Users of the highly popular Windows-based compression/decompression utility WinRAR be warned: a newly-discovered vulnerability could allow remote attackers to compromise Windows systems by exploiting a remote code execution (RCE) flaw. Despite this, RARLab has not issued a patch yet and doesn't plan on doing so. Is this a case of vendor negligience or an overhyped security alert?
Due to WinRAR's popularity, the flaw could potentially impact millions of users globally. Vulnerability Lab first discovered the vulnerability days ago and has since labeled it a "High Severity" flaw. RARLabs, however, begs to differ—and purportedly does not plan on issuing a patch. The vulnerability involves WinRAR's self-extracting files archives, or SFX files. Malicious HTML code inserted into the “Text to display in SFX window” section could allow remote hackers to compromise local Windows systems with WinRAR installed. And because an SFX file self-extracts/executes upon being clicked, hapless users are left with little recourse when exploited.
Why the lack of interest on RARLabs' part? Because the vulnerability has less to do with WinRAR, and more with Windows—specifically, certain MS Internet Explorer components used by a myriad of applications, including WinRAR. Windows systems unpatched since mid-2014 are open to compromise through this attack vector. Malwarebytes—the security firm that initially announced the vulnerability—has since issued an apology to RARLabs.
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