WinRAR is a great tool for uncompressing and compressing files, however the latest version has a security vulnerability which could leave half a billion users at risk.
This is a critical bug where WinRAR can be exploited by a attacker simply by you opening a file. Whether the file is a movie, music, application, photo or anything else stored in a .rar file, if it’s a digital file, you will likely zip or unzip it, which is where the exploit can happen.
t. You may have used the popular WinRAR tool to pack or unpack a RAR, ZIP, 7Z, TAR, EXE, ISO, CAB or another archive. Let’s say, for example, that you have a torrent file. In this case, if you used the latest version of WinRAR to decompress an archive that contained malicious code, it would execute immediately upon unzipping the infected file. This could lead to not only your computer being compromised, but potentially also your network.
If you don’t know, then a remote code execution vulnerability is especially nasty. Bugs with a common vulnerability scoring system (CVSS) count of 7 – 10 are considered “high” severity. The critical flaw in WinRAR was given a 9.2 severity score by the security researcher who discovered it as a user only has to open an infected file for the device to be compromised by an attacker.
You would think a patch would arrive fairly quickly for this, however RARlabs the makers of WinRAR believe the exploit is “useless.”
Malwarebytes the security firm told WinRAR users “to be extra vigilant when handling uninvited compressed SFX files. Be advised to download the new version as soon as a patch has been made available.”
Yet RARLab’s official comment doesn’t sound like it intends to fix the issue:
“Limiting SFX module HTML functionality would hurt only those legitimate users, who need all HTML features, making absolutely no problem for a malicious person, who can use previous version SFX modules, custom modules built from UnRAR source code, their own code or archived executables for their purpose. We can only remind users once again to run exe files, either SFX archives or not, only if they are received from a trustworthy source.”
So if you use WinRAR be careful to ensure you are only getting files from people you trust and if you download things on torrents try to be a bit vigilant at this time, as hackers are rife – which can be seen in another news story – Hackers steal 15GB of data.