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Critical Security Flaw in Lotus Notes Compromises Unprotected Computers

An investigator has detected a serious flaw in IBM's Lotus Notes that could be used by hackers to prompt a buffer overflow and hack into a target's computer from a remote terminal.

The vulnerability exists in the Autonomy KeyView program utilized by Lotus Notes to run Lotus 1-2-3 files. Investigators of Core Security discovered that if they opened a particularly created Lotus 1-2-3 message attachment in Lotus Notes, then they could execute illegal software on the personal computer.

The detected bugs infect the 7.x and 8.x variants of Lotus Notes. Some other variants might also become infected.

Core Security's Research Engineer and Exploit Scripter Sebastián Muñiz is acknowledged as the finder of this flaw.

Core released an alert wherein Muniz observed that successful victimization involves user interface, however, anybody could be effortlessly duped with a plain .jpg or .gif file, as reported on November 27, 2007 by SearchSecurity.

Even though these particular flaws lie on the share of a third-party, the difficulty is heightened by the method in which Lotus Notes exhibits details about the attachments, making it simpler to evoke unwitting help from the end-users in order to use them, Sebastián added.

Though information about the error hasn't been released so far, and is yet to be acquired by cyber criminals, it would be very easy for a resolute hacker to script a program that targeted the bug, alleged Core's Chief Technology Officer, Ivan Arce, as reported by PCWorld on November 27, 2007. Since several corresponding KeyView flaws have already been detected in 2007, thus, test exploits for the same kind of bugs can be readily discovered.

He told that earlier also, similar bugs were released for the identical software development kit so that anybody monitoring it could author an exploit in no time.

The flaw was labeled "serious" by FrSIRT (French Security Incident Response Team), as it could be attacked both locally and remotely. The Danish flaw tracker Secunia rated the risk "extremely serious" in its alert.

IBM and Core Security, both give guidelines for solving the problem in their security bulletins. Infected system administrators can get in touch with IBM to obtain an update to be incorporated in the next Lotus Notes minor release. Or else, both firms also provide instructions for disenabling the file viewer.

Related article: Critical Infrastructure Flaw Vulnerable to Hacking

» SPAMfighter News - 12/11/2007

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