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Free WinZip trial popup vulnerability lets hackers drop malware

Other than malware delivery; WinZip vulnerability also lets hackers carry out DNS poisoning and arbitrary code execution.

Most of us are pretty well acquainted with WinZip, especially when on the receiving end of its prompts to obtain a license for further use. Nonetheless, in the latest, it is in the news with a vulnerability found in WinZip 24.

As identified by researchers from SpiderLabs at Trustwave Security, WinZip 24 was found using Wireshark that when the program sends requests to check for updates and display prompts of the free trial being over. This communication is done in plaintext over HTTP rather than HTTPS which could be exploited by attackers to deliver malware.

Someone else who has the capabilities to see the program’s traffic this way can alter and steal the communicated text which would spell disaster for the victim.

What makes it even more dangerous is that the update request contains sensitive information that could be viewed by the attacker including the following:

  1. Registered username
  2. Registration code
  3. Other relevant info required to process the request

Explaining, Martin states in a blog post that,

This means anyone on the same network as user running a vulnerable version of WinZip can use techniques like DNS poisoning to trick the application to fetch “update” files from malicious web server instead of legitimate WinZip update host. As a result, unsuspecting user can launch arbitrary code as if it is a valid update.

To conclude, if one updates to WinZip 25, this issue is automatically solved as the newer version uses HTTPs. However, if one wants to continue using the trial version, they should change WinZip’s settings so that the program does not automatically ask them for updates, rather they have to manually do them.

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