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iDEFENSE Security Advisory 04.18.05: McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005 Insecure File Permission Vulnerability

McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005 Insecure File Permission

iDEFENSE Security Advisory 04.18.05
April 18, 2005


McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005 is a product used to protect a
personal computer from virus infections, and additionally provides
firewall and privacy control functionality.


Local exploitation of an insecure permission vulnerability in McAfee
Internet Security Suite 2005 allows attackers to escalate
non-Administrator privileges or disable protection.

The vulnerability specifically exists in the default file Access Control
List (ACL) settings that are applied during installation. When an 
administrator installs McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005, the default 
ACL allows non-Administrator users to modify the installed files.
Because of the fact that some of the programs run as system services, a
non-Administrator user can simply replace an installed McAfee Internet
Security Suite 2005 file with their own malicious code that will later
be executed with system privileges.


Successful exploitation allows local attackers to escalate privileges to

the system level. It is also possible to use this vulnerability to 
simply disable protection by moving all of the executable files so that 
they cannot start upon a reboot.


iDEFENSE has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in McAfee 
Internet Security Suite 2005. It is suspected earlier versions are also 


Apply proper Access Control List settings to the directory that McAfee 
Internet Security Suite 2005 is installed in. The ACL rules should make 
sure that no regular users can modify files in the directory.


"McAfee has acknowledged this issue and is providing automated fixes for
registered users.  This issue affects an extremely small subset of the
McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005 user base as the vast majority of
home users do not use non-Administrator Windows accounts.

Registered McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005 users should have
automatically downloaded and installed high-priority McAfee security
software updates by default, and now have fixes for this vulnerability
installed on their computers.

To manually check for updates, users can right-click the McAfee system
tray icon (white M on red background) and select 'Updates'. In the
resulting dialogue box, they should click 'Check Now' to check the
server for updates.  The user will be walked through the update process
or be notified that all software is up to date.  If a user has not yet
registered, a registration web page or the registration wizard will
pop-up, guiding the user through the update process.

McAfee's key priority is the security of our customers.  In the event
that a vulnerability is found within any of McAfee's software, we have a
strong process in place to work closely with the relevant security
research group to ensure the rapid and effective development of a fix
and communication plan."


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
names CAN-2005-1107 to these issues. This is a candidate for inclusion
in the CVE list (http://cve.mitre.org), which standardizes names for
security problems.


02/04/2005 Initial vendor notification
02/07/2005 Initial vendor response
04/18/2005 Coordinated public disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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Copyright (c) 2005 iDEFENSE, Inc.

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Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate
at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use
of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition.
There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the
author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect,
or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on,
this information.