Compromised website serving “state-sponsored” 0-day exploit

The still unpatched Microsoft XML Core Services vulnerability (CVE-2012-1889) that allows attackers to gain the same user rights as the logged on user and execute malicious code remotely is being actively exploited in the wild.

According to Sophos, the website of a European aeronautical parts supplier has been recently compromised and found serving a file infected with the code that tries to exploit the aforementioned zero-day.

Given that the vulnerability was recently tied to Google’s warnings about state-sponsored attacks, and given that a “tried-and-trusted method of hacking into large companies and organizations is to target the supply chain,” Graham Cluley puts forward the extremely plausible theory that the hackers were counting on staff of arms manufacturers or defense ministries to visit the site and get infected by simply viewing the page in Internet Explorer.

The company was not named, but was notified of the problem and has since cleaned up its site.

Still, it is good to point out that until Microsoft issues a patch for the flaw, users would do well to implement the workaround offered by the company in order to block this attack vector.