Vulnerability turns McAfee's anti-malware solution into open relay

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jan 19, 2012

Flaw allows for spam to be sent through customers' PCs.

A vulnerability discovered in McAfee's SaaS for Total Protection, the company's hosted anti-malware solution, effectively turns a customer's machine into an open relay, allowing others to send spam through it.

Open relays allow anyone to send mail through a machine to any recipient - thus making them ideal tools for spammers. Because of email's store-and-forward principle, open relays were common during the very early days of the Internet. However, the rise of spam quickly prompted almost all administrators to turn off their open relays - and where they do still exist, they are usually the result of a misconfiguration.

The vulnerability in McAfee's software could potentially allow attackers to connect to customers' machines using TCP port 6515 and then use the machine to send spam. This in turn could lead to the machine being considered part of a botnet. Of course, this has caused serious embarrassment for McAfee - not least because anti-malware solutions are supposed to prevent this from happening.

McAfee has released a patch which will instruct the software not to respond to most port 6515 requests. The patch will be posted through updates.

More at McAfee's blog here, which also mentions another vulnerability in an ActiveX control which can be used to execute arbitrary code. ZDNet's take on the story is here.

Posted on 19 January 2012 by Virus Bulletin

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