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NVIDIA Patches Serious Flaw in GeForce Experience Software

A security update released recently by NVIDIA for its GeForce Experience software patches a potentially serious vulnerability that could lead to arbitrary code execution, a denial-of-service (DoS) condition, or privilege escalation.

A security update released recently by NVIDIA for its GeForce Experience software patches a potentially serious vulnerability that could lead to arbitrary code execution, a denial-of-service (DoS) condition, or privilege escalation.

NVIDIA GeForce Experience, a piece of software installed by default on devices running the company’s GeForce products, allows users to keep their drivers updated, optimize game settings, and share content with other users.

David Yesland of Rhino Security Labs discovered that the software is affected by several arbitrary file write issues that allow an attacker to overwrite any system file. The weakness exists due to insecure permissions on log files to which GeForce Experience writes data with SYSTEM privileges.

NVIDIA patches vulnerability in GeForce Experience softwareThe flaw, tracked as CVE-2019-5674, can be exploited to cause a DoS condition by overwriting critical system files. The vulnerability can also be leveraged for arbitrary code execution by injecting commands into a specific NVIDIA log file and creating a malicious .bat file in the Windows Startup folder.

The .bat file would get executed whenever a user logs in and, if the user has admin privileges, it can lead to privilege escalation.

Yesland also found another way to escalate privileges. He discovered two .bat files associated with the NVIDIA application that are automatically executed as SYSTEM if the “NVIDIA Display Container” or “NVIDIA Telemetry Container” services crash more than two times. This action is part of the default recovery process for these services.

An attacker could use the arbitrary file write flaws to add malicious code to these .bat files and then use a DoS vulnerability to crash the aforementioned services three times, which would result in the malicious .bat files getting executed with elevated privileges.

The researcher has released technical details for the vulnerability along with proof-of-concept (PoC) code.

“NVIDIA GeForce Experience contains a vulnerability when ShadowPlay, NvContainer, or GameStream is enabled. When opening a file, the software does not check for hard links. This behavior may lead to code execution, denial of service, or escalation of privileges,” NVIDIA described the security hole.

According to NVIDIA, the arbitrary file write vulnerability affects GeForce Experience versions prior to 3.18, which resolves the issue. The vendor has assigned a CVSS score of 8.8 to the flaw.

Last month, NVIDIA released security updates for its NVIDIA GPU display driver to address several high-severity vulnerabilities impacting its GeForce, Quadro, NVS and Tesla products.

Related: Vulnerability in NVIDIA Tegra Chipsets Allows for Code Execution

Related: NVIDIA Patches Several Flaws in GPU Display Drivers

Related: NVIDIA Updates GPU Drivers to Mitigate CPU Flaws

Written By

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.

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