Weekly threat roundup: Ethereum, Razer mice, Cisco

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Patch management is far easier said than done, and security teams may often be forced into prioritising fixes for several business-critical systems, all released at once. It’s become typical, for example, to expect dozens of patches to be released on Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday, with other vendors also routinely getting in on the act.

Below, IT Pro has collated the most pressing disclosures from the last seven days, including details such as a summary of the exploit mechanism, and whether the vulnerability is being exploited in the wild. This is in order to give teams a sense of which bugs and flaws might pose the most dangerous immediate security risks.

Chain-split flaw found in the Ethereum project

The maintainers of the Ethereum blockchain project are urging Go developers who are using “go-ethereum”, also known as Geth, to apply a fix to a severe vulnerability that can cause corruption in the service.

Geth is the official Golang implementation of the Ethereum protocol. It’s currently embedded with a flaw tracked as CVE-2021-39137 that can undermine the integrity of the blockchain and potentially lead to a massive outage.

The exact attack mechanism hasn’t yet been disclosed so node operators and downstream projects have enough time to apply the update, according to Ethereum’s team lead, Péter Szilágyi. However, generally speaking, the bug can cause a chain split, meaning vulnerable Geth instances would reject canonical chains.

Razer flaw allows Windows takeover through a mouse

A security researcher has discovered a flaw that lets anyone with Razer peripherals like a USB mouse gain administrative rights on a Windows machine.

The researcher, known as Jonhat, outlined on Twitter how plugging in a Razer USB peripheral lets users gain admin privileges. This is because of a quirk in the Windows Update tool that installs and runs the Razer Synapse software as a system-level user, by default.

During the installation process, the installer asks the user to choose a directory to install Synapse. Due to the fact it’s run as a system-level user, anyone can press Shift and right-click an empty area to open PowerShell with full admin privileges. Razer later contacted the researcher and said its security team is working on a fix as soon as possible.

Cisco patches critical flaw in APIC interface for switches


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Cisco has issued a patch to fix a critical security flaw embedded in the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) interface used in its Nexus 9000 Series switches.

APIC is a centralised controller that automates network provisioning and control based on application requirements and policies.

Tracked as CVE-2021-1577 and rated 9.1 out of ten on the CVSS threat severity scale, the bug is due to improper access control, which can allow a remote attacker to upload files. The flaw can be potentially abused to read or write arbitrary files onto a vulnerable system.

Atlassian warns of a critical Confluence flaw

Atlassian has disclosed a vulnerability in its Confluence Server and Confluence Data Center products that can allow an unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code on either of the affected platforms.

Confluence is a workplace collaboration platform that allows a team to work together remotely on projects or ideas. Confluence Cloud, which is hosted on the public cloud, isn’t affected by the flaw, rather, it’s the on-premises versions of the product that are susceptible to exploitation.

The flaw is tracked as CVE-2021-26084 and is rated 9.8 out of ten on the CVSS threat severity scale. Atlassian hasn’t revealed precise exploit mechanisms, beyond describing the vulnerability as a Confluence Server Webwork OGNL injection.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.