mcafee

  • Posted on by Wladimir Palant

    A while back I wrote about a bunch of vulnerabilities in McAfee WebAdvisor, a component of McAfee antivirus products which is also available as a stand-alone application. Part of the fix was adding a bunch of pages to the extension which were previously hosted on siteadvisor.com, generally a good move. However, when I looked closely I noticed a Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability in one of these pages (CVE-2019-3670).

    Now an XSS vulnerability in a browser extension is usually very hard to exploit thanks to security mechanisms like Content Security Policy and sandboxing. These mechanisms were intact for McAfee WebAdvisor and I didn’t manage to circumvent them. Yet I still ended up with a proof of concept that demonstrated how attackers could gain local administrator privileges through this vulnerability, something that came as a huge surprise to me as well.

    McAfee WebAdvisor shattered like glass

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  • Posted on by Wladimir Palant

    Now that I’m done with Kaspersky, it’s time to look at some other antivirus software. Our guest today is McAfee Total Protection 16.0. Let’s say this up front: it’s nowhere near the mess we’ve seen with Kaspersky. It doesn’t break up your encrypted connections, and the web protection component is limited to the McAfee WebAdvisor browser extension. So the attack surface is quite manageable here. The extension also uses native messaging to communicate with the application, so we won’t see websites taking over this communication channel.

    Of course, browser extensions claiming to protect you from online threats have some rather big shoes to fill. They have to be better than the browser’s built-in malware and phishing protection, not an easy task. In fact, McAfee WebAdvisor “blocks” malicious websites after they already started loading, this being not quite optimal but rather typical for this kind of extension. I also found three issues in the way McAfee WebAdvisor 6.0 was implemented which made its protection far less reliable than it should be.

    Rusty WebAdvisor shield

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