EMET security tool updated to prevent VBScript God Mode attacks

Microsoft was forced to release EMET 5.2 again because customers experienced issues with the first variant

Microsoft updated its Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET), a free exploit prevention tool, to protect against attacks that attempt to bypass Internet Explorer's sandbox using VBScript.

Microsoft first released EMET 5.2 last week, but re-released it Monday to fix issues that some customers experienced when running the tool in conjunction with Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1.

The new version offers protection against so-called VBScript God Mode attacks, which rely on a method documented last year that can bypass anti-exploitation mechanisms like Data Execution Prevention (DEP), Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) and Control-Flow Integrity (CFI).

According to a Microsoft blog post, the VBScript God Mode technique was observed in recent attacks.

In the new version, the DLL files injected by EMET into applications that the tool is configured to protect have been compiled with Control Flow Guard (CFG), a new feature supported on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 that detects code hijacking attempts.

This new security technology was introduced in Visual Studio 2015 and Microsoft strongly encourages third-party software developers to use it in their own programs.

The new EMET 5.2 version also supports alerting and reporting from Modern Internet Explorer, or Desktop IE, when run with Enhanced Protected Mode enabled.

EMET is a popular tool in enterprise environments because it allows companies to protect their end-point systems from software exploits even before vulnerabilities are patched. The tool can force various memory protections like DEP, ASLR and 12 others, on programs that lack them by default.

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Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
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