Vulnerability hunting with Semmle QL, part 2

The first part of this series introduced Semmle QL, and how the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) are using it to investigate variants of vulnerabilities reported to us. This post discusses an example of how we’ve been using it proactively, covering a security audit of an Azure firmware component. This was part of a wider…

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Local privilege escalation via the Windows I/O Manager: a variant finding collaboration

The Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) investigates all reports of security vulnerabilities affecting Microsoft products and services to help make our customers and the global online community more secure. We appreciate the excellent vulnerability research reported to us regularly from the security community, and we consider it a privilege to work with these researchers. One…

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Fuzzing para-virtualized devices in Hyper-V

Introduction Hyper-V is the backbone of Azure, running on its Hosts to provide efficient and fair sharing of resources, but also isolation. That’s why we, in the vulnerability research team for Windows, have been working in the background for years now helping secure Hyper-V. And why Microsoft invites security researchers across the globe to submit…

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First Steps in Hyper-V Research

Microsoft has put a lot of effort in Hyper-V security. Hyper-V, and the whole virtualization stack, runs at the core of many of our products: cloud computing, Windows Defender Application Guard, and technology built on top of Virtualization Based Security (VBS). Because Hyper-V is critical to so much of what we do, we want to…

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Microsoft Security Servicing Criteria for Windows

One of our goals in the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) is to be more transparent with security researchers and our customers on the criteria we use for determining when we intend to address a reported vulnerability through a security update. Our belief is that improving transparency on this topic helps provide clarity on how…

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Vulnerability hunting with Semmle QL, part 1

Previously on this blog, we’ve talked about how MSRC automates the root cause analysis of vulnerabilities reported and found. After doing this, our next step is variant analysis: finding and investigating any variants of the vulnerability. It’s important that we find all such variants and patch them simultaneously, otherwise we bear the risk of these…

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Analysis and mitigation of L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF)

In January 2018, Microsoft released an advisory and security updates for a new class of hardware vulnerabilities involving speculative execution side channels (known as Spectre and Meltdown). In this blog post, we will provide a technical analysis of a new speculative execution side channel vulnerability known as L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF) which has been assigned…

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Announcing Changes to Microsoft’s Mitigation Bypass Bounty

Today we’re announcing a change to the Mitigation Bypass Bounty that removes Control Flow Guard (CFG) from the set of in-scope mitigations. In this blog, we’ll provide additional background and explain why we’re making this change. Mitigation Bypass Bounty Background Microsoft started the Mitigation Bypass Bounty in 2013 with the goal of helping us improve…

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Draft of Microsoft Security Servicing Commitments for Windows

Updated September 10, 2018 The Servicing Criteria for Windows has transitioned to an official document and can be found at the link below. Microsoft thanks the members of the research community who provided feedback on the draft copy. Microsoft Security Servicing Criteria for Windows 

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Analysis and mitigation of speculative store bypass (CVE-2018-3639)

In January, 2018, Microsoft published an advisory and security updates for a new class of hardware vulnerabilities involving speculative execution side channels (known as Spectre and Meltdown). In this blog post, we will provide a technical analysis of an additional subclass of speculative execution side channel vulnerability known as Speculative Store Bypass (SSB) which has…

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