 percent, Dunn noted, while an October 2020 report published by Kroll identified that 47 percent of ransomware attacks were preceded by RDP compromise.

Bud Broomhead, CEO at Viakoo, observed that RDP vulnerabilities "enable some of the worst cyber-criminal activities, including planting of deepfakes, data exfiltration, and spoofing of identity and credentials."

He told Threatpost on Wednesday that while RDP is required for normal system maintenance, it can't be left to run on its lonesome. "Additional defenses like establishing a zero-trust framework and having an automated method of quickly implementing firmware fixes are needed to ensure RDP is used safely," he said via email.

Do you ever take any practical action when you see these warnings, or do you just trust your distro to issue updated software?


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Friday January 14 2022, @02:32PM (5 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 14 2022, @02:32PM (#1212669) Homepage Journal

    He told Threatpost on Wednesday that while RDP is required for normal system maintenance,

    Uhhh, excuse me? Required for normal system maintenance? Nonsense. RDP is one of the things I disable immediately after a new installation of Windows. "Normal" maintenance is not affected, in the slightest. "Remote" mainenance is inhibited - and that is the whole point of disabling the service. I don't need or want remote maintenance and/or administration. Which means, unless you are in a corporate environment, and the IT people insist on remote administration, it is safe to turn off RDP. To be clear, Remote Desktop Protocol is a backdoor exploit into your machine. If, and only if, your employer requires it should it ever be turned on.

    Why can't anyone be honest about all that nonsense? Threatpost is supposed to be concerned about security? They they should clearly state that the average user should simply disable the service.

    --
    There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14 2022, @03:52PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14 2022, @03:52PM (#1212682)

    That post reads so much better in the voice of Miss Emily Litella.

    Never mind.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14 2022, @05:33PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14 2022, @05:33PM (#1212704)

    At my workspace, we have a locked down Windows desktop (corporate policy). But as a Linux admin I also have a Linux desktop I can do with as I please (not corporate policy). I have to use the Windows desktop for some applications that won't work from Linux. Mostly time tracking and sharepoint. For this I use RDP from my Linux desktop. Soon our physical Windows desktop will move to a virtual desktop. I'm already using a virtual Windows desktop via RDP. It's exactly the same as my physical desktop, only faster. In the near future my physical Windows desktop will be removed and all I'll have is RDP to a virtual Windows desktop to do my work. I have no control over the WIndows environment to install alternatives. To be honest, it's a wonder they allow RDP at all, but I suspect many in the company have a need to remote into their desktops.

    So ya, RDP "IS" required fro normal system maintenance. Pretending otherwise ignores the realities of remote work.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday January 14 2022, @10:41PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 14 2022, @10:41PM (#1212789) Homepage Journal

      Hmmmm. I said

      unless you are in a corporate environment, and the IT people insist on remote administration

      Then you said

      At my workspace, we have a locked down Windows desktop (corporate policy)

      We seem to be at odds here about what an "average user" is. To me, "average user" would be a private citizen, using his own privately owned hardware, to do as he damned well pleases, without any corporate guidance or intervention. You, on the other hand, are representing a completely different group of users, commonly known as "Enterprise".

      --
      There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Subsentient on Friday January 14 2022, @10:07PM

    by Subsentient (1111) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 14 2022, @10:07PM (#1212783) Homepage Journal

    I don't deal with Windows shit, period. All my systems are Linux or at least BSD, and even when I do need to talk to Windows, I use the same tool I use everywhere else -- ssh. If I need another tool, I'll tunnel it through ssh, but not open a port to a different service.

    --
    "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • (Score: 2) by Ingar on Saturday January 15 2022, @11:44AM

    by Ingar (801) on Saturday January 15 2022, @11:44AM (#1212895) Homepage

    Remote sessions are disabled by default on a new Windows installation. Remote Assistance is enabled though.

    Any sufficiently large IT environment is using some form of remote desktop solution these days.
    If they don't use one for security reasons, I usually make an offer for an on-site intervention.
    People quickly change their minds when confronted with the real costs of security.

    The average user doesn't install windows, the average user doesn't manage services. The average user doesn't care.