Today we had a peek inside an exploit kit known as the Zombie Infection Kit. This kit is not as widely used as some of the more popular kits such as Eleonore and Phoenix and compared to these other kits, Zombie is not really that sophisticated. However it does carry the usual range of exploits that have been effectively used in many other exploit tool kits. Potential victims are forced to visit Zombie’s exploit page when their browser loads an IFrame placed on a compromised website. All of the vulnerabilities exploited by this kit have been patched by the vendors concerned.
As well as exploiting an old vulnerability in IE 6 and the recent Windows help center vulnerability, the Zombie Infection Kit also uses exploits targeting two Java vulnerabilities, four vulnerabilities in Adobe PDF readers and two vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash.
According to the exploit statistics page in the admin control panel, the two most successful vulnerabilities are in Oracle’s Java, accounting for just over 60 percent of successful infections between them. Following closely behind the Java vulnerabilities is ‘PDF’ which is actually a PDF file containing exploits for four Adobe PDF vulnerabilities; the most recent of which (CVE-2009-4324) has been patched since December 2009.
Another stats page shows a breakdown of victims by browser type, showing the percentage of successful installs for each browser.
This table isn’t really indicative of how secure each browser is, as only Internet Explorer is targeted for browser specific vulnerabilities whereas all browsers are used to target vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and PDF readers, and Java.
What this does show is that 15 percent (15.39 in the top row of the browser stats image, above) of ‘visitors’ were successfully exploited by the Zombie Infection Kit and made to download a malicious executable. Because Java vulnerabilities accounted for 60 percent of infections, a surprising nine percent of all visitors were infected just by having an old version of java installed.
Java exploits are becoming increasingly useful for web attackers, as many people don’t even know that Java is installed on their machines, or that it may need to be updated. What is worse is that it is possible to have multiple versions of Java installed on a machine so you can still be vulnerable even after you install the latest version, giving you a false sense of security.
We strongly recommend users uninstall Java if they don’t use it, or remove old versions and upgrade to the latest version just released by Oracle which fixes 29 flaws in the previous version for which exploits have recently been published.