AOL continues to struggle with AIM worm holes

Summary:According to Ryan Singel at Wired News, AOL shipped a silent, server-level patch on Monday night to fixa gaping hole that allowed hackers to gain complete control of any PC running the latest version of AIM.

America Online continues to have problems securing its widely deployed AIM instant messaging service.

According to Ryan Singel at Wired News, AOL shipped a silent, server-level patch on Monday night to fix a gaping hole that allowed hackers to gain complete control of any PC running the latest version of AIM.

"It's a pretty big hole. You don't even have to click anything," says Michael Evanchik, the researcher who discovered the flaw.

[ SEE: Despite AOL’s claim, AIM worm hole still wide open ]

America Online has spent the last few months struggling to issue a comprehensive fix for a similar bug that exposed fully patched versions of AIM to a nasty worm attack.

In September, researcher Aviv Raff demonstrated the issue for me by launching the calculator application via a sent message (see screenshot below).

AIM continues to struggle with AIM worm holes

At the time, AOL claimed the issue was fixed but Raff says a minor tweak of the exploit bypassed AOL's  server-side filtering.

From Singel's Wired piece:

The AIM 6.5 client remains vulnerable to the same fundamental weakness, potentially allowing malicious hackers to create a worm that infects thousands of users in a matter of hours.

"Instead of locking down the AIM client, they add filters in the server," says Aviv Raff, the security researcher who reported the original remote exploit in September, and who analyzed the newest attack for Wired News. "Filtering in the server will never be enough. It's like a cat and mouse game."

ALSO SEE: Zero-day flaws surface in AOL, Yahoo IM products

Topics: Collaboration, Browser, Security, Social Enterprise

About

Ryan Naraine is a journalist and social media enthusiast specializing in Internet and computer security issues. He is currently security evangelist at Kaspersky Lab, an anti-malware company with operations around the globe. He is taking a leadership role in developing the company's online community initiative around secure content managem... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.