Security Experts:

Microsoft Finds Privilege Escalation, Code Execution Flaws in Huawei Tool

Microsoft researchers have identified potentially serious privilege escalation and arbitrary code execution vulnerabilities in a tool from Huawei. The vendor has released updates that should patch the flaws.

The security bugs were discovered after the kernel sensors in Microsoft Defender’s Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) product detected anomalous behavior associated with a Huawei device management driver.

Further analysis revealed that Huawei’s PCManager tool, which the Chinese tech giant provides for its MateBook laptops, has a vulnerability that can be exploited for local privilege escalation. The flaw, tracked as CVE-2019-5241, can be exploited to elevate privileges if an attacker can trick the targeted user into executing a malicious application.

During the analysis of this flaw, Microsoft researchers also uncovered CVE-2019-5242, a weakness in Huawei PCManager that can be exploited for arbitrary code execution. According to Microsoft, the vulnerability “allowed a code running with low privileges to read-write beyond the process boundaries—to other processes or even to kernel space.” The company says this could lead to a “full machine compromise.”

Huawei patched the vulnerabilities, which it has classified as “high severity,” in January. Users can install the update manually, but the affected product also supports automatic updates.

Microsoft on Monday published a blog post providing technical details and describing how the flaws were discovered. The issues were also disclosed last month at Microsoft’s Blue Hat conference in Israel.

“The two vulnerabilities we discovered in a driver prove the importance of designing software and products with security in mind. Security boundaries must be honored. Attack surface should be minimized as much as possible. In this case, the flaws could have been prevented if certain precautions were taken,” Microsoft’s Defender Research Team wrote in a blog post.

It’s not uncommon for researchers to find vulnerabilities in the tools provided by major hardware vendors. In the past year, potentially serious flaws have been found in applications from Intel, Dell, Lenovo and LG.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.