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Absolute Pwnage: A Short Paper about the Security Risks of Remote Administration Tools

  • Jay Novak
  • Jonathan Stribley
  • Kenneth Meagher
  • J. Alex Halderman
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7035)

Abstract

Many IT departments use remote administration products to configure, monitor, and maintain the systems they manage. These tools can be beneficial in the right hands, but they can also be devastating if attackers exploit them to seize control of machines. As a case study, we analyze the security of a remote administration product called Absolute Manage. We find that the system’s communication protocol suffers from serious design flaws and fails to provide adequate integrity, confidentiality, or authentication. Attackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to issue unauthorized commands on client systems and execute arbitrary code with administrator privileges. These blatant vulnerabilities suggest that remote administration tools require increased scrutiny from the security community. We recommend that developers adopt defensive designs that limit the damage attackers can cause if they gain control.

Keywords

Security Risk Fast Software Encryption Arbitrary Code USENIX Security Symposium Heartbeat Message 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jay Novak
    • 1
  • Jonathan Stribley
    • 1
  • Kenneth Meagher
    • 1
  • J. Alex Halderman
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of MichiganUS

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