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Category:   Application (Security)  >   Tenable Nessus Vendors:   Deraison, Renaud et al
Nessus Malicious Process Detection Plugin Lets Local Users Gain Elevated Privileges
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1029946
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2014-2848   (Links to External Site)
Updated:  Apr 15 2014
Original Entry Date:  Mar 21 2014
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via local system, Root access via local system
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  Exploit Included:  Yes  
Version(s): 5.2.1, with plugin set 201402092115
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in Nessus. A local user can obtain elevated privileges on the target system.

When a Nessus Authenticated Scan is conducted against the target Windows-based system, a local user on the target system can exploit a flaw in the Malicious Process Detection plugin (Plugin ID 59275) to gain System privileges.

The software creates a binary in the system temporary directory and a System-level service executes the binary. A local user can modify the binary to execute arbitrary code with System-level privileges.

The vendor was notified on February 18, 2014.

The original advisory is available at:

Neil Jones of NCC Group reported this vulnerability.

Impact:   A local user can obtain System-level privileges on the target system.
Solution:   The vendor has issued a fix.
Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Access control error
Underlying OS:  Windows (Any)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  NCC00643 Technical Advisory: Nessus Authenticated Scan Local Privilege Escalation

 Vulnerability Summary

 Title             Nessus Authenticated Scan - Local Privilege Escalation
 Release Date      20 March 2014
 Reference         NGS00643
 Discoverer        Neil Jones 
 Vendor            Tenable
 Vendor Reference  RWZ-21387-181
 Systems Affected  Nessus appliance engine version 5.2.1 the plugin set 
Risk              High
 Status            Fixed

 Resolution Timeline

 Discovered        29 January 2014
 Released          29 January 2014
 Reported          18 February 2014
 Fixed             6 March 2014
 Published         20 March 2014

 Vulnerability Description 

 An authenticated Nessus scan of a target machine may result in local 
 privilege escalation on that target machine if scanned with the Malicious 
 Process Detection plugin (Plugin ID 59275). The Malicious Process Detection 
 plugin created a service which ran as SYSTEM however this binary could be 
 modified by a low level user allowing for privilege escalation.

 The main attack vector for this vulnerability would be within large 
 organisations which routinely run authenticated scans for security 
 auditing purposes, once a user gains SYSTEM access on one machine they 
 would be likely to be able to escalate their privileges to that of Domain 
 Administrator by other means. 

 Technical Details

 The vulnerability was caused by the Malicious Process Detection plugin 
 (Plugin ID 59275), this plugin created a service which gathered privileged 
 information from the target system. The plugin created a binary in the 
 System Temp folder which had a static name for example this would be

 A service was then created to run this binary, the service created was set 
 to automatically start upon boot. As a low level user the binary should be 
 created before the scan, once the scan is in progress the binary is 
 overwritten by the Nessus plugin, once the Nessus plugin overwrites the 
 binary the low level user can once again overwrite the binary the machine 
 can be rebooted by the low level user so the binary is automatically ran 
 upon system boot.

 As the Nessus scan is still in progress upon the machine rebooting, the 
 binary and the service are deleted automatically during the clean-up 
 process of the plugin.

 Fix Information

 The plugin has been updated and the vulnerability can be patched by 
 updating the plugins on your scanner
 NCC Group

 Twitter / @NCCGroupInfoSec
 Open Source

For more information please visit <a href=""><br>
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