Is Windows Defender your main antivirus tool? If so, you will need to make sure that you’re running the latest definition updates (1.1.14700.5) on your machine. Microsoft just patched a severe remote code execution bug that could allow hackers to take control over your computer.
The Redmond giant preferred to deploy the patch as soon as possible and not wait until April Patch Tuesday in order to nip remote code execution attempts in the bud.
As Microsoft explains, the root-cause for this vulnerability is an incomplete Malware Protection Engine scan that fails to detect the threat. This security vulnerability was initially discovered by the Google Project Zero team.
Remote code execution vulnerability
A remote code execution vulnerability exists when the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine does not properly scan a specially crafted file. This can lead to memory corruption. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could execute arbitrary code in the security context of the LocalSystem account and take control of the system. As a result, an attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user admin rights.
The latest Windows Defender update fixes this vulnerability by correcting the way in which Windows 10’s Malware Protection Engine scans specially crafted files.
There are many way attackers could take control over your machine. As Microsoft explains, hackers could push specially crafted files to your computer when your access a website. This can allow an attacker to send malware-infected files via email or instant messaging apps such as Skype.
Websites that host user-provided content are the perfect vehicle for spreading malicious software that can take advantage of this Windows Defender vulnerability.
End users don’t need to take any action to install the update as the automatic detection and update deployment will apply it within 48 hours of release.
For more information, check out Microsoft’s Security TechCenter.