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Newly discovered supply chain attack vector on commonly-used open-source hardware diagnostics systems could expose users to a major security risk.
SafeBreach, the leader in Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS), today announced that its SafeBreach Labs research team had discovered a critical security vulnerability in Open Hardware Monitor, a free open source software program that monitors temperature sensors, fan speeds, voltages, load and clock speeds of a computer. Tens of millions of computers use Open Hardware Monitor as part of monitoring systems, including HP Touchpoint Analytics. The critical vulnerability was the second of its type found by SafeBreach Labs during the past four months. Previously, SafeBreach Labs discovered a vulnerability in PC-Doctor, a monitoring and diagnostics packaged licensed to Dell and other major OEMs, that is run on hundreds of millions of systems. Both offer attackers the capability to take over machines and read and write to device memory, among the most serious types of security risks.
“These types of vulnerabilities are alarming because they indicate the ease with which malicious hackers could mount supply-chain attacks targeting and breaching highly trusted elements of our software ecosystem,” says Itzik Kotler, CTO and Co-Founder at SafeBreach. “And this should be a clear signal to security teams that they need to increase their frequency of testing and analysis of their security envelope in order to match the pace of criminals who are constantly innovating ways to hack into the most vulnerable parts of IT systems.”
HP TouchPoint Analytics ships as a default monitoring component of most HP Windows laptops and desktops. HP patched the vulnerability but SafeBreach researchers believe that any machine using the Open Hardware Library was at risk.
A number of potential attacks could result from exploiting this vulnerability giving attackers the ability to load and execute malicious payloads using a signed service, effectively whitelisting those applications. This capability for “Application Whitelisting Bypass” and “Signature Validation Bypassing” might be abused by an attacker for different purposes such as execution and evasion, to name two. Using Open Hardware Monitor’s driver, which has the highest level of privileges in the operating system, an attacker can exploit this vulnerability and will be able to read and write to hardware memory.
This is only the latest instance of supply-chain attack vectors, which are among the most dangerous because they compromise trusted components and allow for attackers to go months or years unnoticed enjoying privileged access to devices and systems without being discovered. SafeBreach Labs filed a vulnerability report and has added this instance to its industry-leading Hacker’s Playbook, the largest compendium of attack types. The Hacker’s Playbook contains over 7,000 breach methods, all generated in programmatically addressable formats that are accessible via API. This research is part of SafeBreach’s ongoing efforts to continuously test the most critical assets in the software supply chain for vulnerabilities and weaknesses to further the broader goal of enhanced cybersecurity for all.