Home    |    View Topics    |    Search    |    Contact Us    |   



Category:   Application (Security)  >   McAfee SecurityCenter Vendors:   McAfee
McAfee SecurityCenter 'MCINSCTL.DLL' Lets Remote Users Create or Overwrite Arbitrary Files on the Target System
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1015390
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2005-3657   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Dec 20 2005
Impact:   Modification of system information, Modification of user information, User access via network
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  

Description:   A vulnerability was reported in McAfee SecurityCenter. A remote user can create or overwrite arbitrary files on the target system. Other McAfee products, such as VirusScan, may include the affected SecurityCenter component.

The 'MCINSTALL.McLog' ActiveX control does not restrict which domains can load the control for execution. A remote user can create HTML that, when loaded by the target user, will invoke the control and create arbitrary files on the target system. This can be exploited to cause arbitrary code to be executed on the target system.

The 'mcinsctl.dll' file version is affected.

The vendor was notified on November 15, 2005.

The original advisory is available at:

Impact:   A remote user can create or overwrite arbitrary files on the target system.
Solution:   A fix is available via the automatic update feature.

[Editor's note: According to the report, this vulnerability was silently fixed by McAfee prior to the time that iDEFENSE notified McAfee.]

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Access control error
Underlying OS:  Windows (Any)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  iDefense Security Advisory 12.20.05: McAfee Security Center

McAfee Security Center MCINSCTL.DLL ActiveX Control File Overwrite

iDefense Security Advisory 12.20.05
December 20, 2005


McAfee VirusScan is an anti-virus software. More information is
available from the vendor website:


Remote exploitation of an access control vulnerability in McAfee
Security Center allows attackers to create or overwrite arbitrary

The vulnerability specifically exists due to a registered ActiveX
control failing to restrict which domains may load the control for
execution. MCINSCTL.DLL as included with McAfee Security Center exports
an object for logging called MCINSTALL.McLog. The McLog object is
designed to allow Security Center to log to a file through the StartLog
and AddLog methods. McAfee fails to restrict the ActiveX control from
being loaded in arbitrary domains. As such, attackers can create a
specially crafted web page utilizing the McLog object to create
arbitrary files. This attack can lead to arbitrary code execution by a
remote attacker.


Successful exploitation of this vulnerability allows attackers to
create or append to arbitrary files. An attacker can write to a startup
folder to execute arbitrary code during the next reboot or logon
session. A user will not be required to authorize the object
instantiation since the object is within a signed ActiveX control. A
typical exploitation scenario would require an attacker to convince a
targeted user to visit a malicious website.

This vulnerability hints at a new class of vulnerabilities that occur
due to developers not using the IObjectSafetySiteLock() API to restrict
domains that can load a particular ActiveX control. Vendors who
distributed third-party ActiveX controls should be sure to use the
IObjectSafetySiteLock() API in their applications.


McAfee Security Center is a component that is distributed with various
McAfee products. The following products have been confirmed to contain
a vulnerable mcinsctl.dll component in their distribution:


iDefense is unaware of any effective workarounds at this time.


"McAfee previously released updates to SecurityCenter that resolve this
issue. All active McAfee SecurityCenter users, by default, should have
automatically received the update, and will now have the fix for this
vulnerability already installed on their computers.

To manually check for updates, users can right-click the McAfee system
tray icon (white M on red background) and select 'Updates'. In the
resulting dialogue box, they should click 'Check Now' to check the
server for updates. The user will be walked through the update process
or be notified that all software is up to date. If a user has not yet
registered, a registration web page or the registration wizard will
pop-up, guiding the user through the update process.

McAfee's key priority is the security of our customers. In the event
that a vulnerability is found within any of McAfee's software, we have a
strong process in place to work closely with the relevant security
research group to ensure the rapid and effective development of a fix
and communication plan."


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CVE-2005-3657 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


11/15/2005 Initial vendor notification
11/16/2005 Initial vendor response
12/20/2005 Coordinated public disclosure


iDefense credits Peter Vreugdenhil with the discovery of this

Get paid for vulnerability research

Free tools, research and upcoming events


Permission is granted for the redistribution of this alert
electronically. It may not be edited in any way without the express
written consent of iDefense. If you wish to reprint the whole or any
part of this alert in any other medium other than electronically, please
email for permission.

Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate
at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use
of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition.
There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the
author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect,
or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on,
this information.
To unsubscribe, go here:

Go to the Top of This SecurityTracker Archive Page

Home   |    View Topics   |    Search   |    Contact Us

This web site uses cookies for web analytics. Learn More

Copyright 2020, LLC