Microsoft: Windows 10 Devices Open To ‘Full Compromise’ From Huawei PC Driver

According to ZDNet, researchers at Microsoft have discovered a buggy Huawei utility that could have given attackers a cheap way to undermine the security of the Windows kernel. From the report: Microsoft has now detailed how it found a severe local privilege escalation flaw in the Huawei PCManager driver software for its MateBook line of Windows 10 laptops. Thanks to Microsoft’s work, the Chinese tech giant patched the flaw in January. As Microsoft researchers explain, third-party kernel drivers are becoming more attractive to attackers as a side-door to attacking the kernel without having to overcome its protections using an expensive zero-day kernel exploit in Windows. The flaw in Huawei’s software was detected by new kernel sensors that were implemented in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, aka version 1809.

The kernel sensors are meant to address the difficulty of detecting malicious code running in the kernel and are designed to detect user-space asynchronous procedure call (APC) code injection from the kernel. Microsoft Defender ATP anti-malware uses these sensors to detect actions caused by kernel code that may inject code into user-mode. Huawei’s PCManager triggered Defender ATP alerts on multiple Windows 10 devices, prompting Microsoft to launch an investigation. […] The investigation led the researcher to the executable MateBookService.exe. Due to a flaw in Huawei’s ‘watchdog’ mechanism for HwOs2Ec10x64.sys, an attacker is able to create a malicious instance of MateBookService.exe to gain elevated privileges. The flaw can be used to make code running with low privileges read and write to other processes or to kernel space, leading to a “full machine compromise.”

Long-time Slashdot reader shanen writes: Though the story features Huawei, there doesn’t seem to be anything specific to that company there. Just innuendo that you can’t trust Chinese companies, eh? “Don’t throw your computer into that Chinese briar patch!” Anyway, the sordid reality is that Microsoft is the root of all evils in the Windows platform. If increasing security had been half as important as maximizing profits, then we’d be in a much better world today. All complicated software is buggy, but adding complexity for no good reason is just begging for more problems. Here’s a crazy solution approach: Any OS feature that isn’t used by a LARGE majority of the users should be REMOVED from the OS. Maybe that isn’t strong enough. Maybe the OS should be strictly limited to what absolutely needs to be there. Guard those eggs carefully!