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AV Under Attack: Trend Micro Confirms Apex One Exploitation

Anti-malware vendor Trend Micro is warning that attackers are attempting to exploit a previously patched vulnerability in its Apex One, Apex One as a Service, and OfficeScan product lines.

Anti-malware vendor Trend Micro is warning that attackers are attempting to exploit a previously patched vulnerability in its Apex One, Apex One as a Service, and OfficeScan product lines.

Tracked as CVE-2020-24557 (CVSS 7.8), the high-severity vulnerability was patched in August last year after researchers with Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative explained that prior access to a vulnerable system is required for successful exploitation of the bug.

“This vulnerability allows local attackers to escalate privileges on affected installations of Trend Micro Apex One. An attacker must first obtain the ability to execute low-privileged code on the target system in order to exploit this vulnerability,” the researchers said.

The security issue impacts ApexOne Security Agent’s logic that provides control over access to the Misc folder and could result in an attacker being able to execute code in the context of SYSTEM.

On Wednesday, the Japan CERT Coordination Center published an alert on the exploitation of this vulnerability, shortly after Trend Micro Japan started alerting customers of these attacks.


In an updated advisory, Trend Micro urges customers to apply the available security patch and informs them that all three affected products (Apex One, Apex One as a Service, and OfficeScan) are being targeted in live attacks.


Japan CERT CC makes the same recommendation, underlining that successful exploitation of the flaw could allow attackers to disable security products, escalate privileges, or exploit specific Windows features.


“Since the vulnerability is already being exploited in the wild, the users of the affected products are recommended to update the affected system to the latest version as soon as possible. Please refer to the information provided by Trend Micro,” Japan CERT CC notes.


Trend Micro points out that the latest versions of the affected products should contain all of the necessary fixes for these bugs and customers should consider updating to them as soon as possible, or at least applying the available patches to ensure attacks are thwarted.


UPDATE 04/23: Trend Micro on Thursday revealed that a single, unpatched customer system was targeted through the high severity vulnerability. The company continues to urge all customers to apply the patches released in August 2020.

“This is not a zero-day exploit since the attempt occurred long after the patch was released, and although the commonly used phrase ‘in the wild’ can suggest a widespread issue, it has not been observed beyond the single affected customer,” the company said.

Related: Trend Micro Patches Serious Flaws in Enterprise Product

Related: Trend Micro Patches Two Vulnerabilities Exploited in the Wild

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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