CVE-2018-8174 (Double Kill): Zero day vulnerability in Internet Explorer Scripting Engine

Zero day attack description : In 2018, a critical vulnerability known as CVE-2018-8174, commonly referred to as Double Kill, shook the cybersecurity landscape by targeting the Internet Explorer (IE) scripting engine. This vulnerability opened the door for attackers to execute arbitrary code and gain control over a victim’s system. In this article, we delve into the technical intricacies of Double Kill, explore its potential impact, and discuss the importance of applying patches and adopting secure browsing practices.

CVE-2018-8174, dubbed Double Kill, was a remote code execution vulnerability that affected various versions of Internet Explorer, including IE 11. The vulnerability resided in the way IE’s scripting engine processed objects in memory, specifically related to the handling of VBScript and JScript. By enticing a user to visit a malicious website or open a crafted Office document, an attacker could exploit this flaw and execute arbitrary code on the victim’s system.

Double Kill exploited a flaw in the way IE’s scripting engine accessed and manipulated objects in memory, leading to memory corruption. This provided an avenue for attackers to achieve remote code execution and take control of the affected system.

  1. Malicious Website or Document: The attack vector for Double Kill primarily relied on enticing users to visit a compromised website or open a specially crafted Office document. Once the user accessed the malicious content, the scripting engine vulnerability was triggered, allowing the attacker to execute arbitrary code.
  2. Code Execution: Upon successful exploitation, the attacker could execute arbitrary code within the context of the victim’s user account. This code could carry out various malicious activities, such as installing malware, stealing sensitive data, or gaining unauthorized access to the victim’s system.

Impact :

Double Kill posed significant risks to users of Internet Explorer and potentially affected systems:

  1. System Compromise: Successful exploitation of Double Kill could result in complete system compromise, granting attackers control over the victim’s computer. This could lead to data theft, unauthorized access, or the installation of additional malware.
  2. Spread of Malware: Once a system was compromised, attackers could leverage it to spread malware to other vulnerable systems within the same network or connected environments, potentially leading to a widespread infection.

Mitigations :

To mitigate the risks associated with Double Kill and similar vulnerabilities, it is crucial to adopt proactive security measures:

  1. Apply Security Patches: Promptly applying security patches and updates provided by the software vendor, specifically for Internet Explorer, is essential. These patches often include fixes for vulnerabilities, closing the door on potential exploits.
  2. Browser Security Settings: Configuring Internet Explorer with enhanced security settings and restricting ActiveX controls and scripting can help minimize the impact of potential vulnerabilities. This reduces the attack surface and mitigates the risk of exploitation.
  3. Security Awareness: Educating users about the risks of visiting unfamiliar or potentially malicious websites, opening suspicious email attachments, and practicing safe browsing habits is vital. Users should be cautious when interacting with unknown or untrusted content to avoid falling victim to such attacks.
  4. Alternative Browsers: Considering alternative browsers with robust security features and automatic updates, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, can provide an additional layer of protection against vulnerabilities like Double Kill.

Take away: CVE-2018-8174 (Double Kill) demonstrated the critical importance of promptly applying security patches, adopting secure browsing practices, and staying vigilant against emerging threats. By staying up to date with software updates, configuring browser security settings, and fostering a security-conscious mindset, users can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to vulnerabilities like Double Kill. The proactive adoption of security measures is crucial in maintaining a secure and resilient online environment.


Disclaimer : The information provided herein is on “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind.