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Dell SupportAssist vulnerability could leave millions of PCs open to exploits

Dell SupportAssist vulnerability could leave millions of PCs open to exploits

Best make sure your Dell machines have the latest patches DELL IS WARNING its customers to update their PCs and laptops to patch a critical vulnerability that could leave sensitive information exposed to hackers. The flaw, according to Dell’s advisory, sits in a system health-check utility tool that comes bundled in with millions of Dell machines,

Dell SupportAssist vulnerability could leave millions of PCs open to exploits

Best make sure your Dell machines have the latest patches

DELL IS WARNING its customers to update their PCs and laptops to patch a critical vulnerability that could leave sensitive information exposed to hackers.

The flaw, according to Dell’s advisory, sits in a system health-check utility tool that comes bundled in with millions of Dell machines, and if left unpatched could result in privilege escalation vulnerabilities being available for cyber crims to exploit.

Discovered by security company SafeBreach, the vulnerability labelled as CVE-2019-12280, could allow an attacker to create malicious dynamic link libraries (DLLs) to substitute legit DLLs that get loaded up from user-controlled folders by tools like Dell’s SupportAssist tool when a machine boots up.

Those dodgy DLLs can then be used to inject code into programs and effectively lead to a hacker gaining control over a targeted system through privilege escalation.

Dell told us that it hasn’t spotted the vulnerability being exploited out in the wild and that 90 per cent of its customers have received the update to the SupportAssist tool, the thus the risk of attacks have been pretty well mitigated.

But there’s a plot twist here. The vulnerability stems from a third-party component that ships with Dell’s SupportAssist and was created by PC Doctor, a provider of diagnostic and customer support services based out of Nevada in the US of A.

That means the vulnerability lies in PC Doctor’s software components, which just so happened to be used by a suite of other hardware providers for Windows machines, including the Corsair Diagnostics tool, the Tobii Dynavox Diagnostic Tool, and PC-Doctor Toolbox for Windows.

As such, that means a whole load more non-Dell machines might be vulnerable to the vulnerability as well; PC Doctor’s website claims “leading computer makers have pre-installed over 100 million copies of PC-Doctor for Windows on computer systems worldwide”.

All this means there’s a massive amount of potentially vulnerable PCs and laptops out there that could present ripe targets of hacker types.

If your computer happens to be running such a tool, then we suggest you make sure to look out for the latest updates or purge it from your machine until you know for sure that vulnerability has been fixed. µ

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Susan E. Lopez
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