Menu
Lenovo patches serious vulnerabilities in PC system update tool

Lenovo patches serious vulnerabilities in PC system update tool

The vulnerabilities could allow attackers with access to limited user accounts to gain administrator privileges

For the third time in less than six months security issues have forced Lenovo to update one of the tools preloaded on its PCs.

Last week, the company released version 5.07.0019 of Lenovo System Update, a tool that helps users keep their computers' drivers and BIOS up to date and which was previously called ThinkVantage System Update. The new version fixes two local privilege escalation vulnerabilities discovered by researchers from security firm IOActive.

One of the vulnerabilities is located in the tool's help system and allows users with limited Windows accounts to start an instance of Internet Explorer with administrator privileges by clicking on URLs in help pages. That's because Lenovo System Update itself runs under a temporary administrator account that the application creates when installed, so any process it spawns will run under the same account.

"From there, an unprivileged attacker has many ways to exploit the web browser instance running under Administrator privileges to elevate his or her own privileges to Administrator or SYSTEM," IOActive security researcher Sofiane Talmat said in a blog post Wednesday.

The second vulnerability is also related to the temporary administrator account and particularly to the way in which its name and password are generated.

The username follows the pattern tvsu_tmp_xxxxxXXXXX, where each lowercase x is a randomly generated lower case letter and each uppercase X is a randomly generated uppercase letter. However, the function that's supposed to randomly choose the letters is tied to the current time, making its output predictable.

"It is possible for an attacker to regenerate the same username based on the time the account was created," Talmat said.

The password generation function uses two methods, a secure one and a fallback one that's also predictable. This means that in certain situations an attacker could guess both the username and password and gain administrative privileges.

Lenovo System Update received two other security patches this year: one in July and one in October. Those updates fixed vulnerabilities that could have allowed attackers to execute commands through the application or to replace legitimate updates with malware.


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

From new extortion schemes, outside threats and rising cyber attacks, the art of securing the enterprise has seldom been so complex or challenging. With distance no longer a viable defence, Kiwi businesses are fighting to stay ahead of the security curve. In total, 28 per cent of local businesses faced a cyber attack last year, with the number in New Zealand set to rise in 2017. Yet amidst the sensationalism, media headlines and ongoing high profile breaches, confusion floods the channel, as partners seek strategic methods to combat rising sophistication from attackers. In sizing up the security spectrum, this Reseller News roundtable - in association with F5 Networks, Kaspersky Lab, Tech Data, Sophos and SonicWall - assessed where the channel sweet spot is within the New Zealand channel. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?
Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Show Comments